Is the two-state solution dead? President Trump hints at alternative options to solve the Israeli Palestinian conflict.
VIDEO SCRIPT: President Trump appears to be backing away from the two-state solution, the policy to create a Palestinian state alongside Israel. But is this as bad as it seems?
Hi. I’m Leon Hawthorne. We’re talking about Israel and Palestine; and attempts to bring peace to the whole mideast region.
It was all smiles as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu came to the White House. The two men hinted at secret negotiations to bring about a resolution to the mideast deadlock.
When asked if he backed the two-state solution, the US leader said he didn’t mind… whichever one works for the two parties.
This statement has been met with head-scratching and condemnation around the world. But why?
This is what it says in Resolution 1397 of the United Nations Security Council.
“The Security Council… [affirms] a vision of a region where two States, Israel and Palestine, live side by side within secure and recognized borders.”
Previous Resolution 242 called for peace to be based on the borders prior to the 1967 Arab Israeli War.
But here’s the problem. After countless attempts at peace over the ages, that vision has not materialised.
Even after President Clinton managed to get the two sides to shake hands following the Oslo Accords, what followed was a split in the Palestinian side between Hamas and Fatah and the resumption of violence between them and Israel.
Meanwhile Israelis build settlements on disputed land and many Palestinians live in squalid refugee camps.
The single biggest problem is getting all Arabs to recognise Israel has a right to exist. This has been something they have not accepted since Israel’s formation in 1948.
Now, we don’t have time to recount the history of Judea since the Roman era; and frankly both sides could - and no doubt will - argue over that for another 2,000 years.
But the reality is: there is a Jewish state and it’s not going anywhere. The Jewish people clearly have a right to a homeland after centuries of Christian persecution, culminating in the Holocaust.
The Palestinian people also have a right to a homeland.
But just how feasible is it for them to have a viable state next to Israel?
The first issue is geography. The Palestinian area is split into two non-contiguous blocks. The West Bank of the River Jordan, controlled by Fatah; and the Gaza Strip on the Mediterranean coastline, controlled by the Islamic Resistance Movement, better known as Hamas, which the US has designated a terrorist organisation.
Geography and internecine warfare between the Palestinians make Palestine an almost impossible state to pull-together. I doubt there would be peace inside that Palestinian state, yet alone peace with Israel.
So, maybe there is an alternative to the two-state solution. I think it would be easier for Gaza to become a semi autonomous region under the sovereignty of its southern neighbour, Egypt. And the West Bank could go to its eastern neighbour, Jordan.
Jordan and Egypt are better partners for Israel to deal with. Both have signed peace agreements before. They can control Fatah and Hamas to safeguard Israel’s security.
But doesn’t this deny Palestinians their own state? Well, they never had one before 1948 and it’s questionable whether their national unity is defined by anything other than antipathy towards Israel since then.
Million of Palestinians already live in Egypt and Jordan, so assimilation would be relatively easy.
Now, I’m sure this idea will be met by a torrent of criticism. But I think it could bring a lasting peace to the region. It’s more important to come up with ideas that break the deadlock than necessarily sticking to a two-state solution that has failed to move forward for such a long time.
I’m Leon Hawthorne. Thanks for watching.