Israelis Unwilling to Risk Two-State Solution; Palestinians Only Interested in Variant That Israelis Cannot Accept
Feb 10, 2021
For decades, the two-state solution has dominated efforts to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. However, as a result of political and structural developments, that solution might no longer be feasible. RAND researchers used a novel focus group approach to assess which, if any, of five possible alternative futures in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict would be supported by Israelis and Palestinians.
For decades, the two-state solution has dominated efforts to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Growing doubts about the viability of the two-state solution raise the question of which, if any, possible alternatives could succeed, if appropriately supported by the international community.
RAND researchers conducted 33 focus groups in the region to gather qualitative and quantitative data on the viability of five alternatives: the status quo, the two-state solution, a confederation, annexation, and a one-state solution. The focus groups, conducted in July 2018 and May 2019, collected detailed opinions of more than 270 individuals, including West Bank Palestinians, Gazan Palestinians, Israeli Jews, and Israeli Arabs. These data provide a novel means of investigating whether there are any areas of overlap between Palestinians and Israelis that might form the basis for renewed dialogue.
None of the alternatives was acceptable to a majority of both Israelis and Palestinians. The two-state solution was the most politically viable alternative, although all four populations voiced skepticism toward it. The status quo was preferred by Israeli Jews but strongly disliked by Palestinians. West Bank Palestinians' preferred alternative was the two-state solution, while Gazans ranked a one-state solution slightly above the two-state solution. The data highlight the deep distrust and profound animosity of each side for the other. It is hard to imagine a departure from present trends and where they might lead unless and until strong, courageous leadership among Israelis, Palestinians, and the international community articulates a desire for a better future for all.
The Five Alternatives
Israeli Jewish Qualitative Analysis
Palestinian Qualitative Analysis
Israeli Arab Qualitative Analysis
Details of the Five Alternatives Presented to the Focus Groups