But I also think that Trump's move may have a silver lining. American diplomats insisted for many years that the two-state solution remained a viable option, even while the rest of the world knew this was merely a ruse intended to give Israel time to create more facts on the ground. This, despite the fact that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hardly played along, making it rather clear where he stood.
By moving to crush any lingering Palestinian hopes for a national capital in East Jerusalem, America and Israel may say they are still open to a two-state solution, but in reality they are really signaling that that the two-state solution is pretty much dead. They broadcast that the occupation of Palestinian land, and the dispossession of the Palestinian people, will (and should) be accelerated.
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This makes the issue more complicated for me.
I am with those who believe the only possible solution for Israelis and Palestinians is, contrary to the two-state option, something that we might call the one-state solution.
Some one-staters advocate for a unitary, secular state, where all, Jewish, Muslim and Christian citizens, are equal before the law. (Think of is as a non-confessional democracy on the model of the United States). Others propose a binational confederation in which Palestinians and Israelis enjoy extreme autonomy but pool certain functions of the state — defense, for example, or foreign affairs.
All of these potential solutions seem farfetched, and perhaps unrealistic. But all of these are more moral, and more sustainable, than the unfolding tragedy that is the status quo. Moreover, none of these are really that new, either.
So when I advocate for a one-state solution, I’m merely asking for two-staters to be honest about their politics.
Of course, killing off the diplomatic process very likely isn’t going to be good for Palestinians — or Israelis. But what is the point of investing all of one’s political energies in a ruse? Because that’s all the two-state solution ever was.
Even the most generous offers extended to Palestinians never afforded them the possibility of a viable and sovereign state. Even the most generous Israeli and American offers still assumed a bisected Palestinian state, a West Bank riven by an expanded Jerusalem, Israeli sovereignty over the Jordan River Valley, implicit control of Palestinian borders and a defense force essentially limited to a robust police department.
That is not, by any definition, an independent country. It’s a slightly more autonomous colony.
Ultimately, the two-state solution sounded nice on paper, but partition hardly ever ends well—look at India and Pakistan or, well, Israel and Palestine. The British made conflicting promises to Zionists and to Palestinians, the consequences of which are with us until this moment, and likely for many years to come.