To put it simply, Israel solidified itself as the strategic ally of the United States in the Middle East after its victory in the Six-Day War. Almost immediately, Israel was seen as a strategic, military and political force.
On the 40th anniversary of Al Naqsa (or the setback), Israel remains very powerful and anything the Jewish state bestows, including its own version of a peace settlement with Palestinians, is accepted and supported unconditionally by the US.
All major players involved in trying to resolve the Arab-Israeli conflict including the Israelis, Americans and Palestinians have almost never expressed pessimism regarding the success of a two-state solution.
Talk of a bi-national or democratic state in all of historical Palestine is considered taboo and "serious" academics and politicians are aught to never bring it up. But respected intellectuals on all sides have stressed the inevitability of such a solution (including the late Edward Said, Azmi Bishara, Ilan Pappe and Virginia Tilley).
A two-state solution means Israel would fully withdraw from the territories it occupied in 1967, in accordance with UN resolutions, and a sovereign Palestinian state would be formed in those territories, with East Jerusalem as its capital. We must ask ourselves, is this possible? Israel has intensified its colony building in the West Bank over the past 10 years.
The peace process has virtually collapsed and since the Bush administration entered the White House, no real effort has been made to even discuss let alone try to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Other developments that make the two-state solution a distant fantasy is the brutal Israeli handling of the second bloody intifada. Their continuous military attacks on Palestinians have intensified and as a result, more Palestinians have been driven into utter despair.
But the case for a separate Palestine (i.e. a two-state solution) is supported by the overwhelming majority of international players as well as numerous UN resolutions.
In that sense, the Palestinians are in a lose-lose situation; if they abandon the accepted model of national liberation (in favour of a bi-national state where Palestinians and Israelis can participate as equal citizens under one polity) they would be weakened both 'legally' as far as the UN is concerned and diplomatically (i.e. America). If they carry on begging for even partial recognition, they are hardly likely to get any form of justice out of it. And that is the core issue: justice.
International relations have reached a stage where interpretations of something that was commonly acknowledged as one thing are now muddled with state interests and inter-state relations. That is, the Palestinians can go ahead and settle the Israeli-Palestinian conflict if they concede their rights and settle for what some call "partial justice". Rejecting this would deem them selfish, aggressive people who's interests lie not in peace but in on-going fighting.
What about Israel and the Americans? Are they genuinely interested in resolving the conflict and reversing the consequences of the Six-Day War? Israel and America don't even have the courage to act on the latest Arab League proposal that was brought back to life thanks mainly to Saudi efforts.
As a realist, I can hardly see a two-state solution sustain beyond a few years. The idea of a "separation wall" which divides the two populations by imprisoning the Palestinians under the control of the Israelis will only accelerate the demise of such a system. Moreover, a basic understanding and acceptance of human rights for all will conclude that the makeup of two states (one prosperous and the other, a disconnected prison) is not a convincing resolution to a conflict that is more than half a century old.
Finally, it's worth stressing the significance of America's role in bringing peace and justice to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. While it is a Middle Eastern matter, the conflict is undoubtedly an American quandary. Needless to say, the strong alliance with Israel has thus far proved very costly for the US. Not only is the Jewish state proving to be a financial burden on the US, it is more urgently detracting from the US's image internationally.
The unconditional support has become self-defeating to the US and it is time that the real decision makers got involved in a more just way.
There can never be a real reversal to the conclusions of the Six-Day war. Arabs and Palestinians in particular lost most of what mattered to reach a some-what just resolution. Now, it seems everything is Israeli and American engineered, including a peace settlement.
Looking at the whole situation 40 years after Israel created what we call today the occupied territories, and for the sake of humanity, we must re-examine the peace proposals that are considered accepted wisdom and see things not only from a realist perspective, but also from a dignified and pure point of view.