Beware "Creative Alternatives"

The two sides haven't seemed this far apart since the second intifada. The number of settlers and settlements continues to baloon relentlessly. Israel's government appears united behind recalcitrant policies, while the Palestinians appear hopelessly divided.

But any purported “creative alternatives” to a negotiated two-state solution need to be subjected to a simple litmus test before they can be taken seriously. They have to be plausibly acceptable to all parties that would need to agree in order for them to be realized. If any such “alternatives” are by definition unacceptable to any of the parties, then they're not serious ideas. In most cases, they quickly reveal themselves to be thinly disguised versions of long-standing maximalist fantasies.

Take, for instance, the perennial fantasy on the pro-Israeli right that “Jordan is Palestine” or that Egypt can somehow be induced to take responsibility for Gaza. Palestinians, Jordanians and Egyptians all categorically reject any such idea, so it can't happen.

Similarly, in pro-Palestinian circles the idea of a South Africa-style “one-state” solution of a single entity for all Israelis and Palestinians, including refugees, based on "one-person one-vote," is a total nonstarter for the overwhelming majority of Israelis. So that, too, simply won't happen.

Hussein Ibish is a Senior Research Fellow at the American Task Force on Palestine. He has a PhD in comparative literature from The University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

The above article was published in thedailybeast.com on May 17th, 2012 (1:27 p.m. EDT).

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