Two-State Solution - The Way Forward
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Two-State Solution - The Way Forward 

מאת    [ 11/02/2012 ]
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Two-State Solution - The Way Forward

Raphael Cohen-Almagor



There are a few proposals on the table as to how to resolve the Arab-Israeli Conflict:


    • Status quo
    • One nation - two variants:

    • Palestinian and
    • post Zionism.

Both variants wish to end the Jewish state.

    • Two state solution.
    • Three state solution, usually brought by those who oppose the two-state solution.
    • Jordan.
    • The Iranian solution.

Of all the solutions, I firmly believe that the only viable one is a two-state solution. I call to launch an international peace campaign for a two state solution. I believe this is the only true option for both Israel and Palestine. I believe it is a just and necessary solution. To be clear, I am calling for:

    • The end of all hostilities between Israel and Palestine;
    • Zero tolerance to violence and terror;
    • Ceasing incitement on both sides of the Fence;
    • Overhauling the Israeli and Palestinian education curricula on all levels: Kindergarten, primary school, and high school on all issues the pertain to the Conflict;
    • The evacuation of all, or almost all settlements situated in the West Bank (94-97% of territory);
    • Compensating the Palestinians for the part that would remain in Israel;
    • The end of Israeli occupation of the West Bank;
    • The re-routing of the Fence along the Green Line;
    • The end of the all-encompassing, unjustified blockade of the Gaza Strip. There is a crucial difference between securing Israel?s borders and assuring that no weapons are smuggled into the Gaza Strip and blockading Gaza tout court. Suffocating Gaza is contradictory to Israeli interests;
    • The establishment of a Palestinian State alongside Israel. Palestine is sovereign to decide its capital, like all other sovereign states.


Only a fair solution for both sides will be successful. A partial solution, or a solution that favours one side over another would leave the other side frustrated and angry. It won?t work.


The Way Forward

In Camp David and in Taba, Prime Minister Barak was willing to confront history and mythology and to make hard concessions. However, his tactics was deficient, and he had no partner who was similarly willing to confront history and mythology and to make hard decisions. To resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict there is a need for courageous leaders on both sides who seize the opportunities presented before them and make the most for their peoples. There is also a need for balanced, unbiased and fair broker/s as intermediary, one or more parties perceived by both sides as honest, even-handed and reliable. During 1993-2011, the United States has not been perceived as an honest broker by the Palestinians. On numerous occasions the USA cooperated and coordinated with Israel, drafting documents and initiating proposals in concert with the Israelis, without incorporating and consulting the Palestinians in the process.

At present, many Israelis are quite content with satisfying security needs. They believe that the status quo is good for Israel. However, in reality there is no status quo, as Israel continues to build the settlements, thus is hampering the possibility of striking a deal with the Palestinians in the future. The situation on the ground keeps changing supposedly in favour of Israel. The Palestinians observe as their future state is shrinking in front of their eyes and there is very little that they can do about it. Furthermore, the occupation remains in reality and is undermining the vital ingredients needed for peace talks, good faith and trust. Under occupation, Palestinians lack freedom and control over their lives. Their economic activities, the allocation and management of their natural resources, their health and well being, their ability to move are in the hands of Israel.

What of the September 1993 Oslo Accords is still relevant today?

The Palestinian Authority, established in 1994, controls parts of the West Bank and administers the lives of most Palestinians. In 2007, it lost control over the Gazan population to Hamas.

PLO remains as the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people. All governments in Israel negotiate with the PLO.

Israelis still cannot enter the A Zone, under Palestinian security control. The PA administers the civic life of the population in Zone B.

The Oslo Accords provide judicial framework for all negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.

After Oslo, Israel and the PA signed the Paris Accords which include bilateral economic and humanitarian relationships between Israel and the PA.

The Oslo Accords brought about the lifting of some of the Arab ban on Israel. They led to the peace accord with Jordan, and to the establishment of some forms of relationship with other Arab states, mainly in the Gulf.


To erect peace, it is essential to have:


Good will


The fence/wall creates political reality. It should move along the 1967 borders.

Both sides need to clean the atmosphere: fight bigotry, racism, incitement and hate on both sides of the fence. This includes a close study of the education curricula in both the PA and Israel. Both sides should utilize the media to promote peaceful messages of reconciliation and mutual recognition.

