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Why we can't stop having the one- or two-state debate

The absence of an honest one- vs. two-state debate prevents progress in the reconciliation between Jews and Palestinians in Israel/Palestine.

By Dubi Kanengisser

(Illustrative photo by Ryan Rodrick Beiler/Activestills.org) “One-state advocates have mainly engaged in rolling their eyes at the foolishness of those who still hold on to the carcass of the two-state solution.”

In a recent piece, Noam Sheizaf berated the entire gamut of participants in the debate surrounding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict for wasting time by arguing about whether the two-state solution is dead or only mostly dead, and whether the one-state solution is impossible or merely improbable. The trigger for this particular piece was a text published by Prof. Ian Lustick in the New York Times.

I believe Sheizaf has it exactly backwards and Lustick’s piece is a wonderful example of the actual problem. Contrary to Sheizaf’s argument, there is no debate “between supporters of the two-state solution and those who support a one-state idea.” Instead, there are two internal debates. Each group is unable to converse with the other because a key presumption within both is that the other group is simply blind or not in touch with reality. Lustick, for example, calls the “two-state slogan” a “comforting blindfold.” Similarly, supporters of the two-state solution look upon one-state supporters as foolishly deluded. In as much as they refer to the one-state solution at all, it is only as a caution: we must support a two-state solution because the alternative is a one-state solution!

Click here for +972’s full coverage of the diplomatic process

In fact, it is two-state solution advocates, not one-state advocates, who are most likely to posit imaginary future deadlines for the implementation of a two-state solution as a means for cowing recalcitrant politicians. Like predictions of the coming of the Messiah, the failure of these divinations never seems to deter their followers when a new deadline is set in the near future. So powerful is this fear of the one-state solution that some supporters of the two states have even suggested that the PA demand a one-state solution in order to pressure the government to negotiate with the Palestinians more seriously toward a two-state solution.

Meanwhile, the one-state advocates have mainly engaged in rolling their eyes at the foolishness of those who still hold on to the carcass of the two-state solution. Far from trying to actually convince anyone of the possibility of the one-state solution, or indeed finding ways to make this eventuality more palatable for people on both sides, one-state supporters simply point out what they see as a plain truth – that this is an ex-solution, and await everybody else to come to their senses.

This is often driven by the logic of inevitability that is behind much of the one-state thinking, and Lustick is a prime example of that. He assumes, through an analysis very similar to that of Sheizaf, that the one-state reality on the ground will eventually bring about the disappearance of the Palestinian Authority, and thus the removal of the last veil hiding this reality, forcing Israel to unabashedly pursue its oppression of the Palestinian people. Next he describes a nightmarish scenario taken directly from the experience of Apartheid South Africa, which will finally lead to the inevitable redemption via a one-state solution.

With two-staters seeing one-staters as boogeymen, and with one-staters believing in the inevitability of their solution, there is hardly any room for debate between the two groups, let alone one that is our “favorite pastime.” It is in fact the absence of such a debate that makes progress in the resolution of the conflict nearly impossible. For it must be the duty of the supporters of the one-state solution to explain not why it is inevitable, but why it is desirable. So long as two-state advocates see one state as a hellish future of war and misery, they will continue to strive to delay it, inevitable as it may be. And so long as the one-state advocates cannot put forward an appealing vision, one that does not pass through anguish and death on its way to implementation, they will find few who are willing to choose this path.

Sheizaf’s admonition that we must cease discussing our visions of the future and focus on the current reality alone ignores the fact that our ideas about what the future holds are critical to our understanding of our options now. If a one-state future is the nightmare that two-state supporters fear then we must avoid a one-state solution at all costs, and security concerns will overrule the legitimate demands of the Palestinians.

If, however, the one-state advocates can put forward a positive vision – one in which the democratization of the entire population living between the Jordan River and the sea leads to a peaceful reconciliation, and each community can preserve its autonomy and culture while sharing the land under a joint government – then and only then can a new road be paved to work together toward a solution that respects the needs and legitimate wishes of all. This is not the vision of an inevitable one-state solution. This will have to be the product of a herculean political effort.

