A new study by the Rand Corporation released this week illustrates the economic benefits of the Two-State Solution. The study estimates an economic benefit of $150 billion dollars for Israelis and $50 billion for Palestinians over a ten-year period, with both peoples benefitting. It predicts a 36% increase in per capita income for Palestinians over the same time frame.
The study also analyzes additional scenarios, none of which provide the economic benefit of the Two-State Solution. The Two-State Solution is based on a foundation of self-determination for Palestinians and security for Israelis. A second scenario analyzed in the Rand report is one promoted by the international Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) Movement, which calls for economic pressure on Israel to withdraw from the West Bank without a commitment of peace from Palestinians. Under this scenario, both Israelis and Palestinians suffer economic losses, as economic cooperation between Israelis and Palestinians disintegrates. By pursuing the economic pressure strategy, the losses for the Palestinians are even greater when viewed as a percentage of Gross Domestic Product.
The distinction between the Two-State Solution and the BDS plan is stark. BDS, a plan without a provision for security for Israel, raises a question of plausibility. With security being the overwhelming concern for Israelis, it is difficult to imagine a scenario in which Israel removes security from the West Bank without a Palestinian commitment to coexistence, regardless of boycotts and economic pressure.
As a case in point, BDS advocates within the Episcopal Church are pressing Episcopal leadership to embrace BDS, and have developed a new document to make their case. In a nearly 6,000 word document, there is almost no mention of security for Israel. The document also claims to be based on the “political realities and political landscape in Israel and Palestine”, but makes no mention of the problematic Palestinian political reality, particularly the bifurcated leadership situation between the Palestinian Authority and Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip and remains committed to the destruction of Israel.
The next Presbyterian General Assembly in 2016 will again be pressed to take actions which effectively align the PC(USA) with the BDS Movement. The most recent GA in 2014 made a clear statement that the PC(USA) does not endorse or want to be aligned with the BDS Movement. This was a wise decision and a position that should be firmly maintained.