“Canada should look beyond a two state solution for Israel/Palestine conflict” argues human rights group

While Israel publicly supports a 2 state solution, it continues to take over more and more land. Most observers think that it is not possible for Palestinians to have a real state on the tiny amount of land they still control. However, Canada like most of the Western world, has stubbornly remained committed to the 2 state idea while seeming to ignore Israeli expansion. Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME) has just issued a policy paper calling Canada’s policy into question. CTIP interviews CJPME’s Michael Bueckert about the thinking behind the new policy recommendations. Read more and watch the video interview.

Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME) is calling for a major shift in Canadian policy vis-a-vis Israel and Palestine to de-emphasize the goal of a “two-state solution,” noting that the longstanding position of the Canadian government may no longer be possible nor desirable.

“Deliberate Israeli policy over half a century has effectively killed the possibility of a two-state solution,” says Michael Bueckert, Vice President of CJPME. “Canada’s entire policy amounts to reiterating old talking points about two states, (… this) closes off the possibility of possible alternatives which may be more capable of fulfilling the equal rights and freedoms of Palestinians and Israelis,” added Bueckert.

Many observers have noted that the idea of a two state solution has wide appeal in Canada because it sounds fair. Canadian policy has prioritised this nice sounding but elusive goal over more practical and concrete actions like opposing house demolitions or expulsions in Jerusalem or new settlement construction in the West Bank.

The CJPME policy paper has 6 specific recommendations for Canadian policy.

  1. Prioritize urgent action in support of human rights and freedom.
  2. Stop privileging the two-state solution as the only acceptable outcome, and support whatever option is most likely to secure equal freedoms and rights for all, irrespective of religion or ethnicity.
  3. Be clear that Israeli proposals for a Palestinian “entity” or “state minus” are completely unacceptable.
  4. Advance the possibility of Palestinian self-determination by putting pressure on the Israeli government, including economic and diplomatic sanctions.
  5. Acknowledge the role of power relations in any future negotiations.
  6. Continue to push for recognition of the State of Palestine.

In a video interview, CJPME Vice-President Michael Bueckert discusses the newly released policy paper with Peter Larson, Chair of the Ottawa Forum on Israel/Palestine.

The CJPME report can be found here.


Canada Talks Israel Palestine (CTIP) is the weekly newsletter of Peter Larson, Chair of the Ottawa Forum on Israel/Palestine (OFIP). It aims to promote a serious discussion in Canada about Canada’s response to the complicated and emotional Israel/Palestine issue with a focus on the truth, clear analysis and human rights for all. Readers with different points of view are invited to make comment.

Want to learn more about us? Go to http://www.ottawaforumip.org


  1. Hey Robin, good question. I don’t think Israelis woould ever give up their dominance over the Palestinians as long as they don’t have to. They have it pretty good now. And the international community seems to back them.

    So the question I think is: what combination of internal and external forces could oblige the Israelis to change their position? If the international community were to change its stance then things could be different.

    1. Yes, but again I return: When the Israelis are convinced, (feel obliged to change) are they more likely to turn to a one state or two state solution? And which of those two options is more likely to enable that change?

  2. I support this. Israel has made a two state solution impossible and has done its best to make their version of a one state solution hellish for Palestinians

    1. In other words the problem is Israeli intransigence, not one vs two states. So why shift to the option with arguably less international support and no official support from Palestinian political parties?

      1. Hey Robin,
        IMHO the reason why none of the major Palestinian political parties are still supporting the original PLO idea of one democratic state, is because they have heard from the international community that they will not support ODS. So they have gone for what appears to be a more “realistic” option even though it is not what they wanted. However, if the international stance were to change, I think that would change the Palestinian political calculus.

      2. A big “if”, and why bother if the core problem is intransigent Israeli governments, and not the number of states? It seems obvious that the “international community” is not forcing Israel’s hand.
        Many of those supporting two states, want that to ideally be followed up with a single federated state, and then possibly a single democratic state. The sequencing logic is important.

  3. Very good interview. The picture with 4 maps tells far more than a thousand words about the history of the region, the aggressions of the Israeli state, and essential unworkability of “the two-state solution”.

    In the interview the point was made that a two-state solution has a superficial ring of fairness to some international audiences. They might assume as a corollary that making two states would entail pushing Israeli settlers out of occupied Palestine, which also has a ring of fairness and feasibility since Israel has pushed Palestinians out of their lands for many decades, and so must accept the principle of moving hundreds of thousands of people in pursuit of state goals.

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