Rage in Jerusalem

With all the despairing talk today of the impossibility of a two-state solution and the inevitability of protracted civil war in a single state, it is easy to forget how different the conflict looked two intifadas ago. Before the First Intifada, no one of any importance spoke of Palestinian statehood, rather than autonomy. Today statehood is publicly accepted, even if only rhetorically, not just by the US and the UN but by a long-serving Israeli prime minister from the hawkish Likud. Before the First Intifada, Israel and the US refused to engage with the PLO. Dividing Jerusalem was unthinkable, as was the idea of partition along the pre-1967 borders, with equal swaps. Today these are the positions of most of the international community and growing numbers in Israel. Many Israelis, however, see no reason for their country to take substantial risks and pay a large cost to change an imperfect but long-lasting and manageable status quo. It would be a great tragedy if nothing less than a third uprising, at a terrible price, could convince them otherwise.