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Debate: Two-state solution to Israeli-Palestinian conflict

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 +*'''The idea of a Jewish state is anachronistic.''' [http://www.counterpunch.org/may09092004.html Todd May. "The Emerging Case for a Single-State Solution". Counter Punch. September 9, 2004]: "A first objection might appeal to the motivation for recognizing [...] a Jewish state in the first place. [...] That the Holocaust proves that European Jews deserve protection against the history of hatred against them is undeniable. It does not follow from this that they deserved a state where they would be privileged vis-à- vis another people. That idea has more to do with nineteenth-century nationalism than with the internationalism more characteristic of the contemporary world. Moreover, history has shown the effects of this privileging."
*'''A Palestinian state will not necessarily end conflict.''' [http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=8058 Prof. Hassan Nafaa. "No Room for Two States". Global Research. February 12, 2008]: "The conflict between the Palestinians and the Zionist movement is not over disputed borders or material interests and, therefore, resolvable by merely coming to an agreement over permanent borders and a give-and-take over material interests. Rather, it is a conflict between two identities, each of which claims sole propriety right over a given territory. Such a conflict cannot be solved by the same means that are brought to bear on conventional international conflicts." *'''A Palestinian state will not necessarily end conflict.''' [http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=8058 Prof. Hassan Nafaa. "No Room for Two States". Global Research. February 12, 2008]: "The conflict between the Palestinians and the Zionist movement is not over disputed borders or material interests and, therefore, resolvable by merely coming to an agreement over permanent borders and a give-and-take over material interests. Rather, it is a conflict between two identities, each of which claims sole propriety right over a given territory. Such a conflict cannot be solved by the same means that are brought to bear on conventional international conflicts."

Revision as of 22:55, 21 May 2009

Is a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict a good idea?

Background and context

For decades, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has revolved around one particularly pointed question and debate: should the Palestinian people be given their own state, or is a two-state solution to the conflict the best idea among the various alternatives? Barack Obama explicitly supports a two-state solution, saying that "a two-state solution is the only solution". While many in Israel and elsewhere oppose the idea, the two-state solution is considered the consensus solution under discussion by the key parties to the conflict, most recently at the Annapolis Conference in November 2007. While alternatives exist (such as a one-state solution or forms of autonomy under the status quo) Palestinian, Israeli, and global leaders are primarily engaged in the debate surrounding a two-state solution.

See Wikipedia: Two-state solution for more background.

One-state: Is a one-state solution not viable?

Pro

  • One-state solution would end Israel as a Jewish state Shimon Peres. "One Region, Two States". Washington Post. February 10, 2009: "A minority of Middle East pundits have recently emerged as advocates for a one-state solution, which would undermine Israel's legitimacy and internationally recognized right to exist as a sovereign Jewish state in the land of my forefathers. [...] From Israel's perspective, it is not possible for the Jewish people to accept an arrangement that signifies the end of the existence of a Jewish state." [The reason for this is that it could not be considered a Jewish state if it housed a very large Palestinian population].
  • Palestinians/Israelis cannot live in peace in one state While it is nice to believe that Palestinians and Israelis can live in peace and harmony in one state, with tolerance for each other and in keeping with democratic principals of inclusion, while nice, is simply naive. This idea has been made impossible by nearly a century of direct conflict between these people. While this might change in coming centuries, it is unacceptable to adopt a one-state policy now based on these naive ideas.
  • Two-state plan respects democratic will for separate states Many have argued that a one-state solution is more inclusive and democratic than a two-state solution. But, if both peoples want to live in separate states, which there is significant evidence to back, who has the authority to force them to live in a single state. Democratic principles of self-determination back the idea of Israelis and Palestinians living in two separate states.


Con

  • The idea of a Jewish state is anachronistic. Todd May. "The Emerging Case for a Single-State Solution". Counter Punch. September 9, 2004: "A first objection might appeal to the motivation for recognizing [...] a Jewish state in the first place. [...] That the Holocaust proves that European Jews deserve protection against the history of hatred against them is undeniable. It does not follow from this that they deserved a state where they would be privileged vis-à- vis another people. That idea has more to do with nineteenth-century nationalism than with the internationalism more characteristic of the contemporary world. Moreover, history has shown the effects of this privileging."
  • A Palestinian state will not necessarily end conflict. Prof. Hassan Nafaa. "No Room for Two States". Global Research. February 12, 2008: "The conflict between the Palestinians and the Zionist movement is not over disputed borders or material interests and, therefore, resolvable by merely coming to an agreement over permanent borders and a give-and-take over material interests. Rather, it is a conflict between two identities, each of which claims sole propriety right over a given territory. Such a conflict cannot be solved by the same means that are brought to bear on conventional international conflicts."
  • Israelis/Palestinians can coexist peacefully in one state. Sandy Tolan. "George Mitchell and the end of the two-state solution". Christian Science Monitor. February 4, 2009: "it was no less a man than Albert Einstein who believed in 'sympathetic cooperation' between 'the two great Semitic peoples' and who insisted that 'no problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.' A relative handful of Israelis and Palestinians are beginning to survey the proverbial new ground, considering what Einstein's theories would mean in practice. They might take heart from Einstein's friend Martin Buber, the great philosopher who advocated a binational state of 'joint sovereignty,' with 'complete equality of rights between the two partners,' based on 'the love of their homeland that the two peoples share.'"
  • Palestinians are too divided to constitute a state. MJ Rosenberg. "Loving The Two-State Solution to Death". Huffington Post. December 22, 2008: "we are further from implementing the two-state solution today than we were in 2001. In fact, it can't be implemented because the Palestinians themselves constitute two states. Without Palestinian unity -- unity that ended with the Hamas election and then full seizure of power in Gaza--the two-state solution is simply not achievable."

