And Joe Biden needs to pick up where Bill Clinton left off.
On Dec. 23, 2000, President Clinton presented a basket of ideas called the “Clinton parameters,” detailing how to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. They are based on the principle of two nation-states for two peoples. Sadly, Clinton did not get to see the job finished, and added at the time, “I have taken this as far as I can.”
Your job now, Joe, is to carry those ideas forward to forge two states for two peoples in one land. This is your time to make bold moves that will signal to Israelis and Palestinians, to the Middle East and the world: America is serious about seeing through the two-state solution. Since Netanyahu won’t negotiate a Palestinian state, you can recognize the Palestinian Authority as a state unilaterally.
As the Israeli peace process veteran Gidi Grinstein, co-author of “(In)Sights: Peace Making in the Oslo Process Thirty Years and Counting,” just wrote in The Times of Israel: “Upgrading the P.A. into a state could turn the breakdown of Israeli-Palestinian relations into a breakthrough toward peaceful coexistence.”
So let me end where I began: I totally get why Israelis, who every day are taking fire from Hamas, Hezbollah and the Houthis, do not want to discuss a two-state solution with the Palestinians right now. But envisaging such a future, if it can be done right, is not a reward for what Hamas did on Oct. 7. It’s a way — maybe the only — to sustainably ensure that it never happens again.
And with Gaza engulfed by conflict and the West Bank boiling, I realize it’s not as if Palestinians can call a constitutional convention. But to the extent that the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah can undertake reforms that visibly enhance its effectiveness and credibility as a peace partner, the payoff could be enormous. Once the guns fall silent in Gaza, we may be looking at the best opportunity for a two-state solution since the collapse of Oslo.
It also might be the last.
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