Edition 2: No. 43
Is a two-state solution no longer possible?
In a strident assault on the unrefined plotting of the Israel regime, Nachum Barnea, one of Israel’s most influential wrote a column concluding that “the settlement project has reached its goal: the situation on the ground is irreversible, and the two-state solution is no longer possible”. That was not merely a novel wrapping up of the state of affairs. It was a bold description of the truth.
The fact that such views are gaining prominence in the public arena and in journalistic circles- even those one would consider sedate- underlines just how deadly the Zionist regime is as it plans a subtle, yet brazen, attempt to indulge in the ‘ethnic cleansing’ of the Palestinian territories.
The situation is unpalatable to say the least:Israel’s extreme right argues for theocratic apartheid and the moderate right builds its political program on demographic illusions – or thinks that Palestinians will settle for some disconnected Bantustans. The centre and the left are silent for the simple reason that they do not have a coherent position. They prefer to talk about social and economic issues and disregard the elephant in the middle of the room.
Carlo Strenger in an article “Requiem for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict” asserts his disappointment with the political processes saying: “I know one thing is sure: the two-state solution is dead”.Israel’s extreme right argues for theocratic apartheid and the moderate right builds its political program on demographic illusions – or thinks that Palestinians will settle for some disconnected Bantustans. The centre and the left are silent for the simple reason that they do not have a coherent position. They prefer to talk about social and economic issues and disregard the elephant in the middle of the room.
The Palestinian Authority is now wary of the provisions of the 1993 Oslo Accords, which outlines a two-state solution to the conflict with Israel. The PA is now into developing the concept of a binational state between the Jordan River and Mediterranean Sea.
In a paper, entitled “The Political Situation in Light of Developments with the U.S. Administration and Israeli Government and Hamas’s Continued Coup d’etat,” written by Saeb Erekat, Chief negotiator for the PA he raises the “possibility of announcing the nullification of the Oslo Accords and even the dissolution of the Palestinian Authority. The chaos that would result from such a move, the document states, would forceIsraelto reassert military control over the entire theWest Bank”.
It is only too clear that a genuinely sovereign Palestinian state is a distant dream, even just a mirage.Israelis inserting insurmountable blockages to consequential Palestinian statehood.Israel’s illegal settlements in the West Bank andEast Jerusalem, and the 600,000 Jewish settlers are the ultimate byword a solution that grows further and further out of reach with each passing day.
Says George Bisharat, Professor, UC Hastings College of the Law: “A One-State Solution for Israel and Palestine Continuing to chase the two-state mirage under these circumstances will only enable continuing Israeli colonization of the West Bank and entrench a new form of systematic ethno-religious discrimination, where only Jews enjoy full rights — to travel, housing, employment, education, and other basics of a free life”.
For now ethnic privilege for Jews is currently institutionalized not only in the segregated Jewish communities Israel has established in the West Bank, but also in more than 35 laws within Israel that bestow benefits exclusively to its Jewish citizens.
Participants in a “one state” conference held recently at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School observed that “A growing number of forward-looking Palestinians and Israelis are rejecting Jewish ethnic privilege as both ethically insupportable and politically unsustainable, and are opting for equal rights…Recognizing that Israeli Jews and Palestinian Arabs are destined to live together, the conference participants were seeking ways to share power equitably between the two communities”.
Strikingly, even Israel’s right wing is beginning to give consideration to the notion of a single state: no borders would have to be drawn,Jerusalem would remain undivided, and Jewish settlements in East Jerusalem and the West Bank– at least if desegregated — could remain where they are. Current Knesset speaker Reuven Rivlin, for example, stated in a 2010 interview in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz: “I would rather Palestinians as citizens of this country over dividing the land up.” He further advocated “true partnership” between Jews and Palestinians and relations based on mutual respect and absolute equality.
While growing numbers of people around the world are beginning to call for a single state, the solution still remains at the fringes of the conversation about Palestine and Israel. Lest, we opt for simplistic kneejerk results, there are questions to be considered:
What do advocates of a one-state solution mean when the call for a single state in Israel/Palestine? What is the basis for their call? What are its legal and moral implications? The one-state solution would mean absorbing the West Bank and perhaps even the Gaza Strip and all of its Palestinian population into a greater Israel, where everyone would have equal rights. “What we are talking about is a state which represents all of its citizens, where there isn’t preferential treatment given in laws or in policies to one’s religion,” says Diana Buttu, a former legal adviser to the Palestinian negotiating team., “where in fact the issue of one’s religion has practically no say in terms of what goes on in a person’s life.”
It is, however, easier said than done. It is an idea that many Israelis view with dismay -Israel would no longer be predominantly Jewish.
Suggested further reading
- Demise of the Racist Two-State Solution in Palestine
- Palestine, the UN and the One-State solution
3. Palestinians threaten to adopt one-state solution
4. The One-State Solution
5. ICAHD endorses one-state solution, warns against “warehousing” of Palestinians
6. Our vision of a just one-state solution — Jeff Halper of ICAHD