palestinians gaza Majdi Fathi/NurPhoto via Getty Images

A Three-State Solution for Israel and Palestine?

There are now three “states” involved in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict: Hamas in Gaza, the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank, and Israel. Any attempt to move the peace process forward must account for this reality.

LOS ANGELES – The goal of two states for two nations, living side by side within secure borders, has been the foundation of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process since the 1993 Oslo Accords. But for all intents and purposes, it is dead and buried. And perhaps the most important reason is that the goal of two states no longer corresponds to facts on the ground.

To be sure, the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) still supports the two-state solution. It is not interested in any interim settlement that, as experience has shown, Israel’s right-wing coalitions could extend indefinitely, using the never-ending peace process as a political fig leaf for continued occupation and settlement of Palestinian lands.

But for the second key Palestinian player, Hamas, the goal of statehood is secondary to ensuring the predominance of Islam throughout the region. Its absolute unwillingness to sanction the existence of a Jewish state in the sacred land of Palestine rules out any convincing commitment to the two-state solution.

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