Panel to discuss viability of two-state solution

By James Russell
Special to the TJP

One month after President Donald Trump released his “Peace to Prosperity” framework for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, experts on the issue will discuss the possibility of an end to the conflict at a panel at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 25, at Temple Shalom, 6930 Alpha Road in Dallas.
The panel is sponsored by the Israel Policy Forum, a national policy organization based on the diplomatic vision of the late Israel Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin that supports a two-state solution, and other local organizations. It includes IPF Fellow Nimrod Novik, a former adviser to the late Shimon Peres; Michael Koplow, the group’s policy director; and Gregory Brew, a postdoctoral fellow at the Center for Presidential History at Southern Methodist University. Rabbi Nancy Kasten will moderate.
“People only have a superficial understanding of what’s happening but strong positions on who is right,” said Marc Stanley, who serves on the Washington, D.C.-based group’s board. “The goal is not to persuade but give information to make an argument and explain to family and friends.”
The 80-page plan sticks to the two-state solution model, which some feared the administration would ditch, but is widely seen as benefiting Israel and unlikely to progress.
A statement released by IPF called the plan “an Orwellian exercise in doublespeak in which one side gets to talk about peace and two states while actually carrying out a plan that will ultimately end with a single state between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea.”
Tamir Pardo, former head of the Mossad, and a member of Commanders for Israel’s Security, wrote for Haaretz that the “Deal of the Century” mostly benefits Israel. “The United States, ostensibly the honest broker, joined Israel at a private affair, leaving the Palestinians outside the door,” he wrote.
A 2018 poll conducted by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research and the Tami Steinmetz Center for Peace Research at Tel Aviv University found 43% of Palestinians and Israeli Jews back a two-state solution. That’s down from the previous year, when 52% of Palestinians and 47% of Israeli Jews said they favored two states.
A 2019 Haaretz poll found 42% of Israelis back annexing the West Bank, including supporters of two states.
These polls are emblematic of the types of barriers facing a solution.
“There are many challenges right now on whether Israel can maintain its status as a Jewish democratic state. A two-state solution is criticized by the right and left as an idea whose time has passed. People are looking at other models,” Stanley said. “Could that model be one state? A confederation of states? Would annexing the West Bank be the death knell for the two state solution? If there was one state, would Israelis and Palestinians have a single vote? These are among the considerations that must be looked at. We must look at these options.”
A study released by the RAND Corporation, a nonpartisan think tank, looks at the alternatives if a two-state solution is not viable. Panelists will discuss the study.
“Between annexation and leadership crises, it’s time to step back and look forward,” Stanley said.

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