Demanding Transparency: The Two-State “Solution”

Image via Decolonize Palestine

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The rapid transmission of information through the media and the ample background needed to contextualize the Israel-Hamas War can leave people feeling as though the current state of the matter is impossible to digest. While this can be overwhelming, I encourage any and all university students to take a moment of gratitude for the ability to engage with academic scholars, articles, books, and archives and find a strategy for staying informed. When approaching the Israel-Hamas conflict, it’s vital to use history to your advantage rather than it being a roadblock. History will be your superpower in navigating this conflict. 

Conversations on a Two-State solution are recirculating in the international political sphere, and while the United States is presenting it as a simple, amicable next step, having a brief understanding of the history can tell us that this partitioning of the state has not served as much of a solution in the past. 

After World War I, the British and French carved the Ottoman Empire into spheres of influence, and the League of Nations Council officially approved the British Mandate over Palestine in 1922. Among all the states that had been partitioned by the British and French, Palestine had the longest mandate (1922-1947) due to the British government’s commitment to establishing Palestine as the national home for Jewish people. During British rule, there was an influx of Jewish immigration, and consequently, tensions rose, leading to resistance and rebellion. In 1947, the United Nations was called on to step in and create a solution. They proposed that Palestine be split into Jewish and Arab states in 1948, which was the catalyst for the Arab-Israeli War. This war ended in 1949, as 750,000 Palestinians were displaced, and the territory was now divided between the state of Israel, the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip. This was the beginning of the gradual erosion of the two-state solution once proposed by the United Nations. 

The Two-State solution is still being discussed as a contemporary method to move away from the violence that is currently taking place in the state of Israel. With this said, the two-state solution being discussed today is more abstract than the usage in 1947. U.S. Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken, for example, recently traveled to Israel and reiterated to Netanyahu and other officials that there needs to be more done to protect Palestinian citizens. He offered advice on how to minimize civilian deaths while also achieving Israel’s objective of defeating Hamas. In this conversation, Blinken shares that the long-term goal of the US is the creation of two states for two peoples. The UN’s two-state solution did not grant peace and security to Jewish and Palestinian individuals as expected; therefore, simply copying and pasting a former strategy that provoked so much violence would be a disappointing approach. It’s reasonable to assume that the recent discussions around the two-state solution imply a more abstract approach.

With that said, if the U.S. government continues to claim that the Two-State solution is the path to peace, they must transparently outline a path toward peace through possible action steps. This is not to say that this solution should be applied, but a highly influential global leader should at least make an effort. There is undoubtedly a reason to be skeptical of the officials that speak on behalf of the U.S., stating the country hopes for peace and humanitarianism in the region while simultaneously profiting off of and sustaining the war through arms provision. This insincerity solidifies the need for Blinken and other public officials to define a Two-State solution in contemporary terms if the U.S. wants to be taken seriously in the international arena.

The American people must hold their leaders to a high standard, not allowing the U.S. to ignore the moral obligation as a member of the global community to theorize amicable, scholarly, comprehensive, and evolved ways to move forward. As the United States plays an inextricably large role in international affairs, we must move forward, leaving insincerity in the past.

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This article was edited by Matthew Quirindongo and Hannorah Ragusa.