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Welcome to the Israeli-Palestinian Two-State Index, a product of the Geneva Initiative.
The Two-State Index (TSI) assesses the state of the two-state solution. Examining more than 50 different parameters, the TSI organizes and systematizes the latest developments in your Israeli-Palestinian newsfeed, and determines whether they create progress toward or regress away from two states. Ultimately, the TSI produces a coherent assessment of the plight of the two-state option.

As we launch the index, its score is 5.60 on a 0-10 scale.

Although not strictly-speaking a scientific tool, the TSI offers a fact-based, data-driven, wide-angle lens on the pursuit of two states: where there is greatest progress or regression, and what stakeholders should focus on. Produced by the Israeli-Palestinian teams of the Geneva Initiative, it reflects a uniquely bilateral and nuanced understanding of current political reality.
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The TSI consists of four layers:

  1. The index gives an overview numerical score of the condition of the two-state solution.
  2. This overview score is based on the scores of four arenas:
    1. Solvability of the Core Issues — This arena measures the ability to solve the contentious core issues in a way that satisfies the basic interests of the sides. These core issues include the delineation of borders between Israel and Palestine, the status of Jerusalem, security arrangements, the plight of Palestinian refugees, and mutual recognition between the two peoples.
    2. Reality on the Ground — This arena focuses on the social and geographical areas where the Israeli-Palestinian conflict plays out. This is where we follow the security situation, the settlement enterprise, the effort to build Palestinian capacities, and the contentious dynamics in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza Strip.
    3. Diplomatic and Legal Arena — This arena focuses on the diplomatic and legal framework in which the pursuit for two-states takes place. It traces bilateral and third-party diplomatic tracks, adherence to the Oslo framework set out in the mid-1990s, and relevant developments in the local and international legal systems.
    4. Political and Public Arena — This arena evaluates relevant social, political, and attitudinal trends among Israelis, Palestinians, and international actors. It examines these trends as they relate to leadership, political systems, and publics, as well as to civil society organizations that are engaged in peacemaking efforts.
  3. Each of the four arenas is then divided into categories that give a more contextual and nuanced breakdown.
  4. Finally, the categories are divided into 57 specific parameters which the TSI will follow on an ongoing basis.

Each arena, category, and parameter is attributed a specific importance (which we call ‘weight,’ between 1-5) and a score on a 0-10 scale, whereby 0 indicates developments that pose maximum strain and 10 indicates a maximally sustaining impact for a two-state outcome. If the overall TSI score is 0, it means the two-state solution is unachievable; if the overall TSI score is 10, it means the two-state solution is imminent. In practice, we score each parameter based on an array of factors, and changes in these scores create dynamism month-to-month.

Creating the index and evaluating the parameters inevitably requires judgment calls — some of which will be more controversial than others. The score we attribute to each parameter is ultimately a subjective decision of our editors. These scores, however, reflect their best judgment, based on numerous conversations held with an array of experts in the relevant fields.

A detailed explanation of our index, including its makeup and methodology, is found here.
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Now let’s see the TSI in action.

A few events impacted the Israeli-Palestinian scene during April: the PLO's Palestine National Council convened in Ramallah and featured a controversial speech by PLO Chairman Mahmoud Abbas (who later apologized for his remarks). Elsewhere, rightist Israeli MKs propelled efforts to bypass the High Court of Justice. But in this introductory issue we choose to focus on another development:


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Palestinian protestors near the Karni crossing on May 4, 2018. Photo by IDF Spokesperson's Unit [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons

  • Friday protests on the Gaza-Israel boundary continued for the fifth week. Some 45 Palestinians have been killed and hundreds injured since the protests began on March 30. The protests, the largest of their kind in several years, are carried out under the slogan “the Great March of Return.” They reflect despair of the harsh conditions in the Gaza Strip, the centrality of the refugee issue, and Palestinian determination to take matters into their own hands after losing faith in outside mediation.

    There is a level of uncertainty to the Gaza protests. This highly visible, generally unarmed civil disobedience could fade out after its anticipated mid-May climax; but it also has the potential to be a turning point by re-energizing Palestinian activism in the direction of strategic non-violence. Consequently, in our Political and Public Arena, we update our Palestinian Civil Society assessment from an original score of a relatively passive 4 to a more active 6. The protests, highlighting the plight of refugees in Gaza, touches on one of the conflict’s core issues in a way that may harden Palestinian positions. Whether this happens remains to be seen. In the meantime, however, our Reality on the Ground arena changes: the intensity of the IDF response causes a change in our IDF Military Actions parameter from 5 to 4 as a mounting death toll could spiral into violence levels that increase hostility. Together with Gaza’s ongoing catastrophic humanitarian conditions, we also update our Prospects for War mark from 6 to 5 (the TSI uses a reverse scale for these last two paramters, with lower scores representing more destructive conditions).
A Welcome Note
Why We Launch the Two-State Index
by NIDAL FOQAHA and GADI BALTIANSKY
CEOs of the Palestinian and Israeli chapters of the Geneva Initiative
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Geneva Initiative CEOs Gadi Baltiansky and Nidal Foqaha in conversation with students. Photo curtesy of the Geneva Initiative.
Since leading Palestinian and Israeli civil society leaders concluded in 2003 the draft conflict-ending, two-state agreement known as the Geneva Initiative, we have been on the front lines of advocating for a two-state solution among our peoples. It is hard work. But we are committed to doing this work because we believe that this conflict is man-made, and willing men — and women — can end it.

Both the Palestinian and Israeli publics consider the two-state solution as their preferred option for settling their conflict. Opponents of the solution on both sides are unable to propose an alternative that realistically answers the interests of both peoples, and that will win considerable support. So what do they do? They try to undermine the feasibility of the two-state solution and highlight their main theme: that such a solution is unrealistic. Truth be told, they are quite successful. The majority of the public on both sides does not believe a solution will materialize in the coming years; even supporters of the two-state solution increasingly doubt its feasibility.

Alongside the political agendas and media spin, a real examination of the feasibility of a two-state solution is needed. Such a study should wisely and systemically analyze all the relevant developments that affect the conditions that make a two-state solution possible. This project aims to do just that. With the help of experts on both sides, we — and you with us — will be better able to judge events, filter out the noise, and reach our own conclusions.

We will offer you a monthly index accompanied by our best analysis. Of course, you can reach your own conclusions. But we hope we can arm you with the relevant facts and best analysis that will serve you well as you form your own judgment on the feasibility of the two-state solution. For our part, we would be grateful if you would share your thoughts with us.

On behalf of the Palestinian and Israeli chapters of the Geneva Initiative, we want to welcome you on board this journey. Hopefully, it will help us reach our common destination.

Nidal and Gadi
The Two-State Index (TSI) is brought to you by the Geneva Initiative, a Palestinian-Israeli organization working to promote a negotiated peace agreement in the spirit of the two-state vision. The TSI is produced by an Israeli-Palestinian team, and reflects a unique bilateral perspective.
Think we missed something this month? Send us tips and comments here.
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