Sixty five years on from the modern rebirth of the state of Israel the world is despairing. The Palestinian question looms larger than ever. Conventional wisdom has presented us with three possible resolutions to the conflict. Can any of them succeed in bringing lasting peace to the region?
1 State Solution
A One State Solution would see all Israeli and Palestinian territory collapse into one single nation. If that sounds like a recipe for disaster to you, you’re not alone. Critics argue the two peoples would not be able to live side by side peacefully. One major Israeli concern is in doing this, the only Jewish nation on earth would be immediately lost. Israel would no longer be Israel. There would be endless debates over what to call the new nation (Israelestine, anyone?) The Palestinian dream of having their own state would also be lost. No one wins.
2 State Solution
2 states for 2 peoples continues to be the default position of Western governments. The West Bank and Gaza would become an independent Palestinian state. This would leave Israel with what many see as ‘indefensible borders’ as the nation is squeezed to just 9 miles wide in places. Plus, seeing as the West Bank and Gaza are not only geographically separated (with Israel taking up the space in between) but are run by totally different governments, it’s difficult to see how a Palestinian state could be united under a single rule.
3 State Solution
The 2 state solution has been met with growing disillusionment in recent times. So now, a 3 state solution is being proposed by some. This would see the West Bank returned to Jordan and Gaza returned to Egypt. Palestinians would lose their desire for a separate state and Gaza’s extremist Hamas government probably wouldn’t walk away quietly. Whether Jordan or Egypt want to get involved in such a plan is yet to be seen.
The Status Quo
While the current situation is far from ideal, it’s not disastrous. The world is dealing with all out war in 30 other nations. Thousands are dying every week in Syria. Terrorism in Israel is down. Israel have occasionally fought in Gaza, but this has been in retaliation for rocket fire on their civilians. There are checkpoints in the West Bank, but these are being dismantled as and when terrorism decreases. There is a separation wall, yet it has saved lives.
Readers fluent in Latin (all three of you) will be aware that Status Quo means ‘the mess we’re in’. This phrase sums up the plight of both Israelis and Palestinians. The world is obsessed with solving their problem, but progress is as abundant as water in a desert. So while the optimist in me (it does exist, I promise) wants to see change, all three of the ‘solutions’ have major problems. Status Quo may be associated with mess, but who is to say our current mess is better or worse than the outcome of a 1,2 or 3 state solution? Can any of the above 3 ideas live up to their title of ‘solution’? I know you’ll let me know in the comments…