The new reality that has existed on the ground since 2007, where the Palestinians have two separate mini-states in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, casts doubts as to the viability of the two-state solution.
Since the signing of the Oslo Accords in 1993, the Palestinians have systematically failed in laying the cornerstone for a Palestinian state that would exist alongside Israel.
With the help of the US and the Europeans, Yasser Arafat back then established a corrupt dictatorship called the Palestinian Authority. This was, in fact, a one-man show run by Arafat and hundreds of his corrupt cronies, who did almost nothing to build proper institutions.
Instead of building a hospital, Arafat and his men established a casino. Instead of providing jobs and houses to his people, Arafat was giving his wife $100,000 a month to support her shopping sprees in Paris.
Until today, Arafat's successors continue to blame Israel for the fact that the Palestinians still don't have their own state. Their main argument is that Israel's policy of settlement "expansion" and its security measures on the ground were - and remain - a major "obstacle" to the establishment of an independent Palestinian state.
But while these claims may be partially true, it is worth noting that Israel did not control the flow of international aid to the Palestinians. Israel did not stop Arafat from building hospitals and universities or creating new work opportunities for the young people.
The second intifada, or uprising, which began in September 2000, sent the message to Israel (and many countries) that the Palestinians are not really interested in having their own state next to Israel.
By resorting to suicide bombings and other terror activities, the Palestinians gave Israel a good reason to build the security fence in the West Bank. The violence, moreover, alienated the Jewish public, driving many of them into the open arms of right-wing parties in Israel that are totally opposed to making territorial concessions to the Palestinians.
After the Israeli pullout from the Gaza Strip, the Palestinian Authority had another chance to start building infrastructure for the long-awaited state. But instead of turning the Gaza Strip into the Singapore of the Middle East, the Palestinians turned the Gaza Strip into a base for radical Islamic organizations like Hamas and Islamic Jihad.
Since mid-2007, the Palestinians have two entities: one in the Gaza Strip that is run by Hamas and supported by Iran and Syria, and the other, a secular, powerless and corrupt regime of the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank.
The last war in the Gaza Strip has further deepened divisions between these two entities. Attempts by Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Yemen to patch up the differences between the Hamas state and the Palestinian Authority state have also been unsuccessful.
Today, it seems almost certain that the Palestinians will have to live with these two separate and rival entities for quite some time. Had it not been for the location of Israel - which separates these entities from each other - it's highly likely that we would have witnessed a new war in the Middle East. This time the war would have been between the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
Hence any talk about a two-state solution between the Israelis and the Palestinians at this stage is more irrelevant than ever. Any attempt to establish a physical or political connection between Abbas's West Bank and Hamas's Gaza Strip under the current circumstances is doomed to failure.
On the other hand, talk about a one-state solution is also irrelevant, especially given the fact that a majority of Jews are vehemently opposed to the idea. Besides, who said that the Palestinians are fighting to become Israeli citizens and vote for the Knesset (although many, in private, would welcome the idea)? The Palestinians, one must bear in mind, are struggling for separation from Israel, and not integration into the Jewish state.
Because the two-state solution and the one-state solution are not going to work for all the above-mentioned reasons, the time has come to consider other options. One idea that has been floating around lately is to involve the Jordanians and the Egyptians in running the affairs of the Palestinians in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
The Egyptians and Jordanians are already involved, to a certain degree, in helping the Palestinians in both entities. In recent years, the Egyptians have often found themselves involved in what's happening inside the Gaza Strip. The Jordanians have also lately increased their involvement in the affairs of their former citizens in the West Bank.
What is needed now is to exert pressure on Cairo and Amman to step up their involvement in what is happening in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Training Palestinian security forces is not enough. The two Arab countries should be more involved, even if that means deploying their own troops in these areas.
President Hosni Mubarak and King Hussein II do not like the idea. They prefer that the Palestinians remain Israel's problem alone. But the Palestinians really need the help of these two countries. As such, there is nothing wrong with trying a new solution - one that would place the West Bank and the Gaza Strip under the jurisdiction of Jordan and Egypt respectively until the Palestinians get their act together and start working toward establishing a good state. It is possible that, with the help of the Jordanians and the Egyptians, the Palestinians might move faster toward achieving their goal.