The Israel-Palestine tension has turned into a violent confrontation leaving the international community worried. Israel has warned of escalating its attack on Palestine. India, at the UN Security Council, has called for peaceful resolution of Israel-Palestine batting for a two-state solution.
The two-state solution to the Israel-Palestine question has been in conversation for long. In 2016, the then US secretary of state John Kerry had termed it “the only way to achieve a just and lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians”.
What is the Two-State Solution?
In the simplest terms, the two-state solution talks about providing two separate territories to people of two nations — Israel and Palestine — having different ethnicities and languages. It talks of establishing an independent Palestinian alongside Israel providing Tel Aviv security and a Jewish demographic while granting Palestinians a state over their heads.
The goal has also been the official line of policy for the United States and the United Nations, the two most dominant forces around the conflict.
A bone of contention between Israel and Palestine has been the status of Jerusalem. (Reuters)
While the two-state solution is simple to understand, its execution has been equally difficult owing to issues arising at the unsettled borders. There is no consensus on where exactly to draw the line between the two countries.
Independent experts believe that a border should be drawn on the basis of the Arab-Israel war of 1967. But Israel has constructed barriers along and within the West Bank pushing its territorial limits farter. The Jewish settlements along these lines are a major challenge to demarcate a boundary as Palestine views that those settlements are on its territory.
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Another bone of contention between Israel and Palestine has been the status of Jerusalem, which both sides aim to declare as their capital. The two-state solution calls for dividing Jerusalem into an Israeli west and a Palestinian east part. However, the presence of Jewish, Muslim and Christian holy sites at one place makes it a difficult affair to execute.
The two-state solution if adopted could provide a security blanket to people of both Israel and Palestine. For Israel, it could mean an end to continuous worry of a full-blown takeover of the West Bank by Hamas, and for Palestine, it could end foreign military occupation.
Israel’s Iron Dome system destroying Hamas rockets in skies. (Photo: Reuters)
US policies and failure of Abraham Accords
The situation turned from bad to worse during Donald Trump’s presidency in the US. Trump supported Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s hardline policies severing the US’s ties with Palestine and moving away from the decade-old more nuanced diplomatic stand on the conflict.
Trump also allowed the expansion of Jewish settlements in the disputed areas. While President Joe Biden has termed Donald Trump’s policies as “destructive”, he is yet to reverse those policies.
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The Trump administration brokered Abraham Accords — a joint statement by Israel, the UAE, and the US issued in 2020, and which became a model for Israel inking similar deals with Arab countries.
Former US President Donald Trump with Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu. (Photo: Reuters)
The Abraham Accords aimed at recognising Israel as a country and to switch some of the age-old Palestinian supporters in the Arab world towards Tel Aviv. Israel managed to find recognition for its existence through the accords with United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Sudan, and Morocco. They have failed to draw Palestine to the negotiation table that was once a nuanced approach.
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Benjamin Netanyahu himself supported the two-state solution in 2009. However, over the years, his policies have become more hardline.
India’s position on Israel-Palestine dispute
India has deepened its ties with Israel in recent decades but it has supported a two-state solution for longer period while calling for an end to the violence. India’s Permanent Representative to the UN, Ambassador TS Tirumurti during a UN Security Council meeting on “the situation in the Middle East” on Sunday said, “The events of the last several days have resulted in a sharp deterioration of the security situation.”
In same #UNSC meeting, I added: 3/3
Old City of #Jerusalem houses Al Zawiyya Al Hindiyya – historic #Indian Hospice associated with #Sufi Saint Baba Farid
Immediately resume direct dialogue, create conducive conditions
support just #Palestinian cause & two-State solution
— PR/Amb T S Tirumurti (@ambtstirumurti) May 16, 2021
“Immediate de-escalation is the need of the hour, so as to arrest any further slide towards the brink. We urge both sides to show extreme restraint, desist from actions that exacerbate tensions, and refrain from attempts to unilaterally change the existing status quo, including in East Jerusalem and its neighbourhood,” Tirumurti said.
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Tirumurti said India condemned the indiscriminate rocket firings from Gaza targeting the civilian population in Israel. He said the retaliatory strikes into Gaza have caused immense suffering and resulted in deaths, including of women and children.
“Immediately resume direct dialogue, create conducive conditions, support just Palestinian cause and two-State solution,” Tirumurti said.