But that requires an honest and open debate between those who support the one-state solution and those who support a two-state solution, to reveal their underlying reasoning and motivation. This debate, alas, is sorely missing.

Dubi Kanengisser is a PhD candidate of political science at the University of Toronto, studying the relationship between ideas and political institutions. Dubi also writes the Hebrew-language blog, “Can’t Hear You!”.

Two state vs. one state debate is a waste of time, political energy
One or two states? The status quo is Israel’s rational choice
Why it’s time to discuss the one-state solution 

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    1. Lisa K

      The late, great Edward Said, may his memory be for a blessing, wrote this essay, “Truth & Reconciliation” in 1999:


      Personally, I think it says it all. While Said concludes that the the only just & workable solution is a binational state in some form (e.g., federation) with equal rights for all its citizens, he points out that both sides need to come to terms that both peoples are here to stay, recognize their mutual rights & humanity, and adjust their aspirations accordingly. Whether the end-game is one state or two, unless they go through a process of truth & reconciliation, both sides are doomed to unending conflict. If the conclusion is a binational democracy, then both sides have to examine their nationalist ideals as well, and adjust accordingly.

      The question for me is, how do we do that, given that there is one state now, as Noam Sheizaf pointed out, where one side has all the power in every sense of the word? How do we create incentive on the part of the power side, the Israeli government & public, to give up their privilege for the greater long-term good for both sides? This is where outside pressure comes in, which is currently the BDS movement. That alone is not enough of course – those working for a just peace on both sides & internationally need to keep the focus on human rights & shine a spotlight on the reality of the current situation which is one apartheid state.

      “The alternatives are unpleasantly simple: either the war continues (along with the onerous cost of the current peace process) or a way out , based on peace and equality (as in South Africa after apartheid) is actively sought, despite the many obstacles. Once we grant that Palestinians and Israelis are there to stay, then the decent conclusion has to be the need for peaceful coexistence and genuine reconciliation. Real self-determination. Unfortunately, injustice and belligerence don’t diminish by themselves: they have to be attacked by all concerned.” Edward Said

      Reply to Comment
      • Kolumn9

        So, let’s see, my options are either the continuation of the status quo or to live in a country where I will be treated at worst like a Jew in Iraq, Syria and Egypt and at best like a Christian in Iraq, Syria or Egypt. Pass. Knock yourself out with BDS. Nothing you can do can be worse for me than your preferred scenario.

        Oh, and the constant references to the paradise of South Africa are just getting boring. I know enough South Africans to know that it is no model for emulation.

        Long-term good of my side my ass.

        Reply to Comment
        • Palestinian

          Dont you want to be the second Jewish minister of finance of Iraq ? Christian Syrians flourished in Syria before 2011 and Christian Iraqis prospered before the Zionist-supported invasion in 2003.

          Reply to Comment
          • Kolumn9

            Before, before, before, before. And at some point it all ends and the Muslim Arabs slaughter or expel the minorities.

            I am sure the Iraqi Christians are very happy right now to have once prospered in Iraq before being massacred and forced out through no fault of their own.

            Reply to Comment
          • Palestinian

            Oh you want to be the PM …dont be greedy!
            I’m sure Christian and Muslim Iraqis were happier before the Zio-supported (and planned) invasion of their country.FYI the number of Muslims killed in Syria and Iraq exceeds the number of Christians killed in both countries.

            “Before” is in the past ,Zionist Jews should get over the past and stop abusing it to whitewash crimes and state terrorism.

            Reply to Comment
          • The Trespasser

            >.FYI the number of Muslims killed in Syria and Iraq exceeds the number of Christians killed in both countries.

            It only proves that Muslims does not really care who are they killing.

