The PIJ Volume on the future options beyond stagnation
Walid Salem and Gershon Baskin
Despite the fact that the Palestinian- Israeli conflict is a protracted and intractable one, and probably because of that, many models have been presented regarding the future options for its resolution. Among these options, the two states for two people solution has gained the highest level of public support, both in Israel and Palestine as well as internationally. This issue of the PIJ will examine the viability of the Two States solution and present other possible directions which remain on the table. These other options include: Non-Palestinian state options, such as annexation of territories by Israel, bilateral and trilateral options, the one state option, and the various international involvement options.
The set of options of Non-Palestinian state include the separation between West Bank and Gaza, establishing different “city states” in West Bank (sometimes called Bantustans), a long term Autonomy, and a Palestinian state with a provisional borders according to Phase II of the Road Map. The idea of long term ceasefire (hudna) suggested by Hamas and by some Israeli conflict management scholars, is another proposal which falls short of resolving the conflict.
The annexation options include those of annexation of West Bank or part of it to Israel, or to Jordan, in addition to bringing back the Egyptian 1948-1967 administration to Gaza Strip.
The trilateral set of options include the option of a Palestinian Israeli- Jordanian Benelux – type arrangement, and an Israeli-Palestinian confederation option; these are essentially two state options including federal models aimed at creating chances for greater stability. A Jordanian-Palestinian confederation is another option that seeks to allow for the creation of a Palestinian state with greater stability as well.
The set of one state option includes a bi-national state model, and a democratic state for all its citizens model, the difference between the two is in how they relate to issues of demography.
The international control sets of options include an international mandate in Palestine, and international interim administration preparing for sovereignty such as the East Timor model, and also various degrees of international presence for peace keeping, civilian administration, policing, etc.
The two states for two people proposal remains the primary framework for resolving the conflict. This model is being seriously contested because of the changing facts on the ground that question to viability of an independent Palestinian State on the territory that remains, dissected into islands by Israeli settlements and by-pass roads. Palestinian negotiators in the past accepted the principle of territorial swaps to enable some of those settlement realities to be included in Israel in areas that are adjacent to Israel. However with the continued expansion of settlements the entire feasibility of Palestinian statehood within the 1967 borders because more and more questionable.
This PIJ volume is dealing with some of these options trying to clarify how to go beyond the current stagnation.
The articles of this volume reflect the assessment of PIJ that there is a time limit to the viability of the two states option. If progress is not made on advancing peace on the basis of two states for two people, in the not too distant future this may no longer be a feasible option.