A central question of the Middle East Peace Process remains: can the two-state solution be saved?
continues to build illegal settlements in the occupied Palestinian
Territories - contrary to the recent UN resolution 2334. Against this
backdrop, a conference has been organized in Paris on Sunday, January 15
to try to relaunch the moribund peace process. Over 70 countries will
be attending the conference although Israeli and Palestinian officials
will not be present.
The French Initiative has been warmly
received by the Palestinian leadership as a final chance to save the
two-state-solution: “Two states today is possible. Tomorrow, it might be
too late” warned Muhammad Shtayyeh, Fatah Central Committee Member, who
nevertheless remains optimistic. “The reality on the ground, the
demography on the ground, the geography on the ground, shows that a
two-state solution is still possible today”.
public opinion no longer reflects this official position. A recent poll
shows that 65% of Palestinians no longer believe the two-state solution
is viable due to ongoing settlement expansion. “The more people think
the two-state solution is no longer viable, the more likely they it is
that they will shift and support a one-state solution” explains Dr.
Khalil Shikaki, Director of the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey
A few years ago, a minority of Palestinians would
openly express support for the one-state solution. But today support is
growing according to Radi Jarai, a Fatah dissident and Political
Scientist at Al-Quds University. In 2013, together with members from
other political factions, he created the ‘One Democratic State’ movement
that advocates for the creation of a binational state. According to
Jarai: “We are in a one-state solution since 1967, after the occupation
of the West Bank and Gaza strip”. Young people are key proponents of the
binational state. Mainly because they are disillusioned with the
concepts of state building and the peace process.
Will the peace process be relaunched after the Paris Conference? More than 60% of Palestinians believe otherwise.