It's easy to understand why so many people are giving up on negotiations and a two-state solution, and instead are looking for “creative alternatives.” Israeli-Palestinian talks are at an impasse. The two sides haven't seemed this far apart since the second intifada. The number of settlers and settlements continues to baloon relentlessly. Israel's government appears united behind recalcitrant policies, while the Palestinians appear hopelessly divided.
But any purported “creative alternatives” to a negotiated two-state solution need to be subjected to a simple litmus test before they can be taken seriously. They have to be plausibly acceptable to all parties that would need to agree in order for them to be realized. If any such “alternatives” are by definition unacceptable to any of the parties, then they're not serious ideas. In most cases, they quickly reveal themselves to be thinly disguised versions of long-standing maximalist fantasies.
|A man places a sticker on a car in Jerusalem. (Awad Awad / AFP / Getty Images)|
Take, for instance, the perennial fantasy on the pro-Israeli right that “Jordan is Palestine” or that Egypt can somehow be induced to take responsibility for Gaza. Palestinians, Jordanians and Egyptians all categorically reject any such idea, so it can't happen.
Similarly, in pro-Palestinian circles the idea of a South Africa-style “one-state” solution of a single entity for all Israelis and Palestinians, including refugees, based on "one-person one-vote," is a total nonstarter for the overwhelming majority of Israelis. So that, too, simply won't happen.
Some of the most dangerous “creative alternatives” are being increasingly floated on the pro-Israeli right, especially the idea of a greater Israel including the occupied territories but without full or equal citizenship, or voting rights, for its Palestinian population. In other words, formalized, permanent apartheid...READ MORE