Is the two-state solution between the Palestinians and the Israelis dead? Or is there still hope for achieving peace? The answer is yes and this is why. Palestine has always been a difficult jigsaw. The relationship between the Palestinians and the Israelis has evolved from bad to worse in the past ten years. The Israeli government gives no chance to the Palestinians to even consider peace. Historically both states have failed to achieve peace, and in this current situation, to me, it is impossible to do so.
First, let’s have a look at Oslo. This agreement was reached between the Israelis and the Palestinians after the First Intifada. The previous Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and the PLO that was represented by Mahmoud Abbas in 1993 signed the Oslo accords. This was the first peace agreement between the two parties. But how did it end up? It ended up by the assassination of Rabin by Yigal Amir for religious reasons, and it also ended up with Hamas attacking and targeting Israeli territories. This being said, the Likud party took power under the command of Benjamin Netanyahu. This was the first sign of peace failing because both (Zionist Jews, Palestinians) have different approaches (Office of the Historian).
Secondly, we have the Likud party under the command of Netanyahu. This itself is a big problem for the Palestinians. The Likud party is conservative and nationalist meaning that they have their own pride that they won’t give up. Nationalism, to the Likud, means that the land and its protection come first. The Likud publically makes statements about peace and the two-state solution, but they act otherwise. It is known that the Likud is “opposed ceding major portions of land to Palestinian control and dismantling Israeli settlements in the territories that Israel had conquered in 1967” (Encyclopedia). This means that under this current command of the Likud, it is impossible to give away land for the Palestinians and this severely reflects on the peace talks.
Thirdly, we have the illegal settlements, which are built on ‘Palestinian’ soil. “With negotiations stalled between the Palestinians and Israelis, the number of Israeli settlers in the West Bank now exceeds 350,000. (Rudoren and Ashkenas).” The number of settlers inside the West Bank is growing daily. Rudoren points out that the negotiations are stalled and stopped. The amount of settlements outside Israel (West Bank) is increasing with just over 200 settlements and counting. The intentions of Netanyahu are obvious when he says statements like “I do not intend to evacuate any settlements” and “We will be here permanently forever” (Rudoren). When we have a leader like Netanyahu who is disregarding the occupation law, the international law, and all the countries whom are interested in peace talks, I think it is impossible to have a two-state solution.
Fourthly, Israel fully controls all natural resources and keeps it to itself. If the Israeli government was interested in a two-state solution, they would take care of their neighbor state (Palestine). However, “Israel now controls 85 percent of the water resources in the West bank” as Miller explains. This leaves the entire West Bank with only 15 percent to manage with. 15 percent is a very small percentage. What will the Palestinians do with such tiny amount of water? The Palestinians must manage their priorities such as drinking water, or watering farms and plants. This doesn’t only affect the drinking water, but it also severely affects the food market as the crops die without water. What is funny about this situation is that legally speaking, the Oslo Accords gave area A to the Palestinians and this area contains most of the water. Most of the time, Israel steels the water and sells it back to the Palestinians as a pure profit. Israel even controls the nature and the rain. It is possible for the Palestinians to dig wells to save rain water, but even for that there must be a special permit from the Israeli Civil Administration / military. How can the Palestinians have their own state if the Israeli government denies their basic needs of food and water? This puts the two-state solution in more jeopardy (Miller).
Fifthly, the Israeli army has no limits. As known after Oslo, Palestine was divided into three areas as security zones. Area A is supposed to be under the PA’s management, Area B as for Palestinians but with Israeli Security and access, and Area C for the Israeli management. Let’s forget about areas B and C for a bit and focus on area A. This is supposed to be a sovereign state for the Palestinians only, with the control of PA. A sovereign state is able to manage and control its own territory without the help of other states. But on the other hand, we have the Israeli army invading and entering the West Bank on daily basis. The “Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had stated that the IDF's freedom of action in Area A is sacred, which paves the way for the IDF to enter all areas in the West Bank without differentiating between Areas A, B or C” (Abu Amer). This means that the IDF is willing to control the whole land by entering wherever, and whenever. This is a clear violation of the Oslo Accords. This harms the hopes of a two-state solution, especially if the two governments don’t trust each other.
Sixth, the representatives of Palestine are weak and will never unite. The two major representatives Fatah and Hamas have been in division ever since 2005. The problem began after Hamas had won the elections in 2007 and then Fatah dissolved the government because Hamas was considered to be a “terrorist” organization. The split began, and therefore, Palestinians were either left or right and not united. “This was the first time there was such a split in Palestinian society. Usually the Palestinians are unified and we don't take notice of our religious differences or differences of origin. We are a good mixture” (BBC News Middle East).
Lastly, let’s talk about Gaza. I have witnessed the last two wars on Gaza. And just by watching television, I noticed that Israel doesn’t want any Palestinians on this land. The bloodbaths that took place in Gaza showed how vicious and uncivilized the ‘most moral army’ is. During the last war, Israel broke every IHL and IHR there is. In 2009, the Israeli Air Force dropped weapons, which are banned internationally, on the heads of innocent civilians in Gaza. “Israeli warplanes fired white phosphorus munition in the eastern Gaza Strip (Middle East Monitor)”. The world witnessed the genocides and stood still with no actions taken. Thousands of civilians died for something they never committed, while their families were watching. How can those families ever forget what the IDF did to their lost ones? This will lead to more resistance and more actions taken against the Israeli government. This for sure will affect the outcome of the peace talks.
Netanyahu is back with a quick summary of all the points mentioned above by saying “understanding that there’s no such reality as two states” (Eldar). The government of Israel is built on prejudice and racism against the Palestinians. Therefore, the two-state solution is dead for now until both the Israeli and Palestinian government change and are willing to take their responsibilities as true peace seekers. Today the situation in Palestine is going downhill and very dangerous. If the Palestinians remain split, the Israeli government will easily gain more land and do their best to vanish the Palestinian identity.
Abu Amer, Adnan. “Does Israel Have Justification to Enter West Banks’s Area A?” Al-Monitor, 14 April 2016, http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/en/originals/2016/04/israel-hot-pursuits-westbank-incursions-security-pa.html
Eldar, Akiva. “Netanyahu has Rejected a Two-State Solution.” U.S.News, 26 February 2015, http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2015/02/26/netanyahu-has-rejected-a-two-state-solution
ENCYCLOPADIA. Likud, political party Israel. 2015.
Miller, Anna Lekas. “Palestinians Face Food and Water Crisis in the West Bank Spurred by Israeli Control of Resources.” Alternet, 5 October 2012, http://speakeasyblogs.alternet.org/water/palestinians-face-food-and-water-crisis-west-bank-spurred-israeli-control-resources
BBC News Middle East. “Palestinian Split: Views from Hamas and Fatah, Six Years on.” 17 June 2013, http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-22902880
Middle East Monitor. “Israel uses illegal weapons in Gaza.” 21 July 2014, https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20140721-israel-uses-illegal-weapons-in-gaza/
Office of the Historian, Bureau of Public Affairs. United States Department of State. “The Oslo Accords and the Arab-Israeli Peace Process.” https://history.state.gov/milestones/1993-2000/oslo
Rudoren, Jodi and Jeremy Ashkenas. “Netanyahu and the Settlements.” The New York Times, 12 March 2015, http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2015/03/12/world/middleeast/netanyahu-west-bank-settlements-israel-election.html?_r=0