At this new intersection, there are two signs. The first points
towards the west and reads "viable and just two-state solution", while
the second one points eastward and reads "power sharing".
The first sign is informed by years of political negotiations (from
the Madrid conference in 1991, through Oslo, Camp David, Taba, and
Annapolis) alongside the publication of different initiatives (from the Geneva Initiative and the Saudi Plan
to the Nussaiba and Ayalon Plan), all of which have clarified what it
would take to reach a peace settlement based on the two-state solution.
It entails three central components:
1. Israel's full withdrawal to the 1967
border, with possible one-for-one land swaps so that ultimately the
total amount of land that was occupied will be returned.
2. Jerusalem's division according to the
1967 borders, with certain land swaps to guarantee that each side has
control over its own religious sites and large neighbourhoods. Both
these clauses entail the dismantlement of Israeli settlements and the
return of the Jewish settlers to Israel.
3. The acknowledgement of the right of
return of all Palestinians, but with the following stipulation: while
all Palestinians will be able to return to the fledgling Palestinian
state, only a limited number agreed upon by the two sides will be
allowed to return to Israel; those who cannot exercise this right or,
alternatively, choose not to, will receive full compensation.
Israel's continued unwillingness to fully support these three
components is rapidly leading to the annulment of the two-state option
and, as a result, is leaving open only one possible future direction:
The notion of power sharing would entail the preservation of the
existing borders, from the Jordan valley to the Mediterranean Sea, and
an agreed upon form of a power sharing government led by Israeli Jews
and Palestinians, and based on the liberal democracy model of the
separation of powers. It also entails a parity of esteem - namely, the
idea that each side respects the other side's identity and ethos,
including language, culture and religion. This, to put it simply, is the
bi-national one-state solution.
Many Palestinians have come to realise that even though they are
currently under occupation, Israel's rejectionist stance will
unwittingly lead to the bi-national solution. And while Netanyahu is
still miles behind the current juncture, it is high time for a Jewish
Israeli and Jewish American Awakening, one that will force their
respective leaders to support a viable democratic future for the Jews
and Palestinians living between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean
Sea. One that will bring an end to the violent conflict.