“For the post-war period between Israel and Palestine, there is no other realistic horizon than that of the two-state formula”

VScreate a Palestinian state alongside Israel? Everyone talks about it, few believe it. In the din of the Gaza war, the so-called “two-state” solution resurfaced in force, particularly in Washington. It would be the panacea to emerge from this constantly recurring tragedy that is the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Coming back to the sharing (even very unequal) of the land that two peoples are disputing: although it is often acclaimed, the formula also arouses strong skepticism.

There are those who do not want it, among the protagonists themselves, and those who condemn it in the name of “realism” – unfeasible, too late, not serious. And, yet, argue some who are not armchair utopians, now would be the time or never to begin to impose a solution whose apparent idealism masks the true nature: it is the only one that sticks to the deep reality of this conflict .

There is no shortage of arguments to support a “but you are dreaming” delivered in a slightly distressed tone. For more than fifteen years, Israeli voters have brought to power majorities radically opposed to the slightest territorial concession. Settlements in the Palestinian territories have multiplied. Israeli settlements – 500,000 people in the West Bank, more than 200,000 in the eastern part of Jerusalem – are ruining the Palestinian country. They prohibit any territorial continuity, torpedoing the very possibility of establishing the outline of a State there.

The risk of “Somalization”

The Palestinian national movement is divided. In the West Bank, Fatah, which has largely discredited itself at the head of the Palestinian Authority, remains a supporter of “two states”. In Gaza, benefiting from a renewed popularity in Arab opinion after the attack on October 7, the Islamists of Hamas cultivate the ambition of “eradicating” Israel. Finally, it is still said, this “black autumn” – the horror of October 7, then the horror of the bombings on Gaza – will, on both sides, produce hatred for a generation.

But now, thinking about the post-war period already means asking for a two-state solution. Who to rebuild Gaza? Who to deal with a humanitarian tragedy of this proportion? It can be neither Israel nor what remains of Hamas. Unless there is a risk of a gradual “Somalization” of Gaza, it will be necessary, in one form or another, an administration under an international mandate. No one will rush to take responsibility in the wake of the Israeli operation. No one – not Arab countries any more than European countries, the United States, a reinvigorated Palestinian Authority or the UN – will go to coal without the guarantee of a prospect of a political settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

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