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.
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.
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:
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).
CEOs of the Palestinian and Israeli chapters of the Geneva Initiative
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
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