The Logic of Abandoning the Two-States Campaign

Bringing about the conditions needed for a durable two-state deal would necessitate currently unthinkable shifts in some long-standing assumptions held by Israeli Jews. A deal sufficiently durable to withstand post-agreement pressure from Palestinian dissidents would need to include three components:

Members of Jewish Voice for Peace rally in support of boycott, divestment, and sanctions against Israel.

Members of Jewish Voice for Peace rally in support of boycott, divestment, and sanctions against Israel. Credit: Another Jew Supporting Divestment, Jewish Voice for Peace


  1. Territorial integrity. Even a deal that accommodated land swaps along the 1967 borders would require some combination of moving and removing many, if not all, of the Israeli Jewish communities living in the territory of a Palestinian state. It would require an arrangement for mobility between Gaza and the West Bank.
  2. Defensibility. Political sovereignty would require that Israel give up the idea of a demilitarized Palestine. Israel would agree to give up its airspace over the territory of the Palestinian state and, given the need for territorial integrity, its military control of the Jordan River valley. Tougher still, most Palestinians will reject any deal that doesn’t account in some way for Palestinian claims on Jerusalem. Any agreement on boundaries, joint authority, or access to holy places would be accompanied by a deal on the defense of all residents and transients in Jerusalem.
  3. Refugee rights. Many Palestinians have said they won’t recognize a deal as minimally just unless there is recognition of the right of return for refugees. Provisions would need to be made for refugees who do return to vote in Israeli elections or to participate in the governance of some other sovereign political entity that would share political authority in that geographic space.


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Rebecca Subar teaches Peace and Conflict Studies at West Chester University, consults with Dragonfly Partners, and is board chair of Jewish Voice for Peace. The views expressed here are hers alone, and don’t necessarily reflect those of JVP or Dragonfly.

Source Citation

Subar, Rebecca. 2015. The Logic of Abandoning the Two-States Campaign. Tikkun 30(4): 21.

tags: Israel/Palestine   
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