Don’t eulogize the two-state solution just yet

Trump’s peace deal may have declared the death of the 'classic' two-state formula, but that doesn't mean we should abandon the idea altogether.

A mural depicting President Donald Trump kissing an Israeli army watchtower on the separation wall in the West Bank city of Bethlehem, August 4, 2017. (Flash90)
A mural depicting President Donald Trump kissing an Israeli army watchtower on the separation wall in the West Bank city of Bethlehem, August 4, 2017. (Flash90)

Don’t say the two-state solution — which has hovered over Palestine-Israel since 1937 — has died.

What has died is what Palestinian intellectual Sari Nusseibeh calls the “classic two-state solution.” That idea was built on three inter-connected parts: a Palestinian state based on 1967 borders, a capital in East Jerusalem, and return and reparations for Palestinian refugees based on UN General Assembly Resolution 194.

Trump’s “Deal of the Century” (or more precisely, the Trump-Netanyahu deal) declared openly and officially the death of the classic two-state solution. However, it does not follow that any version of the two-state solution is dead.

The deal in question is the counterpart to the two-state solution that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been advocating for many years, whose end-goal is a demilitarized Palestinian state. Furthermore, it is painfully flawed in terms of the way it hopes to resolve issues such as Jerusalem, the occupied territories, refugees, and sovereignty. You can call it, if you will, a flawed state or improved self-government.

Needless to say, the collapse of the classic two-state solution has crushed the dreams of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who has clung to this solution dogmatically.

Anyone who believed that the alternative to the crumbling two-state solution is one democratic state for Palestinians — including refugees — and Israeli Jews, is wrong. The one-state solution, with all its temptations and gravitational pull for liberal democrats on both sides, remains a distant dream. And it will remain so as long as the overwhelming majority of Jews are committed to Zionism — as an idea, as a project, and as a state.

Don't eulogize the two-state solution just yet
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara meet with Palestinian _resident Mahmoud Abbas during the state funeral of former Israeli President Shimon Peres, Mount Herzl, Jerusalem, September 30, 2016. (Amos Ben Gershom/GPO)

We should understand that the idea of one democratic state and the idea of Zionism based on strengthening and deepening one’s Jewishness are mutually exclusive, according to the definitions recently established by the Jewish Nation-State Law.

Furthermore, anyone who believes that there will ever be a Palestinian leader, party, or organization that will ever accept the malevolent Deal of the Century is wrong. Palestinian refusal of the plan, which is clear as day, spans the entire political spectrum and will likely continue. The significance of that refusal is first and foremost to freeze the plan, before forgetting and finally burying it.

In light of all this, the time and conditions might be ripe to adopt and promote the “Two States, One Homeland” initiative. This initiative is first and foremost based on the principles of equal civil and national rights for Palestinians (including refugees) and Israeli Jews, and provides an answer to the more substantive challenges in a way that is different from any other initiative, past and present.

“Two States, One Homeland” assumes that the two-state solution is about to collapse; that the solution of a single democratic state is nowhere in sight; that in any long-term and equitable solution, it will be necessary to maintain the unity of the land between the river and the sea and respect the equal national rights of both parties; and that under any fair solution it will be necessary to respect the attachment of the parties to the land of Israel-Palestine or any part of the land.

The initiative proposes to establish a Palestinian state based on 1967 borders, and that all changes in borders will favor the Palestinian state. According to the initiative, Israel and Palestine will share and jointly administer Jerusalem as their capital.

Don't eulogize the two-state solution just yet
View of the separation wall and the Dome of the Rock, Jerusalem, February 2, 2020. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

As part of the initiative, settlers who remain within the borders of the Palestinian state will be Israeli citizens and residents of the Palestinian state and will be subject to its laws. Palestinian citizens of Israel will receive equal, democratic, collective, and civil rights in the State of Israel, and all laws that discriminate against or violate their equal status will be abolished.

Palestinian refugees will return to Palestine as citizens with equal rights, with some returning to Israel as citizens and others as permanent residents. Both countries, Israel and Palestine, will share those things that cannot or should not be divided.

Such an initiative would put us halfway to the one democratic state, but it has no prior commitment to this dream. It includes a fair two-state solution while rejecting the corrupt Deal of the Century that would lead to a flawed Palestinian state.

