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Israelis have given up on the two-state solution: Yuval Noah Harari

  • 26 Nov 2022

The Israeli historian says there has been a gradual switch in the Israeli society, where a lot of people are beginning to embrace the idea of a “multi-tiered class system”.

Harari’s comments have sparked mixed reactions on social media. ( Denis Balibouse / Reuters )

A larger number of Israelis no longer believe in the idea of a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Yuval Noah Harari, historian and one of Israel’s prominent public intellectuals, has said.

“One of the key things is that a lot of the Israeli public has gradually switched from a belief in the ‘two-state solution’ to, at least, an implicit belief in the ‘three classes solution’, Harari told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour in an interview aired on Wednesday.

Elaborating further on what he meant by a three-class solution, the Israeli scholar said, “That you have just one country between the Jordan river and the Mediterranean with three classes of people living there: Jews who have all the rights; some Arabs who have some rights; and, other Arabs who have very little or no rights.”

Harari, 46, who authored an international best-seller Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, called the unfolding turn of events “extremely worrying”. “This is increasingly the situation on the ground and this is increasingly also the aspiration or the mindset of even people in the government,” he said.

READ MORE: Israel-Palestine conflict catches up with Qatar World Cup

While Yair Lapid, the outgoing prime minister of Israel, assured the United Nations General Assembly in September that “a large majority of Israelis support the vision of (the) two-state solution”, a recent poll by the Israeli Democracy Institute poll showed that sentiment among the people was actually not in favour of it.

“Only 32% of Jewish Israelis support advancing a ‘two-state’ solution as a means for resolving the conflict with the Palestinians,” the research institute said. 

Harari’s comments have sparked mixed reactions on social media.

However, many Palestinians, too, view the two-state solution as non-viable given the growing expansion of settlements in the occupied West Bank, which are considered illegal under international law. 

A poll conducted by the Jerusalem Media and Communication Centre in 2021 in cooperation with Germany-based Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung showed Palestinians in the occupied West Bank do not favour the two-state solution as much as those in Gaza do.

READ MORE: US committed to ‘two-state solution’ between Israel and Palestine

The two-state solution has been endorsed by neighbouring countries in the region, the Arab world and successive United States governments as the only viable option to achieve lasting peace.

The occupied West Bank is now home to roughly 500,000 illegal Israeli settlers. The international community widely considers the settlements an obstacle to peace.

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