By Daniel Frank, TOI MARCH 14, 2013,
This past week, Robert Serry, the United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process gave a lecture at Tel Aviv University proclaiming that the possibility for a two-state solution would die in a matter of months, Ben Birnbaum wrote a riveting and influential essay about the end of the two-state solution and at a Herzliya conference panel on the peace process, almost everyone except Tzipi Livni spoke as if a two-state solution is presently untenable. In response to this I say yes, the two-state solution (as we know it) is dead, but this is a positive, not negative step towards peace.
Before a phoenix can rise from the ashes, it has to burn. The concept of a negotiated solution based on the Clinton parameters is a pipe-dream that has never been that close to actually happening. This “pipe-dream” in my opinion is presently the biggest obstacle to peace. When the only tool one has is a hammer, everything looks like a nail; in this case, the only tool people are using to try and solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a negotiated two-state solution based loosely on the Clinton parameters. By looking beyond this framework, I think more suitable tools to solve the conflict will present themselves and peace, like a phoenix, will be able to rise from the ashes.
The reason why a negotiated two-state solution has not worked has not been for a lack of effort or negotiations, but because both sides cannot live with the other parties’ demands. Negotiations are not educational campaigns to sway the public’s view, and so long as the majority of people on both sides cannot live with the proposed offers, nothing will be achieved. A great example of this can be seen with the Geneva Initiative, a peace proposal that roughly falls in the middle of both parties’ demands (concessions that both parties would likely never acquiesce to); present the Geneva Initiative as a referendum to both publics and it will get rejected.
The PLO is not a democracy so in theory, its possible that they could reach an agreement that is unsatisfactory to its people, however not only is this unlikely, but the fact that the PLO is not a democracy makes it even harder for them to reach an agreement because without vast public support, they will be politically and/or physically overruled. A demonstration of this can be seen with the Yossi Beilin-Abu Mazen agreement, an agreement that would actually be acceptable to much of the Israeli public. After the agreement was leaked and Abu Mazen became accountable for his work, he claimed that he never supported it and would not allow it to be referenced during the Camp David negotiations.
Since Netanyahu’s second term as Prime Minister started, there have been two official sets of discussions held between Israeli and Palestinians, and a series of unofficial correspondence. Many people fallaciously point to the lack of negotiations as the greatest hurdle for peace. …read more