42 responses to “Israel’s one-state reality is sowing chaos in American politics”

  1. Bruce Gould says:

    I claim that every serious history of Israel shows that the proto-Israelis envisioned one state from the start, and this state would be as free of ‘Arabs’ as possible. But back to the present – this article appeared yesterday in the Atlantic: “Is Trump Destroying Bipartisan Consensus on Israel? Two weeks of outrage and head-spinning news show that institutional unification on Israel has gotten much weaker under President Trump.”

    For a long time, elected officials in Washington maintained a rough consensus on Israel. The United States and Israel were unquestioned allies. Military and aid packages were guaranteed winners in Congress. And support for Israel was bipartisan….As the past two weeks of head-spinning news about Israel have demonstrated, some aspects of Washington’s long-standing consensus on the country are changing.

  2. Lewis from Afula says:

    Israelis decide Israel’s future.
    What a bunch of Hebrew-illiterate, intermarried, totally assimilated Christmass tree-decorating JINOS say is largely irrelevant.

    • Bruce Gould says:

      @Lewis: Charles Freilich is a former Israeli deputy national security advisor. In 2017 he wrote an article in Newsweek titled “How Long Could Israel Survive Without America?”. Here it is – I don’t think it’s necessary to quote it, just read for yourself:

      • Lewis from Afula says:

        The US is terminally bankrupt. Its debts (federal, state, mortgage, credit card, education, corporate, financial) are bigger than anything in history. These debts will never be paid back. The upcoming recession, will be an order of magnitude worse than the 2008 event, mainly because interest rates are already near zero.

        The end game is either HYPERINFLATION or peoples’ BANK ACCOUNTS DISAPPEARING or a combination of both. No other outcome is mathematically possible.

        Hence, US aid to Israel is going to stop in the near future, irrespective of what the Xmass tree-decorating JINOS do or don’t do. Israel will have to live with 1% GDP less than now. Hopefully, the upcoming Leviathan natural gas sales will help make up the difference.

        • Rivka Koen says:

          All the more reason to start denying aid, right? How selfish of you to ask a weak and dying country of debtors to give your country, the most superior and perfect country in the universe, blank check after blank check. I suggest you immediately bring this up with the highest levels of your government so they can stop exploiting poor America (by claiming to protect its evaporating Jewish community no less!) and can continue to call themselves a moral and Jewish democracy.

          • Lewis from Afula says:

            Exactly. The US aid is going to stop soon irrespective of what the JINOS say or don’t say. The coming debt avalanche and Great World Depression is going to change everything everywhere.

            PS: That is not to say that US aid to Israel is a cause of the debt mountain. I read something like America has spent in total some $125 BILLION in aid to Israel. America’s total debt and unfunded liabilities is over $100 TRILLION. So Israel aid constitutes like a thousandth of the problem.

          • Itshak Gordine says:

            Israel is the safest US ally in the region. $ 4 billion in US aid (spent on US equipment purchases..) is a win-win market for the US. So I do not think this help will stop. What some leftist pseudo-Jews think is absolutely irrelevant. Israel is indeed a democratic country like the USA

          • Ben says:

            Israel and the territories it occupies is a unitary entity that is neither a country nor a democracy and is closer in principles and practices to apartheid-era South Africa than to the USA.

          • Itshak Gordine says:

            What do you know? Have you visited Israel recently?

    • Rivka Koen says:

      JINO, that’s a funny word considering all forms of Zionism that have broad support in Israel are secular. Did you know that most of the people who you call JINOs are actually religious, and that the word JINO was made famous by a person who proudly identifies as a Judeo-Christian?

    • Ben says:

      Americans decide America’s future.
      Israel’s offensive treatment of Congress is helping enormously in turning the tide, which was already turning, as Joshua Leifer makes clear.
      Are you competing with Halevy in the Missing the Point Olympics?

      • itshak Gordine says:

        Our security is paramount and depends largely on us. For survival issues, no one can dictate what to do. If our allies are with us all the better, if not too bad.
        In summary, the opinion of some assimilated pseudo-Jews does not matter.

