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The two-state solution: Decline or death?

Palestinians gather at the Gaza-Israel border as part of the 'Great March of Return' on August 31, 2018 [Mohammad Asad / Middle East Monitor]
Palestinians gather at the Gaza-Israel border as part of the 'Great March of Return' on August 31, 2018 [Mohammad Asad / Middle East Monitor]

In a radio interview this week, one of the ministers of the right-wing Likud party said, "the two-state solution is dead". This is the latest of a slew of Israeli statements related surrounding the revival of the so-called Confederacy solution with Jordan.

This statement also refers somehow to the development of this solution, as it comes over a decade after another announcement was made, i.e. the "decline of the two-state solution", which was reiterated after the Palestinian division in 2007, and appeared in several reports and analyses at the time. I still remember, for example, that one of these analyses replaced the word "decline" with the following phrase: The establishment of the Palestinian state has become a mirage that fades as you approach it.

Israel's dealing with the Gaza Strip particularly since the Great Return marches, ongoing since March 30th, has reminded us of the unilateral disengagement plan led by Ariel Sharon in 2005. I would like to recall that this plan, among other things, aimed to neutralise the Gaza Strip on the political and security level regarding the final status issues for the Palestinian cause. In the midst of this, analysts did not rule out the possibility of Sharon, within himself, was aiming for his plan to separate Gaza from the West Bank, as part of his vision for the solution, which he did not complete because of his illness and incapacitation.

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Later, after a series of wars following this plan, and after the Palestinian division in 2007, followed by the rise of the Israeli right-wing to office in 2009, this right-wing began to view the Palestinian division as a "political opportunity" to enhance their vision for the solution or lack thereof. On the one hand, Israel badgers the PA and insists that it does not represent all of the Palestinians in the territories occupied in 1967 because it doesn't control the Gaza Strip, and on the other, it rejects any Palestinian reconciliation that leads to the unity of the authority in the Gaza Strip and West Bank. This is under the pretext of Hamas being considered a terrorist organisation. All of this may be related to freeing the political position of the two-state solution and nothing more.

Regarding facts on the ground, it is a disaster. Most of the West Bank's area is occupied by Israeli settlements, closed military zones, "nature reserves", and roads dedicated exclusively to Israeli settlers. This is in addition to the Separation Wall built deep into the Palestinian territory, while the Arab East Jerusalem is almost completely separated from the rest of the West Bank with a ring of Jewish settlements.

About Jerusalem, this may be useful. However, to stop excluding it from the agenda of negotiations that are supposed to take place supposed to take place, not only through the recent steps taken by the US administration, primarily the move of the embassy to Jerusalem but also through the Israeli legal measures and actions on the ground. Including all the steps taken to deepen the "integration" of Palestinian Jerusalemites into Israeli society, economically, socially and politically, in exchange for increasing the separation between them and the Palestinian people in other areas of the West Bank.

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The situation described here prompts us to propose two significant challenges. First, it doesn't matter whether the two-state solution declines or dies, as it was already born disfigured and sustained several stab wounds during the Bush administration's term. Second, is Israel solely responsible for the Palestinians' situation? Isn't time to accuse the Palestinians of being their own worst enemy, something those who are concerned about Palestine have already done?

Given all of this, there is no escaping the need to raise awareness of the fact that Israel will not retreat or give up anything on its path to negotiations. This realisation is developed by the fact that this path has been taken several times but has never actually led anywhere. The need to find an alternative route may become necessary under the intensification of the atrocious conditions of life under occupation.

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.

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