‘Time to consider alternatives to Israeli-Palestinian two-state solution'

A masked Palestinian protester hurls back a tear gas canister fired by Israeli troops during clashes in the West Bank city of Hebron October 18, 2015. © Mussa Qawasma
It’s unrealistic to claim a two-state solution is the only way for achieving peace between the Israelis and Palestinians when such an approach hasn’t worked for more than 60 years, Curtis Doebbler, an international human rights lawyer, told RT.

Violence flared up again between Israelis and Palestinians over the weekend across Israel, the West Bank and Gaza, with stabbings becoming particularly common amid fears of a new Palestinian uprising.

Some observers fear the hope for a two-state solution is now beyond reach, and the Israelis and Palestinians must now resign themselves to finding a way to live in peace – together in the same state.

RT:  There seems to be strong international agreement on how to deal with the crisis, which involves unilaterally pushing for a two-state solution. Is that what it needs, or is there another way?

Curtis Doebbler: Well the other way, obviously, is a one-state solution where Palestinians and Israelis live together in a state where they share responsibilities. Netanyahu’s reference to the ‘status-quo’ is an illegal occupation for more than 60 years. It has been imposed on the Palestinian people in clear violation of international law, which has been stated repeatedly by the United Nations General Assembly and even by the International Court of Justice. So I think it’s not an adequate claim to say the two-state solution is the only one when it hasn’t worked for more than 60 years.

RT:  The Palestinian UN envoy also asked for international observers to come to the region - mainly to the disputed Temple Mount site. This has been rejected by Israel. Why is it so reluctant to let international observers in?

CD: We saw the same thing with Gaza. They are very reluctant to cooperate with the international community because if you are violating international law you don’t want others to see it; you don’t want others to report on what you’re doing. I think that’s quite unfortunate. They should allow observers in, but I think the consequence of that is there will be much more pressure on Israel to respect international law.

READ MORE: Escalating Israeli-Palestinian violence Live updates

RT:  What about the more-pressing dilemma of the daily violence that's increasing - who should be moving to stem that?

CD: I don’t think it’s a matter of ignoring the long-term solution because I think that’s part of it. The frustration of a child, essentially stabbing at a guard who is searching them - that is an indication of immense frustration from the population. If you deny a peoples’ basic fundamental human rights for such a long period of time you are going to get this type of frustration. Of course any type of violence, anywhere in the world, is unfortunate, but the best ways for states to avoid violence is to respect international law.

RT:  Why aren't the key global backers of either side weighing in with pressure to stop the attacks and killings?

CD: You have to remember, in 1948, when what we know as the State of Israel was created, almost the whole Arab world voted against that. They said: 'You should give the Palestinian people, as international law requires, the opportunity to decide on self-determination.' We created an illegal situation in 1948 and now we have to deal with the consequences of it.

If we allow demographics, if we allow the real status quo to continue, what it will mean is that we will have essentially one state because Palestine, although now recognized as an observer to the United Nations, isn’t a functioning state. We’ll have one state in the Middle East and we’ll have either an apartheid governance of it, or we’ll have to share governance. So I think it’s time probably that we think of alternatives to the two-state solution… because it has not worked yet and we don’t seem very close to it. We need to think about how all these people will together in peace in that region.

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The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.