        • Ben says:

          OK, swell, as explained by Chuck Freilich in the link provided by Bruce Gould, above, the USA only provides 40 percent of the IDF’s budget and only it’s entire procurement budget. Let’s just have the U.S. stop that and I’m sure you settlers will do just fine without that U.S. funding pipeline to Mama IDF–behind whose skirts you hide when you play biblical theme park cowboys and indians with the indigenous hostiles. Halevy from Switzerland loves playing cowboys and indians and he talks a big game about how he don’t need no American dollars in this here part of the holy land. Great, go to it, Halevy. You’re all hat no cattle.

          • Itshak Gordine says:

            In 2018, the budget of the Israeli army was 18.5 billion including 3 billion US aid (devoted to the purchase of US weapons ..) It is a win-win operation for the US). In addition, Israel is the most powerful ally (the only one) of the USA in the region. So go down to earth, no clouds on the horizon. Do not forget that Israel is the 5th largest producer of weapons in the world. We produce almost everything except planes and submarines.
            It is incredible how some assimilated leftist pseudo-Jews live in dreams…

    • Rivka Koen says:

      > intermarried

      You might want to look into the origins of King David; I hear he was matrilineally descended from a Moabite woman who never had a formal Orthodox conversion – and to whom marriage is expressly forbidden by the Torah. Scandalous, I know.

      • itshak Gordine says:

        Rivka, you are full of hateful delusions. Ruth the Moabite, the ancestor of King David and the future messiah, converted well to Judaism. It is also the symbol of great converts to the Jewish people that we consider with respect. Nothing to do with those liberal Jews who only have a Jewish name. Liberal and conservative Judaism in the USA is an assimilation machine. The number of these Jews is only decreasing. That of the religious only increases.

        • Ben says:

          @Itshak Gordine: Now the honest version of this:

          “In Israel the rabbinate has played an increasingly powerful role in transforming nationality into a quasi-racial definition, reserved only for a group that meets clear biological requirements (conversion processes are so difficult and humiliating that they are de facto a politics whose purpose is to dissuade non-Jews from joining the Jewish people, thus reinforcing the biological view that a Jew is someone born of a Jewish mother). It is not by chance that religious people in Israel are spearheading racist views. Rabbis on the public payroll call for not employing Arabs and for boycotting shops that do so; these rabbis also call on the population not to rent or sell apartments to Arabs. They frequently cite the Torah to justify the idea that that Jewish and non-Jewish lives are of unequal value. In fact, the view that Jews and non-Jews are both equally the children of God would be, for many religious Jews, sacrilege, a profanation of Judaism. The Lehava organization, that which battles against interfaith marriages and has set for itself the goal of maintaining the racial purity of Jews has been, as revealed in Haaretz in 2011, indirectly financed by the State of Israel.”

          • itshak Gordine says:

            You are the specialist of the mixture of everything and nothing, without, of course, knowing anything of the situation by living outside the country and reading only the Haaretz. Note: A conversion to Judaism is not humiliating for those who are sincere (members of my family have done ..). It takes about 3 years in diaspora and half the time in Israel. Mixed marriages are a sin in Judaism. In Israel dozens of Jewish women are sequestrated in Arab villages and are asking for help. An organization was later created to exfilter them and their children. Lehava opposes mixed marriages in accordance with the rules of Judaism. There is no question of racial purity (anyone can convert to Judaism) or biology. If you are Jewish, I sincerely believe that you suffer from self-hatred.

          • Ben says:

            You ought to know by now that I don’t hate myself.
            Is Eva Ilouz likewise self-hating, then, too?
            You are, of course, assiduously avoiding the racism in practice that Ilouz is talking about, which is the actual practices by the rabbinate, not your sanitized hasbara version of it.
            Haaretz is an Israeli newspaper written by Israelis for Israelis in Hebrew. And in English. These people know what is going on. You seem to be trying to convince us otherwise but what basis do you have for this? It is not some outsider publication. Why don’t you read it?

          • itshak Gordine says:

            You are no longer in it. No one reads Haaretz in Israel except for some members of the self-proclaimed aging elites.

