What kind of state would Palestine be? A Jordan, or an ISIL-dominated Syria?


National Post, 22 February 2017

Obama pushed valiantly for a new Arab state in Palestine while all around existing Arab states were failing or being dismembered. The premise of Palestinian statehood is that it would lead to peace; the reality depends entirely upon what kind of state it would be.

What might a Palestinian state look like? Would it look like Jordan or Egypt? Or like Syria, Iraq, Libya or Yemen? Or Lebanon? Or like Gaza? Those questions are prompting a re-examination of whether a Palestinian state is still the consensus goal it has been for more than two decades.

Last week I reported, on the eve of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s visit to Washington, about the erosion of the longstanding consensus here in favour of the “two-state solution” to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The subsequent comments by President Donald Trump that he would support whatever the parties agreed — one-state or two-state — abandoned America’s 20-year policy of favouring a two-state solution. That solution might have already been abandoned by an accelerating history.

This week Netanyahu is in Australia — the first ever visit of an Israeli prime minister to that longstanding ally — where ahead of his visit the Aussies reiterated their preference for a two-state solution, but also remained open to other options if the parties agreed. Alarmed by this development, two former Labour prime ministers called for Australia to recognize a Palestinian state immediately, hoping to cement the two-state solution as Australian policy. 

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