For Israelis and Palestinians, the Two-State Idea Doesn’t Solve Anything

For Israelis and Palestinians, the Two-State ‘Solution’ Isn’t a Solution At All

After 176 days, Israel’s ongoing assault on Gaza persists, now characterized by Human Rights Watch as a deliberate policy of using starvation as a weapon of war. The toll is staggering: over 32,000 Palestinians have lost their lives.

Despite the mounting humanitarian crisis, the international community’s response remains predictable, reverting to the familiar rhetoric of advocating for a two-state solution as the pathway to peace and security for Palestinians and Israelis alike. Even President Biden, in his recent State of the Union address, reiterated the mantra, stating that “the only real solution is a two-state solution.”

Yet, this call for a two-state solution feels increasingly hollow. Many Western diplomats privately express skepticism about its feasibility, given Israel’s staunch opposition, the lack of meaningful pressure from the West to induce Israeli compliance, and the entrenched political divisions among Palestinians.

Despite this, politicians continue to echo the two-state solution mantra. However, in the midst of what the International Court of Justice has warned could amount to genocide, the urgency of the situation is not translating into meaningful action.

For Israelis and Palestinians, the Two-State Idea Doesn't Solve Anything
For Israelis and Palestinians, the Two-State Idea Doesn’t Solve Anything (Credits: Los Angeles Times)

Repeatedly invoking the two-state solution has allowed policymakers to evade confronting the reality that partition is unattainable and fundamentally unjust. The two-state framework, imposed on Palestinians without their consent in 1947, has evolved into a tool that sustains Palestinian subjugation and Israeli impunity. It has normalized the daily violence inflicted upon Palestinians by Israel’s apartheid regime.

Prior to October 7, 2023, the plight of Palestinians under the status quo was dire. Israeli violence, particularly against children in the West Bank, was escalating. Yet, the Biden administration chose to further legitimize Israel, expanding diplomatic relations and rewarding it with privileges like a U.S. visa waiver. Palestine remained marginalized on the international agenda until Israeli Jews were killed on October 7, revealing the entrenched invisibility of Palestinians and the acceptance of their oppression on the global stage.

This pivotal moment underscores the failure of existing policies, yet nations persist in resurrecting them. Instead of taking meaningful steps toward peace, such as pressuring Israel to end settlement building and lift the Gaza blockade or reducing military support, the United States is doing the opposite. It wields its veto power aggressively at the United Nations Security Council and undermines accountability for Israel by limiting avenues of international law.

The emptiness of the two-state solution rhetoric is evident in policymakers’ talk of recognizing a Palestinian state without addressing the end of Israel’s occupation. Reports suggest the United States is exploring initiatives to recognize Palestinian statehood while simultaneously defending Israel’s occupation in international forums, citing “security needs.” This contradictory approach perpetuates the status quo of Israeli dominance and Palestinian suffering.