The PRO and CON statements below give a five minute introduction to the debate on the Israeli - Palestinian conflict. (Read more information about our one star to five star Theoretical Expertise System.)
PRO: "Israeli recognition of Palestinian statehood will tangibly advance the two-state vision and will eliminate the dangerous one-state vision that extremists on the right and the left are advancing, among us and among the Palestinians. We have to be honest with ourselves. There is simply no option beyond a two-state solution that will preserve the Zionist dream. One state would be the end of the Zionist dream and it would eliminate the dream of the Palestinians to have a state of their own. With this, we would doom ourselves to perpetual conflict, a lose-lose situation."
-- Yehiel Hilik Bar, MA Member of the Israeli Knesset for the Labor Party
"Time to Recognize the Palestinian State," Jewish Week, Jan. 5, 2015
CON: "If partition of this contested land was ever the just solution to the conflict, it ceased the moment one side refused. It was not a mere rejection: they launched repeated assaults to take it all by force. Returning Israel to its indefensible nine-mile waistline would once again place us in mortal danger, while rewarding the aggressor…
In Judea and Samaria there is ample room for many Jews, many Palestinians and peaceful coexistence… After 20 years of failed attempts to reach a two-state solution, isn't it time we admit our failures and move on? The time has come to invest in new, innovative paths to peace that unite people through acts of mutual respect."
-- Dani Dayan, MSc
Former Chief Foreign Envoy of the Council of Jewish Communities in Judea, Samaria and Gaza (the Yesha Council)
"What You Call 'Settlements' Are on Solid Moral Ground," Guardian, June 7, 2013
PRO: "The Israeli-Palestinian conflict has reached a critical stage. For more than two decades, the two-state solution has been the basis of international efforts to make peace in the region... A failure of the two-state solution will generate further instability in the region, strengthen rejectionist elements on both sides and likely mean that the conflict will drag on for generations…
The Palestinian leadership remains committed to a peaceful, negotiated settlement to our conflict with Israel based on the two-state solution."
-- Hanan Ashrawi, PhD Elected Member of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC)
"Israeli Actions Jeopardize Two-State Solution," Los Angeles Times, Nov. 15, 2010
CON:"Support for one state is hardly a radical idea; it is simply the recognition of the uncomfortable reality that Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories already function as a single state. They share the same aquifers, the same highway network, the same electricity grid and the same international borders... The one-state solution... neither destroys the Jewish character of the Holy Land nor negates the Jewish historical and religious attachment (although it would destroy the superior status of Jews in that state). Rather, it affirms that the Holy Land has an equal Christian and Muslim character. For those who believe in equality, this is a good thing."
-- Michael Tarazi, PhD
Former Legal Advisor to the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO)
"Two Peoples One State," New York Times, Oct. 4, 2004
PRO: "The two-state solution is the only way to end the conflict and establish security and stability for the entire region. Israel's security will not be achieved without… the establishment of a sovereign, geographically contiguous, Palestinian state along the 5 June 1967 lines, according to international accords and the Arab Peace Initiative, with East Jerusalem as its capital."
-- King Abdullah II
King of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan
Jumana Ghneimat for Al Ghad, "Interview with His Majesty King Abdullah II," www.kingabdullah.jo, Aug. 10, 2014
CON: "The Zionist regime and the Zionists are a cancerous tumour... The nations of the region will soon finish off the usurper Zionists in the Palestinian land... A new Middle East will definitely be formed. With the grace of God and help of the nations, in the new Middle East there will be no trace of the Americans and Zionists."
-- Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
Former President of Iran
"'Cancerous Tumour' Israel Will Soon Be Destroyed, Says Ahmadinejad," www.france24.com, Aug. 17, 2012
PRO: "Today marks the launch of the International Year of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. This will be a critical year for achieving the two-State solution, bringing an end to the occupation that started in 1967, and securing an independent, viable and sovereign State of Palestine living in peace and security with the State of Israel where each recognizes the other's legitimate rights.
I call on all members of the international community and, in particular, Israelis and Palestinians, to work together for justice and a durable peace. Israel and Palestine need to live up to their commitment to a negotiated two-State solution and resolve all permanent status issues, in accordance with Security Council resolutions, the Madrid principles, the Road Map, the 2002 Arab Peace initiative and existing agreements between the parties."
