From the 1980s to the early 2000s, most observers and most moderate Israeli and Palestinian politicians saw the Two-State Solution, the idea of creating a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, with East Jerusalem as its capital, as the basis for a settlement of the conflict that would satisfy the minimum requirements of both Zionism and Palestinian nationalism. But now, more than half a million Israeli settlers live in the West Bank, and Israel has transformed itself from a liberal social democrat to a polity dominated by ultranationalism, populism and religious fundamentalism. The reality that one (only very partial democratic) state exists from the River to the Sea has become more and more important as a guide for thinking about the present and future of Palestinians and Israelis. Crucial here is the difference between a “one-state reality,” which is what we have, and a “one-state solution,” which is as inaccessible as the two state solution.
Dr. Ian Lustick holds the Bess W. Heyman Chair Emeritus in the Political Science Department of the University of Pennsylvania. He teaches Middle Eastern politics, comparative politics, and computer modeling. He is a recipient of awards from the Carnegie Corporation, the National Science Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Social Sciences Research Council. Among his books are Arabs in the Jewish State (1980); For the Land and the Lord (1988, 1994); Unsettled States, Disputed Lands (1993); and Trapped in the War on Terror (2006). His most recent book, Paradigm Lost (2019), has just been translated into Hebrew.