The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is of enormous interest to scholars and policy-makers, yet the internal Israeli policy debate on this issue is often overlooked or oversimplified. It is impossible to understand Israeli actions, the constraints on Israeli decision-makers and the trajectory of the conflict itself without a deeper understanding of this debate. This article presents a framework for categorizing the leading policy prescriptions currently advocated in Israel with respect to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, drawing on public statements by politicians and leading think-tanks, and surveys of public opinion. The most discussed Israeli policy options are presented as follows: maintain the status quo; proactively move towards two states through either a negotiated agreement (Plan A) or unilateral separation (Plan B); or entrench Israeli presence in the West Bank through settlement expansion and annexation. Various public opinion surveys show the extent to which the Israeli public is divided on the issues, and an analysis of Israel’s 2013–14 coalition demonstrates how all these approaches were being promoted simultaneously within the same cabinet, contributing to policy incoherence. The article concludes by outlining how Palestinian and international actions are influencing the Israeli debate, and argues that a move away from the status quo will require decisive Israeli leadership. It also suggests that third party attempts to impose terms for resolving the conflict that do not respond to concerns held widely in Israel are likely to fuel the argument of the status quo camp in the Israeli debate.
While the Israeli–Palestinian conflict has raged for decades, in all of its ramifications there has never been a totally structured or scientific approach to the conflict with all of its details. The Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP) approaches the problem along these lines. There are a plethora of reasons why the traditional face to face negotiations have broken down over the years. This paper identifies a significant number of those impediments and indicates how the AHP can productively address them. A summary of the highlights of the AHP approach precedes how it has been applied to the Israeli–Palestinian conflict. To date, the participants, significant members of both communities, have derived and agreed upon a solution that includes all the major issues, except for the refugee problem. That problem is currently being worked on, but will take an extended period because of the unique factors involved. What has been provided is an agreed upon solution to virtually all of the issues impeding past negotiations, including borders, settlements, the status of Jerusalem, the Holy Places, security and expectations of each side.
Seven years ago, heightened anxieties in Israel about an Arab threat to Israel’s Jewish majority triggered an influential campaign to change perceptions of who is winning the demographic battle. Proposals to annex 60% or more of the West Bank are based in part on its success in persuading many Israelis and others of the nonexistence of 1 to 1.5 million “missing“ Palestinians. This campaign’s estimates of Arab and Jewish population for 2004 and beyond are subjected to close scrutiny, revealing complex but systematic manipulation of data and exposing the political objectives and drastic distortions of the campaign.