With his tenure in the United Nations coming to a close, outgoing senior UN official Robert Piper has some chilling words for the United States and Israel, calling for a one-state solution that would finally end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Piper, the UN Coordinator for Humanitarian and Development Activities in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, made these alarming remarks while giving a speech in Olso, Norway in which he bluntly criticized the lack of progress in relations between Palestine and Israel.
“In the final analysis, I believe that diplomatic and political solutions—including a one-state solution—must be brought back to the table,” said Piper. He went on to argue that “the two-state solution has in effect been dead for several years now and is unlikely to be revived in the foreseeable future without bold leadership, real commitment and willingness to challenge existing authority, especially on the part of the United States and Israel.”
Criticizing both the US and its close ally, Israel, Piper described a “stark and disconcerting reality,” arguing that “peaceful coexistence is becoming increasingly untenable.” His next target was the United States, which he said was largely responsible for furthering the deadlock. He argued that the US provided frequent vocal support of a two-state solution while systematically providing diplomatic cover and economic and military aid that enabled the exponential expansion of Israeli settlements in the West Bank.
Piper concluded his speech with a plea for a shift in the narrative and a commitment to an immersive, inclusive and creative approach to the political process. He suggested that the US and Israel needed to make a “critical reassessment” of their respective positions and that all sides in the conflict must “embrace the idea of a pluralistic, multi-lingual, multi-ethnic society,” as a way to move towards lasting peace.
As his tenure nears a close, Robert Piper’s comments serve as an urgent reminder of what is at stake—peaceful coexistence between Palestinians and Israelis. Although the prospect of a one-state solution seems distant at the moment, Piper’s plea that significant, forward-looking leadership to nurture it must not be forgotten.