            Reply to Comment
          • Palestinian

            Well Jews ,Christians and Muslims participated directly or indirectly in killings and massacres in Iraq.

            Reply to Comment
          • The Trespasser

            If Christians and Jews who lived under Muslim rule as 4th grade citizens (after Muslim women and dogs) should have been happy, than why Muslims have a problem living as a 2nd grade citizens in a Jewish state?

            Reply to Comment
    2. Aaron Gross

      This statement by the author is false: “Each group is unable to converse with the other because a key presumption within both is that the other group is simply blind or not in touch with reality.”

      If you go read Noam’s article, you’ll find plenty of substantive argument that engages the one-state position. For instance, his comparison to the Pied-Noir in Algeria. I’ve made that same point lots of times myself. I’ve never gotten an answer to it.

      Similarly with questions about security. Will former IDF soldiers and Hamas militants serve side-by-side in the new army, or what? The only kind of answer I’ve seen is, “We have to learn to live together.”

      Similarly with your remark about preserving ethnic “autonomy and culture,” and its obvious contradiction with liberal principles such as nondiscrimination in housing and so on. Critics ask how that contradiction can be resolved, but I’ve yet to see a real answer.

      If there are good, substantive replies to questions like this, I’d love to see them. But I’ve read lots of pro-one-state articles at +972, and none of them, not one, engages people like Noam on the points they’re raising.

      Reply to Comment
      • Did the Pied-Noir vote in French elections? I know not. Was there a three thousand year old warrant for their lived land within what many believe to be the most important book collection in the world, the only redemption for national salvation? Were those who so believed encouraged to settle at territorial margins as a gambit to either territorial expansion or bargain chips in negotiation? Did the Pied-Noir hold ministries in mainland government, their supporters in other parties as well apparently necessary for a stable coalition? Yes, it is logically possible to withdraw the settlers; whether evolving controlling Israeli ideology can get there is the question. I know not, but have become quite sceptical. That is not an answer to your query, but puts some of the onerous on you to account for how you shift internal coalitions, and whether you really want all the consequences of that.

        As to a One State army of mutual haters, One State is not a negotiated full settlement. You can begin with neutral resolution of ongoing contract disputes in which settlers, Israeli proper resident citizens, and Palestinians will be subject to the same rules and (real) process. You don’t have to alter residency or cultural identity. I suspect those will alter under the proposed engine with prolonged development. If you want such a federated, at least initially insulated Two States, you will have to provide real neutral party resolution on clear principles of contract rights to compensate for the obvious presence of Israeli security. This view is neither Two States make them go away and never come back nor One State let’s start afresh in mutual understanding and love. Without such federated States, I think you are trapped into de facto One State with civic convulsions increasing over decades. Oslo was an attempt to make things go away. To pacify security, you are going to have to give economic rights. Yes, eventually these will morph into other rights. But isn’t the Israeli logic one of incrementally holding on in any case? Federated Two States gives a shot at that, and I think the US would find it palatable. There is no utopia here, only struggle to direct future struggle.

        Reply to Comment
        • Aaron Gross

          The political problem of evacuating the settlements depends only on the proportion of settlers and their supporters in the electorate, not the current government. Governments change amazingly fast with public opinion. You’re right that if settlers get up to around 50 percent of the electorate, there will be a problem. But that’s not going to happen in the near future.

          Oslo was not “an attempt to make things go away.” It was an attempt, by Israelis at least, to create a state of Palestine in Judea (yes, excluding Jerusalem), Samaria, and Gaza.

          A federation of two territorial states, as opposed to two peoples, doesn’t solve the minority problem, including what’s now called the settler problem. Each state in the federation has an ethnic minority which will be treated worse than the majority. (That’s assuming that Palestine has at least some political autonomy.)

          Most important, your two-state federation, with Israel “temporarily” in charge of security, will be viewed by Palestinians, correctly, as a continuation of the Zionist occupation of Palestine – all of Palestine. In effect it’s very close to the classic Likud vision of Palestinian “autonomy” in Israeli-ruled territory, whatever the intention.

