Judy Asks: Is the two-state solution feasible?

Opinion piece (Carnegie Europe)
09 November 2023

The war between Israel and Hamas makes the two-state solution less viable than ever before. Achieving peace requires political will, compromise, and initiative from the international community.

A two-state solution is hard to imagine. The roughly 700,000 settlers in the West Bank, the tilt to the hard right in Israeli politics, and the Palestinians’ lack of a unified leadership pose formidable obstacles.

But the alternatives are even more unrealistic. The illusion that the conflict can be ignored was shattered by the Hamas massacre in October. The total control of the West Bank and Gaza wanted by the Israeli right would make Israel more isolated, less secure, and would stretch its military and financial resources to the limit. And the trust required for a one state in which the two peoples coexist with equal rights is more remote than ever.

The conflict is forcing the United States, the EU, and regional powers to reassess their approach and the assumption that they can safely ignore the conflict. Once the current bout of fighting ends, there could be substantial political changes. Whether Hamas is eradicated or not, many in Israel will think that they have no choice but to empower the Palestinian Authority, since without a functional and self-confident Palestinian entity, there is no alternative to extremism. That would be one first step toward reviving the two-state solution.

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