-- Ban Ki-Moon, MPA
Secretary General of the United Nations
"Secretary-General on Launch of International Year of Solidarity with Palestinian People, Calls on Israel, Palestine to Honour Commitment to Two-State Solution," www.un.org, Jan. 16, 2014
CON: "I see it [the one-state solution] as a bold and courageous experiment in living together that is the only alternative to the perpetuation, indefinitely, of the current ordeal that has afflicted the Palestinian people and in a sense robs the Jewish residents of Israel of dignity and respect in the world as a whole… so long as there are these two separate states, or two distinct entities, or a single Israeli apartheid state, there will be hostility and enmity throughout the region. So if we want regional peace as well as peace for the two peoples, the one-state solution seems to me to be the only way to go."
-- Richard Falk, SJD
Former United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in the Palestinian Territories
"Dr. Richard Falk Endorses One State in Israel-Palestine," countercurrents.org, Nov. 1, 2010
PRO: "We reiterate the urgent need for a two-state solution between Israelis and Palestinians…
I continue to believe that a two-state solution is absolutely vital for not only peace between Israelis and Palestinians, but for the long-term security of Israel as a democratic and Jewish state…
And I know that a government has been formed that contains some folks who don't necessarily believe in that premise. But that continues to be my premise…
That prospect seems distant now. But I think it's always important for us to keep in mind what’s right and what’s possible."
-- Barack Obama, JD
44th President of the United States
"Remarks by President Obama in Press Conference after GCC Summit," www.whitehouse.gov, May 14, 2015
CON: "I realize that for the past several years there has been both on the Democratic and Republican side the notion that we will be able to achieve Middle East peace by something called the two-state solution. I wanna be on record, and I know that this would not even be agreeable to some of you, because there are many Republicans who think that the two-state solution is in fact a solution. I consider it no solution whatsoever. There cannot be two states polling for the same piece of real estate especially when one of those states does not believe the other one even has a right to exist much less exist peacefully.
[Y]ou can't have two governments wanting to own the same piece of real estate, so why don't we leave it in the hands of the government to whom it was originally given and why don't we leave it into the hands of those who will protect not only the antiquities but respect the religions, not only of the Jews, but also of the Muslims, and of the Christians."
-- Mike Huckabee
Former Arkansas Governor and US Presidential Candidate
"Presidential Candidate Mike Huckabee at the Republican Jewish Coalition Presidential Forum," www.c-span.org, Dec. 3, 2015
PRO: "The two-state solution is still practically feasible - if only the political leadership could deliver it… The two-state solution is not dead yet, but it will be if people cease looking for creative and realistic solutions to the roadblocks, such as the huge task of moving out the settlers who would not be within the new Israeli borders. Just as it is unhelpful to harbor 'cozy illusions' about the feasibility of the two-state solution, it is equally unhelpful to make alarmist proclamations about its death rather than trying to substantively and constructively engage with the challenges in its way."
-- Zvika Krieger
Senior Advisor, US State Department
"How to Evacuate 100,000 Israelis from the West Bank," The Atlantic, Apr.12, 2012
CON: "Get over it, folks. Not happening. The time for a two-state solution passed in the previous millennium... It's highly unlikely Israel will uproot its settlers, especially considering the strength of support they can summon in election after election.
Not to mention, I do not believe Palestinians would accept the kind of state that's condescendingly offered to them in any such conversation about two-state 'solutions'. Any Palestinian state would have to be demilitarized, and who, really, would accept that…
We've left the two-state solution long behind. God forbid we leave the one-state behind, too."
-- Haroon Moghul, MA
Fellow at the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding (ISPU)
"A One-State Solution for Israel and Why It Will Work," Religion Dispatches, Mar. 24, 2015
PRO: "Apartheid is a word that is an accurate description of what has been going on in the West Bank, and it's based on the desire or avarice of a minority of Israelis for Palestinian land... [Apartheid] is a word that's a very accurate description of the forced separation within the West Bank of Israelis from Palestinians and the total domination and oppression of Palestinians by the dominant Israeli military…
Withdrawal to the 1967 border as specified in U.N. Resolution 242 and as promised in the Camp David Accords and the Oslo Agreement and prescribed in the Roadmap of the International Quartet. This is the most attractive option and the only one that can ultimately be acceptable as a basis for peace."
