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Posted by Nicole Cordaro on Mar 31, 2017 2:20:00 PM

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Compromise between Israel and Palestine is unlikely in the status quo, but it does not have to be.

In light of historical precedent, intractable beliefs, and fractured authority in Palestine, a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is likely not feasible in the near future. Since the conception of the modern state of Israel in 1948, both Israel and Palestine have been perpetrating ongoing violence.1 The Palestinian people have been unable to attain a two-state solution due to several key facts, thereby necessitating a fresh perspective on the conflict.


Historically, Palestine has not agreed to a peaceable solution to their ongoing conflict with Israel. There have been five official offers to establish an Arab Palestinian state side-by-side with the Jewish Israeli state. In 1993, Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization signed the Oslo Accords – a peace treaty that would ultimately lead to Palestinian self-determination. In the deal, Israel granted the new Palestinian Authority governance over 98% of the disputed territories and Gaza. Palestine ultimately rejected this proposal, and launched the Second Intifada against Israel which lasted from 2000 to 2005. Hamas took over and began firing rockets at Israel in 2007, only two years after Israel withdrew from Gaza entirely and gave control to the Palestinian Authority.2


The intractable belief system held by Palestinians makes compromise unlikely. In December 2016, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas stated that he “will not recognize a Jewish state” in his address to the Fatah Congress.3 Abbas has not indicated who will succeed him. In January 2014, he succinctly explained both sides of the conflict when he stated, “The Palestinians won’t recognize the Jewishness of the State of Israel and won’t accept it. The Israelis say that if we don’t recognize the Jewishness of Israel there would be no solution.”4 Recognizing Israel as a “Jewish state” would mean forfeiting Palestinian right of return as protected by the United Nations General Assembly Resolution 194.5 In fact, even Palestinians who have accepted a two-state solution are unwilling to recognize a Jewish link to the land.6 The Palestinian Authority itself has claimed their right to the entire land. Additionally, a 2016 poll of the Palestinian people living in the West Bank and Gaza indicates that 67% would not recognize the state of Israel even if doing so would lead to peace.7


The fractured authority within the Palestinian political system makes compromise more complicated. Palestine is split into two separate territories governed by two separate entities. The West Bank is on the east side of Israel bordering Jordan, and the Gaza strip is on the southwest side of Israel bordering Egypt.8 The Palestinian Authority, a helplessly corrupt government that is largely impotent without outside support, governs the West Bank. Hamas, an Islamic terror enclave, controls the Gaza Strip.9 Negotiations toward peace must take into account two Palestinian authorities, not just one.


In seeking a compromise, a coalition of moderate Arab states should be involved to establish interim goals on the road to an eventual two-state solution. Ideological changes take time, but a series of achievable goals could make compromise more likely in the future. Before further negotiations can occur, mutual allies of both Israel and Palestine must bring stability to the Gaza Strip. Force would likely be necessary, but Israeli force would only serve to bring more animosity. A joint Palestinian Authority/Arab force would likely be most effective and would establish a partnership for further negotiations toward peace with Israel. To demonstrate good will, Palestine should also work to enact and enforce legal changes that would ensure safety to Israeli citizens living within Palestine’s borders. Such legal changes could model Israeli protections of Arab Palestinians living within Israel’s borders. Finally, Palestine should work to maintain safe and peaceful borders to alleviate Israeli security concerns over an official Palestinian state. ■


  1. “The Arab-Israeli War of 1948.” United States Department of State.
  2. Ziva Dahl. “No Deal for a Two-State Solution.” The Washington Times. February 20, 2017.
  3. “In Reelection Address, Abbas Refuses to Recognize Israel as Jewish State.” The Tower. December 1, 2016.
  4. Khaled Abu Toameh. “Palestinians: We Will Not Accept a Jewish Israel.” Gatestone Institute. April 15, 2016.
  5. “Palestinian Unity Government Will Recognize Israel: Abbas.” Aljazeera America. April 26, 2014.
  6. Khaled Abu Toameh. “Palestinians: We Will Not Accept a Jewish Israel.” Gatestone Institute. April 15, 2016.
  7. Ziva Dahl. “No Deal for a Two-State Solution.” The Washington Times. February 20, 2017.
  8. “Palestinian Territories.” United States Department of State.
  9. Yoaz Hendel. “The Israeli-Palestinian Peace Process is Dead, but There is a Solution.” The Guardian. April 10, 2014.

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Spring  2017

Volume 20, Issue 3

31 March