Palestine and Israel: One state, or two?

In this UpFront special marking 50 years of occupation, we debate what the future holds for Israelis and Palestinians.

For Palestinians, June 5, 2017, marks the anniversary of the “Six-Day War” – also called “Naksa” – and 50 years of Israeli occupation, as a peace deal remains elusive.

While some continue to argue that a two-state solution is the only way for Palestinians and Israelis to live in peace, others are increasingly beginning to question whether two independent states are even possible.

So, which is more realistic: A single state where Palestinians and Israelis live together, or two independent states?

To debate this in this UpFront special, we’re joined from Tel Aviv by Gideon Levy, an Israeli journalist and author who believes there is no longer a viable solution for an independent Palestinian state.

“We have to face reality, the two-state solution is a train that unfortunately left the station, and instead of standing in the station and waiting for it to come back, we should change the discourse,” says Levy, who is also a columnist for Haaretz. “The agreement over a two-state solution is a hollow one.”

From Ramallah, former Palestinian negotiator and member of the PLO Executive Committee Hanan Ashrawi holds out hope for a two-state deal.

“It’s a flawed solution, but at the same time, it’s a solution that the Palestinians have agreed to,” says Ashrawi. “Israel is systematically destroying the two-state solution, yes…but if it succeeds in doing it, what is to replace it? That is the real issue.”

Joining us in the studio, Lara Friedman, the president of the Foundation for Middle East Peace, has called the one-state solution a fantasy.

“[The two-state solution] is not an ideal solution for anyone, it’s not a perfect solution…we see it as the only pragmatic option,” says Friedman. “This is the only reality of how the conflict, as I see it, can end.”

Also in the studio, Yousef Munayyer, a Palestinian-American writer and political analyst who believes the two-state solution is dead.

“What we have today…is a one state problem, not a two-state problem,” says Munayyer, who is also the executive director of the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights. “We have one state where the conflict that exists, exists because there is a fundamental denial of basic rights to the Palestinian people.

“You end the denials of Palestinian human rights; you will not have the grievances of the Palestinian people and this conflict.”

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