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David C. Unger: The Inevitable Two-State Solution

The following article appears in the 25th anniversary issue of World Policy Journal. For the month of November, read the entire 25th anniversary issue, fall 2008, for free! By 2033, two states, Israel and Palestine, will be living side-by-side in an uneasy peace, with the risk of war between them and terrorism across their common border diminishing year by year. This two-state solution will not be imposed by the United States or the Arab world. It will be freely chosen by the Israelis and Palestinians themselves. The growing Palestinian majority living between the Mediterranean and the Jordan River will continue to insist on nothing less. And a solid majority of Israelis will by then have come to see a two-state partition of Palestine as essential to Israel’s survival as a tolerable place to live and raise their families. That is not the only outcome possible for 2033. But it is the most likely—and it is the most attractive one for Israelis, Palestinians and the outside world. Consider the alternatives. The safest prediction for anywhere is normally some version of present realities, projected forward. But there is nothing safe or normal about the existing situation in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. These territories are neither Israel nor Palestine, and their unfolding demographic arithmetic assures that they are not going to evolve into one or the other without very bold political decisions being taken by both sides. Continue reading...

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