Israel & Palestine: Can They Start Over?

Hussein Agha and Robert Malley in the New York Review of Books:

ScreenHunter_02 Nov. 27 13.00 What is the matter with the two-state solution? To this day, it remains the only outcome that appears attuned to reality; the only one that enjoys broad support. Its rough outlines no longer constitute much of a mystery. Yet all this does not so much answer the question as it reframes it: What basic ingredients have been missing from the conventional two-state concept? Why, so widely embraced in the abstract, has it been so stubbornly rejected in practice?

The problem with the two-state idea as it has been construed is that it does not truly address what it purports to resolve. It promises to close a conflict that began in 1948, perhaps earlier, yet virtually everything it worries about sprang from the 1967 war. Ending Israel's occupation of Palestinian territories is essential and the conflict will persist until this is addressed. But its roots are far deeper: for Israelis, Palestinian denial of the Jewish state's legitimacy; for Palestinians, Israel's responsibility for their large-scale dispossession and dispersal that came with the state's birth.

If the objective is to end the conflict and settle all claims, these matters will need to be dealt with. They reach back to the two peoples' most visceral and deep-seated emotions, their longings and anger. For years, the focus has been on fine-tuning percentages of territorial withdrawals, ratios of territorial swaps, and definitions of Jerusalem's borders. The devil, it turns out, is not in the details. It is in the broader picture.

More here.