Times of Israel: It Has to be Two: New book says no alternative to two states for two peoples, by Alan Johnson


In his essay How to Talk to a Fanatic, Amos Oz wrote in praise of compromise. The fanatics on both sides of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict – the ‘walking exclamation marks’ as he called them – offer only more death, while compromise, in the form of the two state solution, offers life.

Despite all, the two state solution remains the grand compromise that solves the three things that must be solved if the conflict is ever to end.

First, it solves the Palestinians’ need for a state of their own in which to exercise their right to national self-determination as a people, the Palestinian people.

Second, it solves the Jewish people’s need for the same.

Third, it solves a dilemma: both peoples can only exercise their right to national self-determination by sharing the same strip of land.

So, to mark the 20th anniversary of the Oslo II agreement, the online journal Fathom has published Two States for Two Peoples – an e-Book collecting 25 essays and interviews drawn from our pages.

While the two state solution reconciles two legitimate but competing claims, the other ‘solutions’ simply evade one claim or the other. The so-called ‘one-state solution’ manages to ignore both claims by bracketing not only the long history of murderous conflict between the two peoples but their common dream of living in their own sovereign state, thus proving the truth of George Orwell’s quip that some ideas are so ridiculous you can only get the intellectuals to agree to them.

Read the article in full at Times of Israel.