UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon recently urged Israelis and Palestinians to push towards a two-state solution stressing that “only a negotiated two-state solution could bring the legitimate aspirations of both Israelis and Palestinians to fruition”. The two-state solution remains, in the realm of official politics, the only approach to an Israeli-Palestinian final settlement. But is it still viable? Many argue that developments in the West Bank have confounded the two-state scenario, making a viable Palestinian state based on the pre-1967 West Bank border an option of the past. The rise of the Israeli right, their policies of settlement expansion, and the de-facto annexation of Area C of the West Bank and East Jerusalem have contributed to the fading possibility of a two-state solution. On the other hand, the Palestinian leadership, facing rising illegitimacy and corruption charges, fragmentation in decision making between Hamas and Fatah, and a dissatisfied population, has been incapable of providing an alternative after 23 years of failure in the Oslo peace process. In the meantime, Israelis and Palestinians watch carefully as the wider region implodes in anarchy, authoritarian regimes tumble, Islamic extremism rises, and once influential states such as Egypt plunge into economic and political turmoil. In light of this background, we ask:
- Does the two-state solution still represent, or has it ever represented, a viable framework for a final status settlement that will ensure a lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians?
- What are current alternatives to the two-state solution, and who proposes them? Is there a one-state or even a three-state option?
- How are regional developments affecting the Israeli-Palestinian conflict? Is the geopolitical importance of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict fading in favour of fighting Islamic extremism and restoring regional security?
Joining us for the discussion is Anas Iqtait. Anas is a PhD candidate at the Centre for Arab and Islamic Studies at the Australian National University. He is a Palestinian native with a keen interest in the political economy of the Arab-Israeli conflict and the effectiveness of international donations in the region. Before his PhD, he worked with the United Nations and other developmental organizations in Palestine. Anas’s previous education includes a masters of international development policy and a bachelor of economics.
The following articles are suggested background reading on the topic. They are not required for participation, but demonstrate the level of discussion we hope to achieve.
Session will be held on Friday, 16 September in the Centre for Arab Islamic Studies Tutorial Room at 11am.