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Coming to Grips with the End of the "Two-State Solution"

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A recent survey from the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs is likely to pour cold water over anyone's hopes for a resumption of the peace process in 2013. It shows an Israeli public deeply skeptical about any possible deal and concerned about the repercussions of the "Arab Spring." (It also indicates that a majority would back a preemptive strike against Iran if the U.S. fails to act.) This helps to explain the right-ward tack of the Israeli electorate, which is poised to deliver as many as 14 parliamentary seats to the hawkish Habayit Hayehudi party, making it the third largest in the Knesset. Combined with Hamas' continued, violent rejectionism and the Palestinian's unilateral strong-arming at the United Nations, the prospects are grim indeed.

This puts Washington in something of a bind. It's the official position of the U.S. and the international community that the Israeli-Palestinian standoff be solved via a negotiated settlement ending in "two states for two peoples." Yet as it becomes clearer that this is not going to happen anytime soon (and certainly not at President Obama's urging), the debate should shift to more realistic questions, such as: if there will be no two state solution, what role should the U.S. play going forward?

(AP Photo)