כן להסכם - תומכים ביוזמת ז'נבהכן להסכם - תומכים ביוזמת ז'נבה
English Русский الموقع الفلسطيني
עקבו אחרינו בטוויטר הצטרפו אלינו בפייסבוק ערוץ יוזמת ז'נה ביוטיוב
שומרים על קשר

ז'נבה בשטח
היכנסו לצפות בסרטון מי אנחנו

יש לקדם במהירות את הפתרון של שתי מדינות

(13/06/2007)

Possible, but not for long
by Ghassan Khatib

The two-state solution is still possible but time is running out. Man-made developments on the ground and internal politics in both Israel and Palestine are working against it. Based on the assumption that a Palestinian state is only possible by peaceful means, the actions of Israel and the international community are a major factor in determining its viability

The two-state solution became a visible, realistic and widely recognized notion when the Palestinians changed their strategic political thinking from demanding their rights to historic Palestine to pursuing a solution to the conflict based on international legality. The rationale behind this was the belief that such a solution was not only possible, but it was acceptable to and even desired by the international community. Moreover, regardless of the way it was created and the injustice this inflicted on the Palestinian people, Israel had become a reality that had to be taken into consideration in any realistic Palestinian vision of the future

The two-state solution subsequently became the main concept of President George Bush senior when he convened the international peace conference in Madrid in 1991. It is imbedded in countless United Nations resolutions and remains the guiding philosophy behind the roadmap

Bur what was more important at the time was that there were no competing strategies or solutions. Everyone, except Israel, recognized the existence of two people competing for the same land. The logical solution would be to divide the land, especially since such a concept was rooted in international law with the very creation of Israel. In fact, it was a condition for the creation of Israel, as stipulated in the partition plan of 1947, UN Security Council Resolution 181. The borders are now envisaged to be the 1967 armistice lines simply because there is no other basis for alternatives. Any deviation from this would leave the issue to the balance of power between the two sides, something clearly unacceptable to the Palestinian side

The peace process sparked by Oslo created the impression that such a solution was possible. More than that, from a Palestinian prospective the peace process was about ending the occupation and establishing a Palestinian state in return for peace. By the same logic, the difficulties that started to mount against the process indicated the challenges facing the prospect of a two-state solution

Indeed, after the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin by a Jewish terrorist, hope for such a solution started gradually to evaporate. But the real knock-out blow came not with any act of violence but with international acceptance of Ariel Sharon's unilateral policy and President George Bush junior's "strategy" of abandoning Middle East peace efforts. The American change of approach was interpreted by Sharon as a signal to go ahead and impose the future by force

The unilateral strategy is a supreme challenge to the two-state solution, predicated as that solution it is on bilateral negotiations between the two parties to arrive at a just solution. If Israeli unilateralism is not stopped and reversed very soon, the two-state solution will cease to be viable. Israeli polices and practices have been undermining the viability of a Palestinian state for years now, first and foremost by fragmenting the Palestinian territory--separating not only the West Bank from the Gaza Strip, but West Bank areas from each other in a maze of settlements, settler-only roads, walls, checkpoints, concrete and barbed wire

Furthermore, allowing access from Gaza to Egypt only and the West Bank to Jordan only creates a number of dangerous social, economic and political realities that can only be detrimental to the independence and integrity of any future Palestinian state. Time is running out. It still remains to be seen how serious the international community really is about the two-state solution.- Published 11/6/2007 © bitterlemons.org

Ghassan Khatib is coeditor of the bitterlemons family of internet publications. He is vice-president of Birzeit University and a former Palestinian Authority minister of planning