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US, international community should take lead on two-state solution

To advance toward a two-state solution, the United States and the international community must change the paradigm of seeking an agreement only through direct negotiations and adopt an approach favoring independent steps.
Palestinians walk near an opening in Israel's controversial barrier in the East Jerusalem neighbourhood of A-tur January 3, 2014. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu offered a gloomy assessment of peace prospects with the Palestinians on Thursday as U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry began his 10th visit to the region in pursuit of a deal. Leaders from both sides have to address core issues of the decades-old conflict, such as the question of borders, security, refugees and the status of Jerusalem. RE
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If the new Israeli government does not back a two-state solution, it will make the United States' job of defending Israel “a lot tougher,” warned Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman April 27. Achieving a two-state solution, however, will require a new paradigm that allows all stakeholders — Israelis, Palestinians, the United States and the international community — to take independent steps that advance a "reality" of two states. Independent movement is the key: It can negate the opposition of those who do not cooperate, while at the same time one side’s actions are not contingent on what the other does or does not do.

The peace process over which Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama presided was flawed. It was predicated on the belief that direct negotiations were the only way to reach an Israeli-Palestinian agreement. It limited the US role to a mere convener, facilitating a dialogue between the parties, and made direct negotiations the goal, rather than the means for attaining a permanent agreement. This approach failed, and its failure gave excuses to rejectionists and extremists on both sides, allowing each to blame the other, while destroying the belief within the respective societies (and elsewhere) that an accord was possible in the foreseeable future.

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