Israeli security: Does a two-state solution offer sufficient security for Israel?

Pro

  • Two-state solution offers peace, overcoming geographic drawbacks. Shimon Peres. "One Region, Two States". Washington Post. February 10, 2009: "Those not committed to this solution argue that, after the creation of a Palestinian state, Israel's waist would be too narrow -- some six miles -- to ensure security for its citizens. [...] Indeed, six miles will be too narrow to guarantee full security, which only reinforces our belief that Israel's safety is not embedded only in territorial defense but in peace. Peace provides breadth of wings, even when the waist is narrow."

Con

  • Palestinian state would be base for terrorism against Israel. "Gaza and the two-state solution". The Recliner Commentaries. May 16, 2009: "Gaza was the perfect test case for Palestinians to prove they were ready for "the two state solution" which everyone seems to think is the best solution to peace in the mid-east--everyone but Muslim hardliners who want nothing less than Israel's destruction, that is. [...] And yet the Gaza experiment has failed miserably. The people elected a terrorist government which has spent so much of its money, not on the welfare of the Palestinian people, but on attacking Israel! [...] How can Israel be expected to support a two-state solution when Gaza has only turned out to be a base for attacking Israel?"
  • A two-state solution makes Israel too narrow, vulnerable. A two-state solution would make Israel only 6 miles at a number of points where the West Bank juts into Israeli territory. This is a vulnerability.
  • Israel will simply not accept a two-state solution There are many indications that, despite the rhetoric, Israel will not accept a two-state solution. The most important factor is the growth of settlements, which would have to be removed under a two-state solution, which many believe would be met by violent resistance by Jewish settlers. Territorial vulnerabilities from a two-state solution, and the inability to control the borders of the Palestinian state are also problems that make Israel unlikely to accept a two-state solution.

Palestinians: Are the Palestinians willing to seek two-state solution?

Pro

  • Palestinians want two-state solution, assuming settlements stop. Jerusalem - PLO Executive Committee Secretary Yasir Abd-Rabbuh replying to Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's statements that he is ready to negotiate immediately with the Palestinians by affirming that no negotiations will take place before the suspension of the settlement activities. "Abd-Rabbuh said in statements to Al-Ayyam: There can be no negotiations unless the Israelis stop the settlement activities and we no longer wish to meet with the Israelis on the same table to exchange views and ideas while they change the facts on the ground in Jerusalem and all the West Bank. This is a policy that represents the highest forms of deception."


Con


Palestinian territory: Does two-state solution offer sufficient space for Palestinians?

Pro


Con

  • Two-state solution does not offer Palestinians enough space. A two-state solution offers the Palestinians a very small amount of territory in the West Bank and Gaza strip. This small amount of space is not going to work for such a large and rapidly growing population of Palestinians.

Iran: Would a two-state solution help resolve conflict with Iran?

Pro

  • Iranian support for a two-state solution is diplomatically valuable Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinezhad has stated that Iran would support a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The success of a two-state solution, therefore, would, at a minimum, gain the support and possibly cooperation of the Iranians. This would be valuable diplomatically, particularly in resolving the larger conflict between Iran and the West.


Con

  • A two-state solution will not assuage Iran. "Two States? Many Problems". Los Angeles Times, Letter to the Editor. May 7, 2009: "Iran's disbanding its nuclear weapons program is surely not dependent on resolving the Israeli-Palestinian issue. Iran wants to be the dominant power in the Middle East, and it wants nuclear weapons so that it can threaten not only Israel but other states in the region. [...] If Iran's motivation to develop WMD was to effect resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Saudi Arabia and Egypt wouldn't have grave concerns."


Regional security: Would a two state solution help regional stability?

Pro

Con

  • A Palestinian state would threaten its neighbors. "Two States? Many Problems". Los Angeles Times, Letter to the Editor. May 7, 2009: "King Abdullah II is not being straight on this issue either. He doesn't want a Palestinian state between Jordan and Israel because of the threat to Jordan that a Palestinian state would pose to him."

Settlements: Is a two-state solution possible in the context of settlements?

Pro

Con

  • Israeli settlements make a two-state solution impossible Sandy Tolan. "George Mitchell and the end of the two-state solution". Christian Science Monitor. February 4, 2009: "The two-state solution is on its deathbed. [...] Since the Six-Day War of June 1967, the two-state solution, based on the concept of 'land for peace,' has been the central focus of almost all diplomatic efforts to resolve this tragedy. But because of Israel's unrelenting occupation and settlement project in the West Bank, the long-fought-for two-state solution has finally, tragically, become unworkable. Consider: In 1993, when Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Palestine Liberation Organization leader Yasser Arafat famously shook hands on the White House lawn, there were 109,000 Israelis living in settlements across the West Bank (not including Jerusalem). Today there are 275,000, in more than 230 settlements and strategically placed "outposts" designed to cement a permanent Jewish presence on Palestinian land."

Public opinion: Does public opinion support a two-state solution?

Pro


Con

Pro/con sources

Pro


Con

External links

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