Why the Two-State Solution Is Impossible

Don Bryant and Mark Weber, Co-Chairs of our Middle East Peace Committee

For more than fifty years, liberal Zionists and U.S. policymakers for the Middle East have advocated a two-state solution for the Israeli-Palestinian impasse. This “solution” seemed to satisfy everyone. Israel supported a two-state solution because it permitted its diplomats to push the realization of this goal further into the future by adding new “conditions” to any peace negotiations. The United States, both Democratic and Republican Administrations, liked a two-state solution because they felt it would be easier to implement (it will preserve their strong Middle East ally in total control). Arab states capitulating to the major powers supported the two-state solution, as it let them off the hook regarding the future of the Palestinian population in the Occupied West Bank, Gaza and the seven million refugees in the surrounding Arab countries and the Diaspora. The only group that has rarely been asked to weigh in on the plan are the ones whose lives depend on a solution to the crisis, the Palestinians.

However, the days of the two-state solution are gone and gone for good. With the Trump Administration being completely subservient to Israeli interests, there is no longer any push from Washington DC for a two-state solution. On the contrary, Trump adapted more decisions biased to Israel at the expense of Palestinian people such as moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem in violations of UN Charter, Geneva Convention and International Law and halting all funds ($500 million) to the United Nations Relief and Work Agency which means abolishing not only the Palestinian refugees’ rights but their mere existence.

What are the developments that made a two-state solution no longer feasible?

  1. Most observers agree that a Palestinian “state” would end up being a client state of Israel. It would be a source of cheap labor for the Israel’s economy and it would be militarily subservient to Israel.  In other words, the only Palestinian state Israel would agree to is one that it could totally control.
  2. The West Bank now has 550,000 Israeli colonists who have no legal right to be there. The colonies (which some call settlements) are illegal under international law. Many of the settlers are messianic and see the land as being given to them by God and that therefore violence toward their Palestinian neighbors is “divinely inspired.”
  3. The Oslo Accords have done immeasurable damage to the cause of Palestinian statehood. By carving up the West Bank into areas under direct Israeli control (most of the land) and under control of the Palestinian Authority (a much smaller area of land), the Accords have made a single unified state virtually impossible.
  4. A Palestinian state on the West bank would be a landlocked “hostage state” with no outlet to sea so that Israel would control everything and everybody who would go in and out 

What is a solution? We should support a civil rights program of one person one vote for all adults 18 years of age or older who live between the Mediterranean Sea and the border with Jordan. This would include Israeli Jews, Israeli Arabs, Druze, Palestinian Arabs, and others who permanently live in this area. This land now has about 6.5 million Israeli Jews and about 6.7 million Arabs. This would call the question on whether the Israelis want a democratic state or a Jewish state. They cannot have both.

Cleveland Peace Action Supports BDS

CPA supports the nonviolent Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) of Israel to end the military occupation of Palestine, to ensure equal rights for Palestinian citizens of Israel, and to achieve the Palestinian right of return, under International Law/UN194. (BDS is an inclusive anti-racist human rights movement opposed to all forms of discrimination including anti-semitism and islamophobia.)  2/19/18

Stop the Israel Anti-Boycott Act

Boycott is as American as apple pie. Now with the Israel Anti-Boycott Act, Congress wants to criminalize it, with harsh penalties. We must say NO to this anti-democratic legislation!

Read Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters New York Times Op-Ed on the Israel Anti-Boycott Act.

See Democracy Now! interview with Roger Waters


How We Can Solve The Palestinian Israeli Problem: