In the opening weeks of his administration, President Donald Trump overturned a longstanding U.S. commitment to territorial partition and a two-state model for resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu seized the opportunity to demand “overriding security control over the entire area west of the Jordan River” while exploring regional approaches that bypass the Palestinians. At the same time, a host of Israeli politicians are reviving older models such as limited autonomy without political sovereignty and partial territorial annexation, or advocating for other forms of separation with Israel’s continued control. The resulting middle ground—neither two states nor one—poses a great risk to Palestinian self-determination. By situating recent developments in a broader historical context going back to the autonomy plan of Israeli prime minister Menachem Begin, this essay provides an overview of a shifting political discourse and examines the consequences for the fate of the Palestinians today.

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