-- Jimmy Carter
39th President of the United States
"Jimmy Carter Defends 'Peace Not Apartheid'," npr.org, Jan. 25, 2007
CON: "A one-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is upon us. It won't arrive by Naftali Bennett's proposal to annex the West Bank's Area C, or through the efforts of BDS campaigners and Jewish Voice for Peace to alter the Jewish state. But it will happen, sooner rather than later, as the states on Israel's borders disintegrate and other regional players annex whatever they can. As that happens, Israeli sovereignty in Judea and Samaria is becoming inevitable…
The so-called apartheid issue is a canard. Israeli Arabs lived under martial law between the end of the War of Independence in 1949 and 1966, and no one spoke of apartheid. Israel’s most pressing problem in the near future may be Arab refugees trying to get in."
-- David P. Goldman
Senior Fellow at the London Center for Policy Research "Between the Settlers and the Unsettlers, the One-State Solution Is on our Doorstep," Tablet Mag, July 14, 2014
PRO: "In truth, what Israel built was a security barrier, movable upon the cessation of terrorism, an integral part of achieving an everlasting peace between Israel and the Palestinians... What Israel built was not a border, but a barrier against death and destruction. What Israel built was protection, not apartheid…
Until the Palestinians choose to live side by side in peace and security with Israel as its neighbor, the fence will continue as an important part of meeting that duty. For not only during the past ten years, but for decades, Israel has weathered the bigoted misrepresentation of her true intentions to attain peace through security and the constant attempt to blame her for acts not done."
-- Richard D. Heideman, JD
Honorary President of B'nai B'rith International
"Wrongful Accusations of Apartheid," available fromwww.israelnationalnews.com, Dec. 12, 2013
CON: "Rather than create the outlines of a two-state solution, this wall will kill that idea for Palestinians and drive them, over time, to demand instead a one-state solution - where they and the Jews would have equal rights in one state...
As Palestinians find themselves isolated in pockets next to Jewish settlers - who have the rule of law, the right to vote, welfare, jobs, etc. - and as hope for a contiguous Palestinian state fades, it's inevitable that many of them will throw in the towel and ask for the right to vote in Israel…
I have enormous sympathy for Israelis trying to deter suicide bombers. But to build a fence without a border, and without facing up to the contradiction of having Jews on both sides of it, will only bring more troubles."
-- Thomas L. Friedman, MPhil
Pulitzer Prize-winning Columnist for the New York Times
"Israel's Wall Might Bring About a One-State Solution," Baltimore Sun, Sep. 16, 2003
PRO: "[T]he two-state vision must become real in which the State of Israel will live alongside the State of Palestine on the 1967 borders in security and stability. The second most important section is that East Jerusalem be the capital of the Palestinian state. Jerusalem will remain open to all religions with arrangements between the two parties."
-- Mahmoud Abbas, Csc.
President of the Palestinian Authority
Gilead Sher, "Abbas Lays Out His Two-State Vision in Video Address to Israeli Security Conference," Mondoweiss.net, Jan. 2014
CON: "Jerusalem stands, in a secular binational state, as the capital of all, with equal and free access to its venues. The capital, just like the rest of the Holy Land, must be protected and governed under secular laws that protect the civil and juridical rights of its people.
This humanistic alternative that [Edward] Said and many other scholars from both sides argue for is the alternative to further outrageous colonial partition and/or continuous war."
-- Ibrahim Halawi, MSc
Freelance Columnist for the Middle East Eye
"In Memory of Edward Said: The One-State Solution," Middle East Eye, Oct. 16, 2014
PRO: "In addition to being illegal, Israeli settlements in the oPt [Occupied Palestinian Territories] pose the single greatest threat to a two-state solution, and hence, to a just and lasting peace. Settlements, their infrastructure and associated areas of Israeli control grossly reduce the amount and quality of land remaining for our future state and severely undermine its territorial integrity. Under the 'land for peace' formula contained in UN Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338 and upon which the peace process is based, Israel is to withdraw from the territories it occupied in 1967 in exchange for full peace and recognition from its neighbors."
CON: "It is in Israel's acute national interest to prevent the West Bank from serving as a terrorist base...
While there are other moral and historic arguments why Israel and Jews have the right to live in the West Bank, the only REAL purpose of 'settlements' is to prevent the emergence of any 'Palestinian state.' No other rationalization or justification is needed."
-- Steven Plaut, PhD
Associate Professor of Business Administration at the University of Haifa (Israel)
"Israeli Settlements: Not Just Legal, But Necessary," Frontpage Mag, July 11, 2012