The thought that is pervading in Israeli and American politics right now, to initiate a new round of peace talks with the Palestinians – is misguided. I am not calling it misguided because of the idea of a Palestinian state, but the unlikelihood that that state would succeed, thus spiraling the situation back to its founding problems and force a peace process to start from scratch.
There is no stable infrastructure, it is prudent and corrupt. There are no resources for the current state and barely any industry. There is no development going on in the country and it has little foundation to begin forming it right now. Worst of all, the territories are on the verge of civil war.
Neither dominant faction commands the legitimacy across the Palestinian population to negotiate a peace and neither has enough loyalty to ensure it succeeds. Kicking the Israelis out of the West Bank will not bring peace, only a new version of the conflictive status quo.
Forcing Palestinian independence right now negates the viability of a deal between Israel and moderate forces like Fatah is weak because of the mass opposition Hamas poses to it. Additionally, it reduces the significance and importance of Israel’s security needs, assuring that the Israelis will not be able to accept any major agreement in the near future.
These are facts that have to be accepted by the international community, which needs to alter its approach and get away from ambitious short-term goals like rushed peace deals. They are short-term because they will not hold and will only be used for short-term political gain by the negotiators, when in fact the multitude of similar interests between Israelis and Palestinians cannot possibly be resolved within the next couple of years.
Allowing a ship to leave port for the first time which has no life rafts, no starboard and no hull will inevitably sink with few survivors, making policymakers pray that it breaks down in warm water so all its occupants do not freeze to death waiting to be rescued. If the captain and the first make cannot agree on the course of the ship, the analogy breaks down when both take their own wheel and steer it in opposite directions, breaking the ship in two. This is your civil war. No state in its infancy could possibly survive on its own while its two most powerful factions are fighting each other.
Ideas for sustainable development are being passed around but few of their details have been implemented. Plus, the factors of international and civil war make for ridiculous conditions for a forced peace. Getting the Israelis to withdraw during what can easily be argued to be an international war, plus assuring an unchallenged authority can rule the Palestinian territories without the worry of rebellion or secession, are unlikely and most certainly impossible at this stage.
Policymakers and international diplomats have to accept a reform of the status quo prior to final status negotiations and the establishment of a Palestinian state. The Israeli occupation of the West Bank is defensive in nature, so observers and participants in the conflict have to realize neither an imperial nor reconstructionary occupation exists there. In order to stabilize the region and give incentive to the Israeli government and military to withdraw, a reform of the nature of Israel’s presence there geared into infrastructure development, economic reconstruction and nation-building have to be implemented.
The occupation of West Germany after World War II was driven by the need to stabilize and problematic region for the country’s occupiers, and thus geared toward the country’s economic reconstruction. For a region which has not had an official status in nearly 60 years, not undertaking this would demonstrate the misguided and political motivations for a hurried and reckless peace process which has only morphed the ways the factions fight, rather than morphed the status quo from war to peace.
This is what has to be considered to have a realistic way to a sustainable two-state solution. Without these concerns for economic reconstruction and heating civil war in the Palestinian territories, any peace efforts aimed at a two-state solution will crumble.