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Window closing for a two-state solution in the Middle East

Some see a risky 'one-state solution' as the only remaining option in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

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Clashes continue: A Palestinian hurls a stone at Israeli troops during a demonstration in the West Bank last Friday.

nasser ishtayeh/ap

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Two states, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security.

When the "two-state solution" became the mantra of President Bush early in his presidency, it seemed no other option was plausible, despite the daunting obstacles.

Yet in recent months and, particularly, in the wake of Israel's electoral lurch to the right last Tuesday, a number of Israelis and Palestinians are warning that the two-state solution is in its death throes. Increasingly observers foresee a "one-state solution" imposing itself – something many moderates on both sides say would be disastrous and would mean instability in the region for decades to come.

"The window is rapidly closing on the two-state solution," says Mustafa Barghouti, a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council who ran second in the 2005 Palestinian presidential elections.

"The two-state solution is very near death," says Alon Pinkas, a former consul general of Israel in New York who is now president of the US-Israel Institute at the Yitzhak Rabin Center in Tel Aviv.

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