One state or two states? You’re asking the wrong question

Protest marking 12 years for the struggle against the wall, Bil

A Palestinian youth opens a gate in the Israeli wall, during a protest marking 12 years for the struggle against the wall and the occupation in the West Bank village of Bil’in, Feb 17, 2017.

We desperately need to go back to basics and recognize that guaranteeing Palestinians’ rights is the foundation for any political solution.

By Haggai Matar | +972 Magazine | Jan 29, 2018


During a recent trip to the US . . . I found devoted activists, all of them committed to resisting occupation and supporting peace . . . who refused to speak to each other solely based on the question of how many states we should have in this piece of land. I suggest that we hold off on that question and focus on the heart of the matter.


A new poll reveals that following Trump’s Jerusalem declaration there has been a drop in support for the two-state solution among both Israeli Jews and Palestinians in the occupied territories — with both communities dipping below the 50 percent level. Only Palestinians with Israeli citizenship who live inside the Green Line show overwhelming support for this solution.

The poll also shows that in tandem with this ongoing downward shift, there is a significant rise in the hostility of each group toward the other, as well as increasing support for armed struggle or a “decisive war” as a solution to the conflict. Conducted by veteran pollsters Dr. Khalil Shikaki and Walid Ladadwa from the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research (PSR), along with Israeli pollster and +972 Magazine writer Dr. Dahlia Scheindlin and the Tami Steinmetz Center for Peace Research (TSC) — this is a poll to be taken seriously.

These new findings have significant value, as they expose Trump’s devastating impact on the chance to end the occupation in the foreseeable future, while sounding the alarm bells over the hopelessness of both sides, such that violence and bloodshed are actually gaining traction as possible solutions to our troubles.

And yet, we must not view the poll results as a harbinger of “the end of the two-state solution” or “final proof that one state is the only way to go.” One state? Two states? You’re asking the wrong question.

Why? First, because at least on the Israeli side, nobody is asking that question; it’s simply not an issue that concerns most Israelis. . . . The one or two state debate also ignores the fact that for years there has been no peace process through which to promote either solution. . . . Lastly, the question of a political solution ignores the notion that has long been lacking in our political debate: Palestinian rights.

Any way one chooses to look at it, the current political climate lacks any recognition of Palestinians’ right to political agency, involvement in democratic process to decide their own future (be it vis-à-vis Israel or the Palestinian micro-regimes), equality and social justice, after decades of foreign rule that profits off of the natural resources, captive market, and cheap labor force in the occupied territories.

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