But what of the two-state solution, a compromise preferred by a majority of both Israelis and Palestinians and indeed, by Halper himself? The Israeli government has never seriously considered such an outcome, Halper says, and by now, the idea is no longer viable. With Palestinian lands now fragmented into more than 70 disconnected islands and dotted with more than 200 illegal settlements linked by 28 major highways, many barred to Palestinians, Israel has ensured that the West Bank is no longer detachable territory. By imposing a matrix of control and massive, permanent “facts on the ground,” Israel has divided the region so completely that even territorial swaps cannot create the contiguous geography necessary for two viable states.
Idealistic? Certainly. Too complicated? No, such a radical transformation has been worked out before, notably in South Africa – though only after vigorous world pressure forced the government to shed its suffocating apartheid mode. Dangerous? Perhaps. Change is not without risk, especially for the occupying power. But this new vision, if entered into with good will and a sense of historical inevitability, could have the potential of creating a true democratic model for the Middle East, and indeed, for the world.