These are the basic questions the Parallel States Project poses. Two parallel state structures, one Israeli and one Palestinian, could build on existing institutions and frameworks, the Government of Israel and the Palestinian Authority, and extend the jurisdiction of both to citizens living in the whole area between the Mediterranean and the Jordan River. Barriers could be lifted and a joint security and defense policy, a common economic policy and a common labor market be introduced. Civil and family law could largely follow religion, as is already the case in many places.
The Israeli-Palestinian conflict does in no way lend itself to a "quick fix". But new thoughts have to be explored to seek ways out of the present deadlock. The primary objective of the Parallel States Project is to introduce new thoughts into the discussion, not to build a ready model.
The Parallel States Project is an attempt to study the questions and issues that would arise in a structure of two parallel states, "superimposed" upon each other, together with Israeli and Palestinian thinkers, academics and policy makers, as well as a number of international academic institutions and think tanks. The project will be conducted within the framework of the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at Lund University, and is funded by the Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs.
The project is designed for a two-year period and will be carried out in three phases; an introductory phase, a research phase and a final report and presentation phase.
A Research Project Exploring Innovative Approaches to Peace
Project Coordinator Ambassador Mathias Mossberg
The peace process between Israelis and Palestinians has not made progress for a long time. In spite of Annapolis and new political leadership in both Israel and the United States, prospects for a breakthrough remain bleak. A solution acceptable to both sides remains distant. At the same time Israel continues year after year to strengthen its presence on the West Bank and construction continues unabated. Has the time run out for a traditional two state solution, with two states side by side sharing the territory between the Mediterranean and the Jordan River?
- A one state solution is not acceptable to Israelis. A two state solution that could satisfy both sides is not in the cards. Are there any alternatives?
- Is there a way to create a new kind of two-state structure that could meet some of the basic demands and desires from both sides?
- Could a concept with two parallel state structures, both covering the whole territory be a way to open up the discussion?