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The two-state solution

Palestine-Israel conflict has been a major cause of tension in Middle East. The conflict began with establishment of the state of Israel following a bloody war that led to forced exodus of over a half million Palestinian Arabs to flee the area. Palestinians remember 1948 war as “al-Nakba”, the Catastrophe. Up to 750,000 Palestinians are said to have either fled or forced out of their native land that later on became Israel. The Palestinian migrants who are still languishing in and outside the refugee camps in neighbouring Arab countries were never allowed to return back despite the fact that the Resolution 194 of the United Nations defined the principles of settlement of issue and return of the refugees. However, six-day long war in 1967 added yet another dimension to the conflict. On one hand the war was a big setback to Arab nations while on the other it inflicted fresh wounds to Palestinians as more people were expelled, fled or were killed by Israeli armed forces during the week long war. Israel captured the Gaza Strip and the Sinai desert from Egypt; the Golan Heights from Syria; and the West Bank and East Jerusalem, from Jordan. However Israel withdrew from Sihai in 1982 and Gaza in 2005. Since Israel emerged as an occupier and this occupation created a culture of violence that resulted in widespread death and destruction of indigenous people of Palestine. The state Israel went on its policy to kill Palestinian people besides building settlements for Jews in defiance of international law. From 1967 to 1989 the UN Security Council adopted 131 resolutions directly to address the Arab–Israeli conflict, with many concerning the Palestinians; Right from 1948 to this date many attempts were made to resolve the Conflict. Following the Camp David agreement, the much trumpeted Oslo Accords, which were signed in 1993, to bring peace to the region also failed because Israel never honoured the Oslo Peace Accord.

Although the Israeli expansionist policies are largely seen as a major hurdle in resolving the decades’ old conflict in the region but the fact remains that there have been many diplomatic efforts to settle the dispute on the basis two-state solution, but US President Donald Trump’s announcement on December 6 last year to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel was seen as the final nail in the coffin for the two-state solution. In an interview with the US-based The Atlantic magazine, the 32 year old heir to the Saudi throne declared: “I believe that each people, anywhere, has a right to live in their peaceful nation.” He said, “I believe the Palestinians and the Israelis have the right to have their own land. But we have to have a peace agreement to assure the stability for everyone and to have normal relations.”

Now that the Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman has hinted about the two-state solution as a possible way forward, it is yet to be seen as what could be the modus operandi to address the contentious issues surrounding to it as both Israel and Palestine have been claiming Jerusalem as their capital city. The dispute over Jerusalem is seen as one of the most intractable issues in the Israel–Palestine conflict. Under the given circumstances the two-state solution is considered as the only feasible solution to end the ongoing tensions in the region. No doubt that there are many takers of this the two-state solution, which envisages an independent State of Palestine alongside the State of Israel but given the extreme religious sensitivities surrounding to the holy city of Jerusalem it would be an uphill task for the proponents to translate this idea into reality. Since the people of Palestine had suffered terribly over the past several decades at the hands of Israeli occupation it is time that world powers without any prejudice and partiality should lend their full support to the efforts aimed at finding a just and equitable solution to this long drawn Palestine-Israel conflict.

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