Since 1947 the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has been a steady topic of debate amongst world diplomats. In particular, this conflict has been a common concern among the Arab League, consisting of 22 members, as a result of territorial lands involved in the dispute.
Neighbouring Arab countries have insisted on adopting a two-state solution to resolve the conflict since its first introduction in 1937. This two-state solution encompasses two separate states, the State of Israel and the State of Palestine. However, this solution is currently explicably rejected by Israel due to the plans’ recognition of an independent State of Palestine and subsequent land ownership. Over the course of the past two decades, there have been numerous diplomatic efforts to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict however, all have since failed to reach a consensus between the two parties.
The United Nations (UN), a supporter of the two-state approach and the withdrawal of Israel in the occupied territories, has been vocal with its stance on the conflict. The UN passed Resolution 242 in 1974 recognising Palestine’s 'right to self-determination without external interference', 'the right to national independence and sovereignty', and the 'right to return to their homes and property'. Not only are 56 Member States in support of the two-state approach but also 72% of Palestinians and Israelis. However, even with such a Resolution, the likelihood of a two-state solution is deteriorating. Many believe the two-state approach is merely a compromise made by the Palestinians and does not address the key grievances as a result of the 1967 Arab-Israeli war.
On 22 June 2019, Jared Kushner, the US President’s Senior Advisor, unveiled a new approach to solving the conflict by breaking with traditional US-policy of a two-state approach. In an economic white paper, which was presented at a US-led workshop in Bahrain, Kushner instead proposed economic aid of $50 billion in support of Palestine. This economic plan aims to boost the Palestinian economy and neighbouring countries, including Egypt, Jordan and Lebanon. Taking place on 25-26 June 2019, the workshop was boycotted by the Palestinian leadership altogether. The legitimacy and efficacy of these talks has since been called into question by other Arab nations.
The US’ economic peace plan disembarks from a recognised consensus on the best approach to ending this half a century long conflict -that is a two-state solution. In practice, this new peace plan would fund jobs and infrastructure for Palestinians looking to work and live in the occupied territories and its neighbouring countries. The issue with a solely economic approach to this conflict is that it does not recognise the political nature and address the grievances held between Israel and Palestine. There is no recognition of “occupation”, “freedom”, “equality” or “blockade” mentioned throughout the 40-page peace plan document. As a result, this approach, much like many others, fails to address the core motives of Palestine, being to reclaim their homelands.
A common theme amongst the decades of UN Resolutions, diplomatic meetings and wars, is that neither the Israelis nor the Palestinians are willing to part with religious parcels of land and be cornered into compromising on strategic ownership. Essentially, the reason why both the two-state solution and other diplomatic efforts, including the most recent US peace plan have failed, results from a distrust and unimaginative leadership amongst both Palestinians and Israelis.
Because of the 1967 Arab-Israeli war, there remains long-standing mistrust between the parties. Without imaginative leadership or a common goal, this conflict will remain on foot until the root cause of the conflict is addressed. Governments around the world need to develop a plan, much like the two-state solution, which will address the displacement of millions of Palestinians resulting from Israel’s occupation of the Gaza Strip, West Bank and East Jerusalem. Building on the two-state solution, a plan moving forward should encompass a collaborative approach in determining nation-hood and land acquisitions in order to build trust and diplomatic relations between both Israel and Palestine.