When Americans or Israelis speak of a “two-state solution” to the Israel-Palestinian conflict, they usually mean a Palestinian state alongside the Jewish one. Eric Mandel points out that when Palestinians use this locution, they mean something else entirely:
From my extensive experience speaking with Palestinian leaders and laymen alike, I have come to learn that the Palestinian version of the two-state solution leaves no room for a Jewish state. . . . To almost all Palestinian citizens of Israel I spoke with, from Arab mayors to teachers, a state of the Jewish people is illegitimate; Zionism is a colonizing enterprise of Jews stealing Arab land. Judaism, to them, is exclusively a religion, without a legitimate civilizational or national component. They view the Jewish historical claim to the land as fictional. . . .
Their idea of a fair “two-state solution” is one completely Arab state in the West Bank and one democratic binational state of Israel that allows the right of return for descendants of Palestinian refugees. It is a “two-state solution,” but not the one American Jews would recognize or Israel could survive.
I asked these Palestinian citizens of Israel if, were they to have every economic advantage that Jewish Israelis have without performing any compulsory civil service, they would then consider Israel a legitimate democracy. Almost all said no: not until the Jewish star is removed from the flag, ha-Tikvah is no longer the national anthem, and the right of return for diaspora Jews to Israel is rescinded. . . .
There is little doubt that future American administrations will re-attempt negotiations with the Israelis and Palestinians in hopes of achieving some form of a two-state solution. But it would be wise, before proceeding, to have both parties sign an agreement that, at the end of the negotiations, one of those states must be the state of the Jewish people, with the final resolution including a signed end-of-conflict agreement that unambiguously states that . . . all Palestinian claims [against] that state are settled.