The conventional wisdom recommends the establishment of a Palestinian state to bring about an end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict (the two-state paradigm). This article first reviews the confluence of domestic and international factors that led to the resurgence of the two-state paradigm.

Next, it concludes that a peaceful outcome in accordance with this paradigm is unlikely to emerge in the near future: the two national movements, the Palestinian and the Zionist, are not close to a historic compromise, and the Palestinians are not able to build a state. Finally, the article analyzes the policy options available to policymakers. State-building is unlikely to succeed.

Similarly, a binational state, where Arabs and Jews live peacefully together is not within reach. A regional approach that advocates a greater role for Arab states in Palestinian affairs has better chances of stabilizing the situation than the previous options. Finally, in the absence of a solution, the most realistic policy appears to be conflict management.

The Arab-Jewish or the Israeli-Palestinian conflict over Palestine (The Land of Israel) has evolved over the past hundred years. At present, most attempts to solve this simmering ethnic conflict in Palestine revolve around the two-state paradigm.

This conventional wisdom recommends dividing the territory of the area called Palestine into Jewish and Arab states that will coexist The author acknowledges the support of the Ihel Foundation for this research. The author benefited from comments by Stuart Cohen, Steven David, Hillel Frisch, Avi Kober and Jonathan Rynhold.

For an ethnic prism on the Arab-Israeli conflict, see Milton J. Esman, Ethnic Politics (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1994), pp. 111-46; for the persistence of ethnic nationalism, see Jerry Z. Muller, “Us and Them: The Enduring Power of Ethnic Nationalism”

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Efraim Inbar Professor of Political Studies at Bar-Ilan University in Israel and Director of the Begin-Sadat (BESA) Center for Strategic Studies.