How to Shrink the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

How to Shrink the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

By dramatically enhancing Palestinian autonomy, Israel can deliver a better future for itself, its neighbors, and the Palestinians.

The middle east is changing in front of our eyes. The process that began with an agreement between Israel and the United Arab Emirates in August is gaining momentum and changing the political map of the region. Israel has now built ties with the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Sudan, and Morocco. But the Israeli-Palestinian conflict remains intractable and unsolved, standing as an obstacle to further peace deals.

There is, however, more room than is commonly understood for progress on this front—and it is found in the fascinating disconnect between the political identity most Israelis embrace and the policies they support. In polls, most Israelis today identify as politically right-wing. But when asked what they think about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, most Israelis do not offer right-wing positions. Instead, they articulate much more complicated moderate or centrist views. If politics is about choosing an identity, then Israel is a right-wing country. But if politics is about solving problems, then most Israelis are somewhere in the center.

For years, right-wing politicians have been pushing for the country to maintain the status quo, a paradigm known as “managing the conflict.” On the left, meanwhile, politicians insist that the country must reach a peace treaty with the Palestinians as quickly as possible, a paradigm known as “solving the conflict.”