In the relatively short time the Biden administration has been in place, its representatives have repeatedly invoked the “two-state solution” with reference to the Israel-Palestinian conflict. After considering the ubiquity of this phrase, Alan Baker notes how little attention is paid to its legal and practical rationale, or what exactly it entails. He adds some clarity to the issue:
While the two-state vision has become a standard component of non-binding UN political documentation, it has never been part of any formal, binding resolution or agreement between the parties.
The . . . glib repetition of the phrase “two-state solution” as if, in and of itself, it can solve the Israel-Palestinian dispute, indicates a lack of understanding of its meaning and historical evolution. [Moreover], no such two-state solution could materialize without cognizance of the inherent realities of the Israel-Palestinian dispute as a basis for acceptance by the parties, as well as by the international community, of several basic assumptions.
A Palestinian state would have to be politically and economically stable. It could not open itself to manipulation by terror elements that could constitute a threat to Israel’s security. A Palestinian state would have to be demilitarized and limited in its military and security capabilities and other sovereign prerogatives. Such a state would have to be based on principles of democracy, liberty, and good governance and would be obligated to prevent terror and incitement.
A unified Palestinian leadership must be able to speak in the name of the entire Palestinian people and be capable of entering into and fulfilling commitments. In light of the widening schism between the Palestinian leadership of the West Bank and the Hamas leadership in the Gaza Strip, such a situation does not exist at present. A Palestinian state will need to commit to solid legal, political, and security guarantees that it will not abuse its sovereign prerogatives and international standing in order to violate or undermine the agreements.