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Despite the fact that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a protracted and intractable one, and probably because of that, many models for future options for resolution have been presented. Among these options, the "two states for two peoples" solution has gained the widest public support, both in Israel and Palestine, as well as internationally. This issue of the Palestine-Israel Journal will examine the viability of the two-state solution and present other possibilities that remain on the table, including: non-Palestinian state options such as annexation of territories by Israel; bilateral and trilateral options; the one-state option; and various international involvement options.
The options that exclude a Palestinian state include: the separation between the West Bank and Gaza; establishing "city-states" in the West Bank (Bantustans); a long-term autonomy; and a Palestinian state with provisional borders according to Phase II of the Road Map. A long-term ceasefire (hudna) suggested by Hamas and by some Israeli conflict management scholars is another proposal that falls short of resolving the conflict.
The annexation options include the annexation of the West Bank or part of it to Israel or to Jordan and bringing back the Egyptian administration of the Gaza Strip of 1948-1967.
Trilateral and bilateral options include a Palestinian-Israeli-Jordanian Benelux-type arrangement and an Israeli-Palestinian confederation - essentially two-state options involving federal models aimed at enabling greater stability - as well as a Jordanian-Palestinian confederation. Models for the one-state option include a bi-national state and a democratic state for all its citizens; the difference is in how they relate to issues of demography.
The options involving international control include: an international mandate in Palestine; an international interim administration preparing for sovereignty, e.g., the East Timor model; and various degrees of international presence for peacekeeping, civilian administration, policing, etc.
The "two states for two peoples" proposal remains the primary framework for resolving the conflict. It is being seriously contested due to the changing facts on the ground that call into question the viability of an independent Palestinian state on the territory that remains, dissected into islands by Israeli settlements and bypass roads. Palestinian negotiators in the past accepted the principle of territorial swaps to enable some of those settlement realities in areas adjacent to Israel to be included in Israel. However, with the continued expansion of settlements, the feasibility of a two-state solution based on Palestinian statehood within the 1967 borders, alongside the State of Israel, becomes more and more questionable.
The articles in this issue examine several of these options, in an attempt to clarify how to move beyond the current stagnation and progress towards peace.



Israel's separation barrier in Ramallah District, West Bank. (Photo by UNWRA)

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