          • Ben says:

            As I have told you, whether Hebrew speaking Israelis read Haaretz devotedly or not misses the point, or perhaps if they don’t that is the point. Though you are the last person I would go to for any objective accounting of what Israelis do. I well understand that in your illegal settlement in the West Bank you and your neighbors do not have Haaretz delivered to your doorstep each morning. You have Arutz Sheva blasting on the TV. This is why Haaretz has an English language edition and why +972 was named +972 and from its inception was written in English as well as Hebrew. To go outside. You’re a lost cause. I have no illusions about redeeming you. Neither does +972 Magazine.

          • itshak Gordine says:

            Neither we nor almost anyone in Israel has time to read Haaretz. Israeli TV channels allow everyone to express their opinions and are even often hostile to the government. This video of Fox news should interest you. Raheel Raza, President of the Council for Muslims facing tomorrow, says what she thinks of Omar and Tlaib:
            In the meantime, more and more people are living on the land of our ancestors, whether you like it or not

          • Ben says:

            I’m completely unsurprised that you get your news and your intellectual sustenance only from TV; and on TV, from places like Fox News and Arutz Sheva. And that you don’t “have time” to read Haaretz. It fits with how you come across in post after post. It does not reflect well on you.

            Because of how and where you consume news, I strongly suspect that you never heard, or read of, Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez saying the following on a New York radio program, where she argued that the Netanyahu administration and the Trump administration are similar in attempting to silence criticism of Israel:

            “The Right wants to advance this notion that if you engage and critique an Israeli policy you are anti-Semitic. But it’s the furthest thing from the truth. Criticizing the occupation doesn’t make you anti-Israel, frankly. It doesn’t mean that you are against the existence of a nation. It means that you believe in human rights, and it’s about making sure that Palestinian human rights are equal to Israeli human rights, and there are a lot of troubling things happening there. Jewish people have been persecuted throughout all of human history, but I don’t think that by marginalizing Palestinians, you create safety. I believe that injustice is a threat to the safety of all people, because once you have a group that is marginalized and marginalized and marginalized — once someone doesn’t have access to clean water, they have no choice but to riot, right? And it doesn’t have to be that way.”

            Why is it that any Muslim who opposes the occupation is a “hater” but any Muslim you can find who supports the “Ocasio-Cortez is an anti-Semite, case closed” line is this wonderful beacon of light you press upon us?

            Notable is this video you press on us is Alan Dershowitz pushing the standard line about “terrorism,” and praising non-extremist Islam (I praise it too, every bit as much as Dershowitz) but never admitting that what Israel does in the territories is terror. And terror in support of an ethnic cleansing agenda.

            Israel’s Ethnic Cleansing Continues

            (And you can easily locate Ilana Hammerman’s essay, “Israel is the Terrorist.”

            When you say, “In the meantime, more and more people are living on the land of our ancestors, whether you like it or not,” what you are saying is that the only “people” who count as people are Jewish people, and the rest be damned. That’s a form of hate speech. But as I said, I have no illusions about you.

          • Ben says:

            And on the subject of Congresswomen Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib, as well as Hanan Ashrawi, think Peter Beinart is correct, and I think Beinart does a wonderful job of dissecting and refuting the standard distractions Rich Lowry tries to throw at him:

            Peter Beinart vs. Rich Lowry on Miftah: “Palestinians Don’t Have To Be Saints In Order To Have Basic Human Rights”

      • Lewis from Afula says:

        In a recent Pew study, out of every 100 Non-orthodox American Jews, only 16 have kids where both parents are Jewish. The rest are intermarried, not married or married without kids. Of the ones who are intermarried and are raising Jewish kids, nearly all those Jewish kids themselves go on to intermarry and leave Judaism.
        The whole thing is falling apart.

        There are only 2 ways stay long term Jewish in the modern World.
        1. Live in an orthodox lifestyle – at least keeping Shabat and eating strictly Kosher.
        2. Live in Israel.

        • Ben says:

          So, in other words, to stay Jewish you have to be an aggressively racist denier of human rights to non-Jews, maintaining a primitive, atavistic tribalism in a constant war-like state. One of the unconscious reasons Israelis treasure the occupation and the eternal sense of cowboys and indians victimhood/valor/victory they get from it (the cowboys are winning, hooray! but the dastardly indians killed some of our noble cowboys! grrrrr!) is because it is exciting and distracts from the real problems of 21st century modernity, and keeps the Jewish population united against a common designated enemy so that they keep themselves from going at each other.

