On February 29th 2012 Florida’s House of Representatives surprisingly passed a bill supporting the one-state solution. The bill quotes the Bible to prove the Jewish right of the whole land spanning Israel and Palestine, ignores the Palestinians’ historical connection to the land and omits their existence. However, the bill comes as surprise in the sense that it calls for one law for all people who live on the land.
[T]he members of the Florida House of Representatives commend Israel for its cordial and mutually beneficial relationship with the United States and with the State of Florida and support Israel in its legal, historical, moral, and God-given right of self-governance and self-defense upon the entirety of its own lands, recognizing that Israel is neither an attacking force nor an occupier of the lands of others, and that peace can be afforded the region only through a whole and united Israel governed under one law for all people.
The bill’s bottom line is not that different from what many Palestinian activists have been calling for: one law for all people in the land between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea. But what is ironic about this resolution is the absence of Pro-Israel groups’ rage against it. When Palestinians advocate for a one-state solution, they are quickly accused of plotting to destroy the state of Israel. Florida’s House and Senate are using Bible references, denying the occupation, and proclaiming Israel’s right over the “unified land to endorse a one-state solution and there’s no backlash.
Abraham Foxman, the national director of the Anti Defamation league (ADL) said in a recent op-ed condemning Palestinian activists advocating a one-state solution: “Let’s be frank. The term “one-state solution” is a euphemism for the destruction of the Jewish state of Israel.” However, the ADL and Foxman didn’t give attention or condemn the Florida house resolution.
Perhaps Foxman and other supporters of Israel realized the stakes in clashing with those in support of the bill. After all many Evangelical Christians support for Israel is based on “Biblical interpretations” that sees Jewish control of the whole land as a must and compromising that belief that would be heresy. Also, this wave of support for a one-state solution is not limited to Florida. Last January the Republican National Committee passed a resolution similar to Florida’s bill.
J Street, a Jewish American lobby group advocating for the two-state solution realized that this is a major shift in America and tweeted that the resolution “confirms the decades-long bipartisan consensus on a two-state solution is shattered.”
However the wind of change regarding the one-state solution is also storming Israel itself. There are a growing number of Israelis talking about alternatives to the two-state solution. Some settlers, nationalists and even politicians are now openly talking about the one-state solution. Israeli Knesset speaker Reuven Rivlin, a leading member of the Likud told my colleague Noam Shezif that he supports one state:
There is a conflict in the Middle East between two entities, and they’re both right, each in their own way. This is our only home, and therefore all kinds of solutions can be found. One could establish a system in one state in which Judea and Samaria are jointly held. The Jews would vote for a Jewish parliament and the Palestinians for an Arab parliament, and we would create a system in which life is shared. But these are things that will take time. Anyone who thinks that there are shortcuts is talking nonsense. As long as Islamic fundamentalism thinks that Jews are forbidden to settle in the Holy Land, we have a problem. It will not be resolved by an agreement, even if we obtain a promise from all the Arab states that it will be fine.
So if people say to me: Decide − one state or division of the Land of Israel, I say that division is the bigger danger.
For the two-state solution supporters, time is not on their side. More Palestinians are losing faith in the Palestinian Authority and Hamas promises of an independent state. They don’t see the 20-year peace process to have brought them any closer to independence. Many Palestinians see the last decade of negotiations to have only worsened their life conditions. Facts on the ground are changing perceptions for Palestinians, Israelis, and foreigners alike. Time is running out and chances of creating a Palestinian state are becoming slimmer day after day. Some doubt that we might have crossed into the no turning point. Others like J Street and the American Task Force on PAlestine believe there is still hope for two-state solution. If they are right, they have very little time to make it happen.