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Israelis and Palestinians are at a Crossroads

February 17, 2017
Plain English Version


President Donald Trump with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House Wednesday, Feb 15, 2017.

For almost thirty years, the U.S. was for a “two-state solution” for the Middle East. One state would be for Palestinians. The other state would be for Israelis. There was an agreement reached in Oslo, Norway in 1993 between all the parties. The agreement was to try to find a two-state solution.

There is still no agreement. Palestinians blame the delay on Israeli expansion of new settlements. The settlements are on the West Bank land. Israel seized the land in the six-day war in 1967. These are the occupied or disputed territories.

Israel blames Palestine for not recognizing the Jewish state. It claims the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) does want an agreement. It throws up roadblocks whenever an agreement is near.

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu met with President Trump. They made news. They talked about the idea of one-state. The president said he did not care about the choice. “I like the one that both parties like. I’m very happy with the one that both parties like. I can live with either one.”

Observers point out that this is not a plan. Trump’s comments raise more questions than answers.

Many experts say that the two-state-solution is near death. What could come next? Is there a one-state solution?

Many believe that a one-state solution would not be a result of the two parties reaching an agreement. It is likely to be a solution imposed by Israel.

One big issue is demography. If there is one-state will Arabs outnumber Jews at some time in the future as most think. Or will Jews outnumber the Arabs? Some experts say this trend may come to favor the Jews. The Jewish families who settle in the territories often have many children.

Other solutions are being discussed. One idea is to make the Arabs in the West Bank citizens of Jordan. Jordan is already more than half Palestinian. The Jordan-Arab citizens living in the West Bank would be like green card holders in the U.S. They would have complete legal protection, but they would not have the right to vote in Israeli elections. There are many other ideas.

If the U.S. acts on the idea of one-state, it will bring big changes. It would change the rules of the game. While some people are for the one-state solution, others see nothing but disaster ahead.

Source: The New York Times February 15, 2017

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