          • Lewis from Afula says:

            Fresh leftist nonsense from Comrade Ben.
            I suspect Ben does not live a strictly Orthodox lifestyle while he lives outside Israel.
            I have probably triggered the guy !!

          • Ben says:

            One thing is for certain–I am not a transplanted American playing Biblical Disneyland Theme Park cowboys and indians while hiding behind Mama IDF’s skirts and letting her wallop the indians whenever they get too rebellious.

          • Lewis from Afula says:

            The only Biblical Disneyland around here is the one synthesized in Ben’s SJW-warped mind.

            I suspect Comrade Ben believes Israelis are not “real people”. We don’t go to work, we don’t have a personal life, we don’t have friends and we don’t experience problems that are totally unconnected to politics. In Ben’s imagination, we all inhabit some surreal World living as “extras” in some 1960s-style Exodus film.

          • Ben says:

            And lo, look over at Meron Rapoport’s article (“The Israeli right stopped talking about occupation, and that will hurt it at the polls”)–where Meron essentially takes my argument a step further, saying that Netanyahu and the Israeli right have actually accomplished the trick of making the occupation and the sense of thrill and danger it carries disappear from Israelis’ lexicon and political consciousness.

            And what do you know? ….Yep, Israelis are now going at each other over real 21st century problems of modernity. So I think that what is happening in this election bears out empirically what I just said to you, only Meron puts the same truth in a new light.

          • Lewis from Afula says:

            Judea and Samaria were LIBERATED in the 6 day war.
            The JORDAMIAN squatters are free and return to their own country (which is literally just down the road).
            Meron is a Moron which is why he contributes to 972 mag.

          • Ben says:

            Odd “liberation,” that, where you need a constant menacing heavy troop occupation to keep everybody “liberated.”

          • Lewis from Afula says:

            As opposed to pre-1967, when heavy troop concentrations were required to defend us on the Green line and stop the Arab invasion.

          • Ben says:

            Yeah now you have secret submarine defense installations embedded in those swimming pools in West Bank settler backyards. Whew! The dastardly destruction of Israel prevented just in the nick of time again! The Israeli army, always on the cutting edge of the arms for dictators industry. And the real estate industry!

          • Lewis from Afula says:

            There were NO SETTLEMENTS before 1967, yet there was still terrorism then wasn’t there ?
            More recently, in 2005, Israel withdrew from Gaza. To this end, we dismantled ALL OUR SETTLEMENTS, removed bodies from the cemeteries and removed ALL IDF forces. A fat lot of use that turned out that be didn’t it?

            The Arabs want to destroy the entire country. Giving them bits of it is not going to stop their jihadi destructive impulse. You are an expert in peddling historical revsionism and fake concepts that have no basis in reality. Either that or your mentally insane.

          • Dave says:

            Just give back the land the Zionists stole from the Palestinians and peace will follow.

  3. Ron says:

    Re “no majority support for a two-state solution among Americans” – the results of the 2018 U. of Maryland poll cited here seem strange. E.g.: 33% of Republicans (and 38% of Independents) support a one-state future with equal rights for all? This doesn’t seem consistent with Republican opinion generally. I’m guessing that some respondents didn’t fully understand the choices here. Supposed support for one equal state is also seems inconsistent with the results of other questions, e.g., 57% of Republicans lean toward Israel, only 3% toward Palestinians. (Among Independents, its’ 18% vs. 3%). Full data at

  4. Barry Rosen says:

    82 years of Palestinian Rejectionism.
    1937 Peel Commission: No
    1948: No
    1978: No
    1991: Probably not.
    1995: We’ll agree to wait to say no later
    2000: No, Intifada
    2001: No
    2008: We’re not even gonna answer
    2014: No, we would rather continue with Pay for Slay
    2019: No Again

  5. Lewis from Afula says:

    It is physically impossible to steal anything from a fabricated, non-people.
    Fake fakestinyans never existed & never will.
    Just a bunch of aggressive JORDAMIAN squaters seeking to clonize their neighbors’ country.

    • Ben says:

      Clonizing Jordamians, they’re the worst.
      Is it a video game you play by yourself in your parent’s basement?