“For decades, there has been a stalemate: two peoples with legitimate aspirations, each with a painful history that makes compromise elusive. It is easy to point fingers — for Palestinians to point to the displacement brought by Israel’s founding, and for Israelis to point to the constant hostility and attacks throughout its history from within its borders as well as beyond. But if we see this conflict only from one side or the other, then we will be blind to the truth: The only resolution is for the aspirations of both sides to be met through two states, where Israelis and Palestinians each live in peace and security.”
That was President Obama, speaking on June 4 of last year. But it could have been any number of leaders in the last decade, pointing to the utter logic of resolving the wrenching stalemate between Israelis and Palestinians by ensuring that each people has its own, secure state.
Achieving a two-state solution — the official goal of the American, Israeli and Palestinian governments — is perhaps the most salient policy issue before the Jewish world today. And more than a matter of policy, it goes to the heart of Israel’s challenge, not just for sheer survival, but the challenge of deciding the character and potential of the Jewish state.
That is why the Forward will devote considerable resources over the next few months to exploring the viability of this policy, the roadblocks and alternatives, the shifts in culture and perspective that will be necessary to achieve a breakthrough. We begin with Nathan Jeffay’s comprehensive survey from the ground, accompanied by illuminating maps created by Kurt Hoffman and the Forward staff, all of which will be followed by more stories, analyses and opinion. Like the people in that sacred, troubled region, we don’t know yet where it will end.
Jane Eisner, a pioneer in journalism, became editor-in-chief of the Forward in 2008, the first woman to hold the position at the influential Jewish national news organization. Under her leadership, the Forward readership has grown significantly and it has won numerous regional and national awards for its original journalism, in print and online.