JERUSALEM — Supporters of a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict generally start with a moral argument: Both peoples deserve the rights of self-determination and sovereignty; one should not rule over the other. Lately, President Obama and liberal American Jewish leaders also frame their case in security terms, saying Israel cannot survive as a Jewish democracy without ending its occupation of Palestinian territories.
But how about $173 billion as incentive for a peace deal?
That is how much a new report by the RAND Corporation says the Israeli and Palestinian economies stand to gain over the next decade if an independent Palestine were to emerge tomorrow — admittedly a development that might require divine intervention. It translates to an average per capita income increase of $1,000 (36 percent) for every Palestinian in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and $2,200 (5 percent) for each Israeli.
If that is not enough, RAND calculates the cost of four other possible situations, including another violent uprising by Palestinians, which it estimates would shrink the gross domestic product in the West Bank and Gaza by 46 percent and in Israel by 10 percent, or $4,330 less for each Israeli, $1,130 for each Palestinian.