The issues remain much the same as they have for the decades-long, on-again off-again peace negotiations. The status of Jerusalem, Palestinian “right of return” (whether Palestinian refugees can return to their forbears’ land now in Israeli-held territory), Israeli settlements in the West Bank – all remain points of contention. What is different now is a mood that has settled over many of the parties involved and those watching from afar: a sense that the window of time in which a robust two-state solution was achievable may have closed.
One of the most striking aspects in the discussion is the mirror viewpoints of Palestinians and Israelis on the far left and right. Indeed, the similarity is uncanny. Spokespersons of both extremes argue that the two-state solution is nothing more than a carefully constructed illusion with no possibility of real-world application.
Dani Dayan, a leading advocate of right-wing Israeli settlers, contends that the concept has always been a farce. “The two-state formula never really existed,” he says. “Like a kind of diplomatic ‘Truman Show,’ it existed only in an imaginary world.” He condemns what he calls the “two-state industry,” which has “fed itself with optimistic narratives and crises to be defused in order to keep itself alive.” He says that “in the real world, it was a mirage, looking tempting from afar but revealed to be hot air when approached.”
In Mr. Dayan’s view, the best possible solution at the moment is to ”do the most beneficial things you can under this circumstance” – including “removal of checkpoints and a potential dismantling of the security fence, joint large-scale industrial projects, renovation of refugee camps.” This “will not mean peace,” he says. It will be “at most a peaceful non-reconciliation. It will not be the final status; it will be temporary until new options arise."