February 20th, 2017

The Middle East: Contradictory promises that led to a century of conflict

Economics & Politics

President Donald Trump’s statement last week that he would consider a one-state or a two-state solution for Israel and Palestine opens a new round of questions about how to achieve peace and security for Israelis and Palestinians, and thereby to secure America’s interests as well in resolving this century-long crisis. There are indeed viable approaches for both a one-state or a two-state solution, but probably not in the way that Trump means. The right-wing Israeli version of a one-state solution, the one that Trump is most likely endorsing, is one that would undermine Israeli security, deny Palestinian rights, and undermine American interests.

There are really three options on the table, the same three options that have been on the table in a general sense for 100 years, since the 1917 Balfour Declaration, and in a more specific sense for 50 years, since the Six-Day War of 1967. One option has been the formal position of the United States for decades: that Israel should withdraw from the territories occupied in the 1967 war in return for peace with the Palestinians and Arab neighbors — the two-state solution. A second option is a binational state, something akin to Belgium’s division between Flanders (Dutch-speaking) and Wallonia (French-speaking), with Brussels as the national capital for both communities. In the binational case, the one-state solution would have two nationalities, Jews and Palestinians, with a demarcation between the two communities based partly on law and partly on geography, and with Jerusalem shared as a common capital somewhat analogous to the status of Brussels.

Read the full article at The Boston Globe.


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