What is the two-state solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict?

In recent weeks, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has reiterated his opposition to a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian crisis, stating:

I will not compromise on full Israeli security control over the entire area west of Jordan, and that is inconsistent with a Palestinian state.

Although Netanyahu has never been in favor of the two-state solution, it has enjoyed significant support for decades from governments around the world, including the United States, the United Kingdom, European nations, Australia, Canada and Egypt. However, it now seems further away than ever before, leading some to declare it “dead.”

But what Is it really the two-state solution and why do so many believe it is the only solution to the conflict?

What is the two-state solution?

The two-state solution refers to the plan to create a Palestinian state separate from the State of Israel. The aim is to meet Palestinian demands for national self-determination without undermining Israel’s sovereignty.

The first attempt to create separate states It happened before Israel’s independence in 1948. The previous year, the United Nations passed Resolution 181, which outlined a partition plan that would divide Mandatory Palestine (under British control) into separate Jewish and Arab states.

The borders proposed by the United Nations were never implemented. Shortly after Israel declared independence, Syria, Jordan and Egypt invaded, triggering the first Arab-Israeli war. More than 700,000 Palestinians were expelled from the new state of Israel and fled to the West Bank, Gaza and surrounding Arab states.

In recent decades there have been many different opinions about what a Palestinian state should look like. Many considered the “Green Line” of 1949 to be the most realistic border for the respective states.. This line was drawn during the ceasefire agreements between Israel and its neighbors after the 1948 war and is the current border between Israel and the West Bank and Gaza Strip. However, after the Six-Day War of 1967, Israel captured and occupied the West Bank and Gaza Strip, as well as East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights.

Most current debates revolve around the creation of two states along “the pre-1967 borders”. This would mean that the new Palestinian state would consist of the West Bank (before the Israeli settlements) and Gaza. How Jerusalem should be divided, if at all, was a major point of contention in this plan.

Why is statehood so important?

The type of statehood referred to by the two-state solution, which in international politics is referred to as state sovereignty, is Authority vested in the government of a nation within and beyond its borders.

State sovereignty was formalized through the League of Nations (forerunner of the United Nations) and gives governments full control over the administration of laws within their borders, allows them to maintain relations with other states in formal bodies, and protects them from invasion by other states under international law.

This is something that many of us take for granted. The vast majority of Earth’s inhabitants live or are legally under the jurisdiction of a sovereign state.

The State of Israel was officially founded in 1948 through the political project of Zionism: the movement to establish a Jewish homeland. The goal was to create a sovereign state – with borders, a government and an army – that would give the Jewish people a political voice and a place free from anti-Semitic violence.

But it was only when other countries established diplomatic relations with Israel that In addition, it joined the UN in 1949, when it achieved state sovereignty similar to that of other countries. Currently, more than 160 UN members recognize Israel; those that do not include Syria, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Malaysia and Indonesia.

Since the end of the Six Day War in 1967 More than 5 million Palestinians who are not citizens of another nation are stateless. The West Bank and Gaza Strip remain in institutional limbo as semi-autonomous enclaves under the ultimate control of Israel.

Although 139 members of the UN a State of Palestine, The governing bodies of the West Bank and Gaza Strip (the Palestinian Authority and Hamas, respectively) have no control over their own security or borders.

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Hence the self-determination of the Palestinians through the creation of a sovereign stateo has been the cornerstone of Palestinian political action for decades.

The closest both sides came was the Oslo Accords

A time long, in the early 1990sSignificant progress has been made towards a two-state solution. The negotiations began largely as a result of the Palestinian uprisings in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Beginning in 1987, they became known as the First Intifada.

In 1993, Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and the head of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), Yasser Arafat, met in Oslo and signed the first of two agreements, the so-called Oslo Accords. At that time it was not considered a meeting of equals. Rabin was the head of a sovereign state and Arafat was the leader of an organization that had been designated a terrorist group by the United States.

But the leaders They managed to formalize an agreement, after important concessions from both sides that laid the foundation for the creation of an independent Palestinian state. Although the agreement did not specifically mention the 1967 borders, it did refer to “an agreement based on UN Security Council Resolution 242” of 1967, which called for the withdrawal of Israeli forces “from the territories occupied in the recent conflict.” Arafat, Rabin and Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres later received the Nobel Peace Prize.

In 1995 the Oslo II Accord was signed., which detailed the division of the administrative zones of the occupied territories. The West Bank in particular was divided into parcels controlled by Israel, the Palestinian Authority or a joint operation: the first step toward handing over land in the occupied territories to the Palestinian Authority.

But just six weeks later, Rabin was shot by a Jewish nationalist angered by Israel’s concessions.

Negotiations between the two sides slowed and political will began to wane. And over the next few decades, the two-state solution became increasingly difficult for a variety of reasons, including:

  • He Rise of conservative governments in Israel and the lack of effective political pressure from the United States.

  • That every time diminished political influence of Mahmoud Abbas’s Palestinian Authority and the rise of Hamas in Gaza, which led to a political split between the two Palestinian territories.

  • The Hamas threatens to destroy Israel and his refusal to recognize the Israeli state as legitimate.

  • He continued growth of Israeli settlements in the West Bank, This has turned the area into an ever-shrinking series of small enclaves linked by military checkpoints

  • The declining support for the model among both Israelis and Palestinians.

  • Violence Continuation of politics on both sides.

And of course there is Netanyahu: no one has done more to undermine the two-state solution than the current Israeli leader and his party. In 2010, a leaked recording from 2001 came to light in which Netanyahu boasted that he had “ended.” de facto on the Oslo Accords.”

What alternatives are there?

There aren’t many alternatives and all raise important issues.

Some now advocate ato a “one-state solution” in which Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip would be granted Israeli citizenship in order to create a state democratic and ethnically pluralistic.

Although Arabs already make up about 20% of Israel’s current population, A one-state solution would not be politically viable.. According to Zionist ideology, Israel must always remain a Jewish-majority state, and granting citizenship to Palestinians in the occupied territories would undermine this.

Another type of one-state solution is not practical for a different reason. Far-right ministers in Israel’s parliament have advocated extending full sovereign control over the West Bank and Gaza Strip and promoting massive Jewish settlements in those areas. Such a measure would attract the ire of the international community and human rights organizations and would be considered synonymous with ethnic cleansing.

The other option is this status quo. Although the October 7 Hamas attack and the subsequent Israeli attack on Gaza showed us this This is also not the optimal solution.

Andrew Thomas, lecturer in Middle Eastern studies, Deakin University

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original.

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