Officials’ debate questions the validity of two-state solution

Questions about the potential for a two-state solution for the Palestinian cause were the focus of the fifteenth Birzeit University Student Debate Forum, held on April 5, 2017 under the supervision of the Philosophy and Cultural Studies Department.

The pro team, represented by chairman of the Board of Trustees at the Yasser Arafat Foundation Nasser Al Qidwa, built his arguments on two theoretical choices. The first was adopting United Nations General Assembly resolution 181, which calls for the partition of Palestine into Arab and Jewish states.

The second choice, according to Al Qidwa, only benefits one party and cannot be attained peacefully. “If the Palestinians want to regain their lands, with no existence for Israelis, they need to end Israeli colonization - or Israelis will end the conflict by confiscating what is left of Palestinian land.”

“A one-state solution cannot be implemented within the current context. What is more realistic is a two-state solution, which seems as if a compulsory option that we must pass through.” He pointed to the existence of the Palestinian state, based on historical and international legitimacy.

On the con side, Zaidan  talked about Israel’s systematic policies since the late 1800s to expand and control historical Palestine. “A two-state solution cannot be attained because ‘Israel’ will never agree to be side-by-side with Palestinians. Negotiations with Israelis are only a way to gain time and maintain the status quo, and it these do not aim to find a permanent fair solution.”

The debate was facilitated by Acting Chairperson at the Department of Philosophy and Cultural Studies, Huda Awad.

At the end of the debate, and after listening to the questions and interventions of the audience, the jury, comprised of Journalist Walid Omari, director of the PhD program in Social Sciences Liza Taraki, and Institute of Law acting director Jamil Salem, announced that the pro team had received 64.2% of the audience votes, versus 35.8% for the opposing team.

The Debate Forum was founded in 2008 by a group of university students to promote research, debate and dialogue based on logic, rationality, respect for other opinions and recognition of the other's right to freedom of expression. This debate was part of a series of debates aiming to promote intellectual pluralism and argument as two vital conditions for human thought, and the embodiment of freedom of opinion and practice of democracy.