Photo Credit: Jodie Maoz

The two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has been in a perpetual cycle of being pronounced dead, resuscitated and dead again for longer than most people can remember. I even have students born years after the two-state solution was first suggested by world leaders. While the practicalities of the two-state solution can be endlessly debated, one thing is clear: Palestinians and Israelis no longer support the two-state solution. As the infamous joke goes, two Jews, three opinions, and it’s never truer than with explaining the flaws in the two-state solution gaining support among Palestinians and Israelis.

The biggest flaw in support for the two-state solution is that Israelis and Palestinians never bought into it from the start. Many Israelis and some Palestinians hoped it might succeed, but they didn’t think it would really happen. On both sides of the conflict, many thought – and still think – the entire land is our land, why should we give it up to foreigners?


Israelis maintain they won control of Judea and Samaria in 1967 in the Six-Day War after being attacked, and winners-winners, losers-loser. Palestinians consider the land stolen from them in 1967 and they deserve to have it returned to them. Israelis worry that if a Palestinian state were to be created, they would just attack Israel, and Palestinians worry that Israel would use every terrorist attack as a pretext to attack the fledging Palestinian state and close it off from the world like today’s Gaza.

Israelis and Palestinians also view the notion of “land for peace” as an inherently imbalanced proposition. Israelis contend there is no reason to give land to Palestinians in the hopes they’ll stop their terror attacks. They argue that Palestinians should want to stop terror on their own and if they don’t want to be peaceful on their own, those aren’t the people Israelis want to be partners with in the first place. Palestinians retort they have a right to resist, even violently, against Israeli civilians including women and children, and they shouldn’t have to stop to get land that is rightfully theirs.

A second loss of support for the two-state solution happened at the start of the second intifada in the early 2000’s. After the failed Camp David Summit, Yasser Arafat returned to Ramallah and quickly initiated the second intifada. It became clear to Israelis that Arafat had no interest in making peace with Israel. Arafat had engaged in bad faith negotiations with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and rejected all Israeli offers without a counter-offer. Later revelations made clear Arafat had ordered the intifada while still at Camp David. The Intifada had widespread support among all sectors of the Palestinian population and Israelis lost faith in their Palestinian neighbors’ capacity for peace. Palestinians saw the Israeli response to the intifada and realized Israel would always have the power to limit their movements. They too gave up on the two-state solution.

A third nail in the coffin for support for the two-state solution was Israel’s 2005 unilateral pullout from Gaza. Israelis were told the pullout would enhance their security. They had been told that given their own independence without Israeli interference and presence in their daily lives, Palestinians would stop their attacks on Israelis. Israelis watched as Palestinians quickly lost control of Gaza to Hamas. The Palestinian Authority showed it could not stop Hamas from attacking Israel or even attacking the Palestinian Authority itself. Israelis saw that as in Lebanon, an Israeli withdrawal from land would lead to a staging ground for Palestinian attacks on Israel. They worry the same Hamas takeover, attacks on Israelis, and rockets would happen from Judea and Samaria if Israel ever pulled out to create a Palestinian state.

Palestinians watched as Israel pulled its army, people and communities from Gaza and in their eyes did so in a way that set the Palestinian Authority up for failure, that Israel set the PA up for failure so that Israel could later claim the Palestinians could not manage their own land independently. They claim Israel has closed off its borders, occupying it from around. They worry if Israel ever pulled out of disputed territory it would create the same “open-air prison” in the new Palestinian state.

Lastly, the two-state solution has lost support among Israelis and Palestinians due to the failure of all peace negotiations. Israelis see the failed Camp David negotiations, the Annapolis Summit, and Abbas’s refusal to negotiate as signs the Palestinians aren’t serious about peace. Palestinians have seen Israelis negotiate and demand more negotiations, all the while continuing to build on land they consider their future state. They perceive Israelis as disingenuous about creating an independent Palestinian state.

Israelis and Palestinians hate being taken advantage of and being the losers in any deal. Israelis have a term for it – being a “frier.” The Israeli and Palestinian neuroses about being perceived as a frier isn’t something Americans or the western mind can understand. Both sides have been made to feel as fools time and time again. Israelis and Palestinians won’t allow it to happen again. They understand the two-state solution as an idea that will cause both sides to be a frier and have dropped all support of it. It’s time the world catches up and thinks of a better solution to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.


Previous article2021 Afghanistan is NOT 1975 Vietnam
Next articleTorah Shorts: Parshat Ki Tetze: Beware the Drawn-out Sale
Rabbi Uri Pilichowski is an educator who teaches in high schools across the world. He teaches Torah and Israel political advocacy to teenagers and college students. He lives with his wife and six children in Mitzpe Yericho, Israel. You can follow him on Facebook, and on twitter @rationalsettler.