The curious case of the Gaza-bound Iranian weapons ship
By James Spencer - 08 March 2014
Welcome to ECFR's Two-State Stress Test (TSST).
ECFR's new innovative project – the Two State Stress Test provides an annual health-check on whether developments across seven different areas are serving to strain or sustain a possible two-state outcome for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
The results of the 2013 assessment can be seen below on the Stress Test Mixer. Click on any category below to find out more. A summary of the key findings can be found here. An explanation of the TSST can be found here and the entire test text in pdf format can be downloaded here
What is the Two-State Stress Test?
The US, EU, UN and Arab League as well as Israeli and Palestinian leaders themselves have all endorsed the idea that the long-standing Israeli-Palestinian conflict should be resolved by way of a two-state outcome. The starting point of the TSST is that its realisation hinges on certain conditions whose current standing the stress test aims to assess.
Categories and Score
To this end, the TSST looks at seven categories. Within each category, a number of relevant indicators have been assessed for their impact on straining or sustaining a possible two-state outcome and then an overall assessment has been made to draw the category score. All scores are on a scale of 0 to 5, where 0 indicates that the issue strongly sustains a two-state solution, and 5 indicates that the issue strains the chances for the creation of a two-state solution. The main findings can be found briefly below and more in-depth here. A six-person expert advisory committee of respected Israelis, Palestinians and international analysts of the conflict was engaged in helping frame and make these determinations and in determining the relative weights attributed to the indicators and the final scores reached for each category (details of the expert advisory committee can be found here).
What are the main findings of the 2013 TSST?
At the moment the largest strain on prospects for the two-state outcome are presented by two categories (i) the territorial issue and particularly the continued expansion of Israeli settlements both in the West Bank and in East Jerusalem –at a conspicuously faster pace since peace talks resumed; and (ii) the dynamics of the Israeli political and public debate which notably combine little public confidence in the talks with a cabinet and ruling coalition a number of whose influential members openly oppose two states and advocate variations on an annexation of the West Bank. This is only partially mitigated by the public still broadly being supportive of a two-state outcome.
The factor that comes out as most sustaining the two-state solution at the moment is the renewed US-led diplomatic efforts. The Two State Stress Test indicates that a lessening of this intensity would leave the prospects for the two-state solution even more fragile.
Strains on the two state option are generated at a lesser but notable level from all other categories - a gradually worsening situation in Jerusalem and on security questions, and by two factors less frequently taken into consideration: the Palestinian political and public debate and the refugee issue.
For more information please contact ECFR's MENA team