AS A FORMER legal adviser to the Palestinian negotiating team, I spent more than six years working toward a “two-state’’ solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. During that period, we held countless negotiation sessions, examined scores of proposals, met with hundreds of diplomats and even went house-to-house campaigning for the two-state solution. Today, we are no closer to achieving a two-state solution than we were 20 years ago when negotiations started. Since that time, the number of Israeli settlers living in the West Bank has almost tripled to 600,000, with settlements spreading throughout the West Bank and East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip increasingly isolated from the rest of Palestine.
Some pundits point to poor leadership, the rise of right-wing governments, weak or uninterested US presidents, and a powerful Israel lobby, while others highlight the imbalance in negotiating power and the absurdity of negotiating while under occupation. The divergent views suggest an unsatisfactory impasse until we achieve the right alignment of stars: the perfect Israeli prime minister, the perfect American president, and the perfect Palestinian leader for peace to finally reign.