Israel should remain steadfast on its demand of the Palestinians to fight down terrorism. Zero tolerance in this sphere.

Finally, international cooperation is required to lift the Iranian existential threat.

I believe that if there is a will, there is a way. Both sides should aspire for peace in order to reach peace. Both sides need to understand that peace is a precious commodity and therefore be prepared to pay high price for its achievement. Both sides should reach a solution that is agreeable to both. The peace deal should be attractive to both, equally. It cannot be one sided, enforced or coerced. Of all the possible solutions presently on the table, a two state solution seems to be the most viable. I believe that good starting points are the Clinton parameters and the Geneva Accord. Both documents lay the foundations for resolving all contentious issues:


Borders - Israel will withdraw to the Green Line, evacuating settlements and resettling the settlers in other parts of the country. Major settlement blocs may be annexed to Israel upon reaching an agreement with the PA of territory exchange that will be equal in size. At the Taba talks, the Palestinians presented a map in which Israel would annex 3.1 percent of the West Bank and transfer to the PA other territory of the same size. Beilin said that they were willing to concede Israeli annexation of three settlement blocs of at least 4 percent of the West Bank. Prime Minister Olmert offered Palestinian President Abbas a similar or even slightly better deal but Abbas did not reply positively. This on the grounds of the Palestinian right of return. Olmert was willing to admit 5,000 refugees and President Abbas said he could not tell 4,000,000 that only some thousands of them could return home.


Territorial contiguity - a major elevated highway will connect the West Bank and the Gaza Strip to allow safe and free passage. The road will be solely Palestinian. No Israeli checkpoints will be there.


Security - The Palestinian sovereignty should be respected as much as possible. Checkpoints will be dismantled. Only the most necessary will remain, subject to review and necessity. The Palestinian state will be non-militarized. This issue was agreed upon in 1995. Also agreed: Joint Israeli-Palestinian patrols along the Jordan River, and the establishment of a permanent international observer force to ensure the implementation of the agreed security arrangements.


Jerusalem - What is Palestinian will come under the territory of the new capital Al Kuds. What is Jewish will remain under Israeli sovereignty.


Haram al-Sharif - Palestine will be granted extraterritorial sovereignty over the site under Waqf administration. Jews will enjoy right of access.


Water - Israel and Palestine should seek a fair solution that would not infringe the rights of any of the sides and will assure that the Palestinian people will have the required water supply for sustenance and growth.


Terrorism and violence - Both sides will work together to curb terrorism and violence. I emphasize that there is zero sum game between terror and peace. Therefore, both sides will see that their citizens on both sides of the border reside in peace and tranquility. Zealots and terrorists, Palestinian and Jews, will receive grave penalties for any violation of peace and tranquility. The Palestinians, apparently, fail to understand the gravity of terrorism and are willing to accept it as part of life. Nabil Shaath said: ?The option is not either armed struggle or negotiations. We can fight and negotiate at the same time, just as the Algerians and the Vietnamese had done?. Democracies, however, see things differently. On this issue there should be no compromise.


Incitement - Both sides will overhaul their education curricula, excluding incitement, racism, bigotry and hate against one another. The curricula should reflect a language of peace, tolerance and liberty.


Prisoner exchange - As an act of good will, part of the trust-building process, Israel will release a number of agreed upon prisoners. With time, as trust will grow between the two sides, all security prisoners will return home.


Right of return - the 1948 Palestinian refugees will be able to settle in Palestine. Israel will recognize the Nakba and compensate the 1948 refugees and their children (but not grandchildren) for the suffering inflicted on them. Unification of families should be allowed on a limited quota annual scale. But massive refugee return to Israel will not be allowed. This dream should be abandoned.[1]

Israel is the stronger side. It should adopt prudent policy to secure a solution to this protracted and bloody conflict.

The establishment of a Palestinian State is a Palestinian interest. It is also an Israeli interest.


For a two-state solution, see








 Today, more than 4.2 million Palestinian refugees are dispersed across areas of the Middle East in which their forefathers originally took refuge, with others dispersed across the world.


רפי כהן-אלמגור


Twitter: @almagor35

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