Is a 2-State Solution Between Israel and Palestinians Still Feasible?

“There has to be a vision of what comes next,” President Biden said last week of the war between Israel and Hamas. “In our view, it has to be a two-state solution.” The surest path to peace, said Prime Minister Rishi Sunak of Britain, is a two-state solution, a sentiment echoed by President Emmanuel Macron of France.

At first glance, their words seemed like a sepia-tinted throwback: invoking, as a remedy for the worst eruption of bloodshed between Israelis and Palestinians in many years, the faded relic of a peace process that many on both sides viewed as dead and buried some time late in the Obama administration.

And yet, the two-state solution — Israelis and Palestinians living side-by-side in their own sovereign countries — is getting a new hearing, not just in foreign-policy circles in Washington, London and Paris but also, more quietly, among the combatants themselves. In part, it reflects the lack of any other viable alternative.

“We cannot return to a pattern where every other year, there is a violent confrontation between Israel and Hamas,” said Gilead Sher, who helped lead Israel’s negotiations with the Palestinians in the late 1990s and early 2000s, when the two sides arguably came closest to striking a two-state settlement.

“If America engages in what President Biden has stated he would commit to, there is a chance,” he said. “There is a chance for negotiations that could provide a step-by-step process to two distinct states.”

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