Rivlin proposes Israeli-Palestinian ‘confederation’

President floats idea of two states with borders including land swaps, as well as separate parliaments, but only one army

President Reuven Rivlin, October 28, 2015. (Mark Neyman/GPO)
President Reuven Rivlin, October 28, 2015. (Mark Neyman/GPO)

President Reuven Rivlin appeared to break from his staunch opposition to a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in comments published Thursday, indicating that a sovereign Palestine state alongside Israel within the framework of a joint confederation was the only way toward peace.

“There would be a confederation,” he told Aude Marcovitch and Patrick Wajsman of the French quarterly Politique Internationale. “Decisions that concern the two states in the confederation — or the two states of the united… Israeli-Palestinian state — we will have to [make]… together.”

According to a recording from the interview obtained by Israel Radio, Rivlin also suggested land swaps in the demarcation of the two confederated states. He also reportedly said that the future confederation would feature two parliaments and two constitutions, but only one army — the Israel Defense Forces.

While Rivlin has previously proposed the idea of an Israeli-Palestinian confederation, he has never mentioned land swaps or specific border demarcations, or used the words “states” in the context of peacemaking efforts. He has also made statements indicating support for a single binational state.

Rivlin’s office on Thursday issued a statement clarifying the president’s remarks, and emphasizing that despite his mention of two states, he maintained his opposition to full Palestinian statehood.

The statement also noted that as president, Rivlin’s influence over Israeli foreign policy was limited, and if the government should support the measure, the prime minister would be the one to decide.

The idea of a confederation has been floated before; however it has usually been dismissed as tantamount to a one-state solution, which would challenge the definition of Israel as a Jewish state.

Last week, Martin Schulz, the president of the European Parliament, proposed an Israeli-Palestinian confederation, in a suggesting that appeared to diverge sharply from official EU policy.

Both the EU and the US’s official policies unambiguously callsfor a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

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