          Reply to Comment
          • I suspect the Likud version did not envision a neutral court system on civil law.

            Reading you, by elimination, You either have One State, or Two States with forced removal of minorities.

            Reply to Comment
          • Aaron Gross

            My guess is that the Likud vision of autonomy included an autonomous Palestinian judiciary in the territories, but I don’t know. But if you’re proposing a single, centralized judicial system for all, then you’re not talking about a federation of two states.

            You misread me on minorities. I acknowledge that nation-states unavoidably involve a minority problem. My ideal “solution” is two states, with either both states having “oppressed” minorities (if the settlers stay), or with one state having an “oppressed” minority and the other state being founded on complete ethnic cleansing (if the settlers are transferred).

            My point is simply that any nation-state based solution, mine (independent states) or yours (federation of states), unavoidably entails a minority problem.

            Reply to Comment
    3. Deborah

      There was such a debate at a conference at York University in 2010. I attended and found it very interesting, because it forced me to keep thinking of the pros and cons of different options. But that moment may have passed.

      Reply to Comment
      • David, are you not in the least bit bothered by the obvious irrationality of taking one example and treating it as predictive of the future interactions of two people. I assume we can safely put in the camp of Jewish state forever, Palestinian state never.

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        • The Trespasser

          What truly irrational is belief that Palestinian Arabs en masse are willing to peacefully coexist with Jews.

          Reply to Comment
      • sh

        Not so fast. Interesting how this morning the army is backtracking on its initial assumption that this, or the death of a soldier in Hebron, was a terror attack.

        Reply to Comment
        • The Trespasser

          As a matter of fact, both killings are acts of love and friendship, Arabian style.

          Reply to Comment
          • Average American

            “Arabian style”? You are an Anti-Arabian. You use hate-speech against Arabs. You want to deny an Arab’s right to exist. You want to deny a homeland for the Arabian people. You deny that Arabian people have been in that region for thousands of years. You smear the Arabian people with lies. You’re a dirty Anti-Arabian. I should report you to the Anti-Arabian Office and have you arrested by the ADF. The point I’m trying to build here is that by inserting Arab instead of Semite, the standard Israeli rhetoric is exposed as one-way, for their favor only, not principles to be evenly applied to all men.

            Reply to Comment
          • The Trespasser

            >“Arabian style”? You are an Anti-Arabian. You use hate-speech against Arabs.

            An Arab invites a Jew to visit his home and slaughters that stupid Jew when the Jew arrives.

            At the same time, another Arab marries a 9 y.o. girl, rapes and kills her.

            Hate speech? Hm. Inhumane deeds, rather.

            >You want to deny an Arab’s right to exist.

            Yep. I don’t belive that folk who have a lovely tradition of murdering female relatives for dating “wrong” men, beheading opponents and consuming their hearts has a right (or need) to exist.

            >You want to deny a homeland for the Arabian people.

            Arabian people have their homeland in Arabian peninsula.

            >You deny that Arabian people have been in that region for thousands of years.

            Thousands. Right. Tens of thousands. Millions.

            >You smear the Arabian people with lies.

            As a matter of fact, I had not lied even one single time.

            >You’re a dirty Anti-Arabian.

            I am fairly clean, actually.

            >I should report you to the Anti-Arabian Office and have you arrested by the ADF.

            Knock yourself out.

            >The point I’m trying to build here is that by inserting Arab instead of Semite, the standard Israeli rhetoric is exposed as one-way, for their favor only, not principles to be evenly applied to all men.

            You have no point. You can’t apply same principles to cannibals and people with a stricter diet.

            Reply to Comment
          • Average American

            Wow. Do most of the people you know feel the same way? Do you think most people in your country feel the same way as you?

            Reply to Comment
          • Average American

            Let’s talk about love and friendship Israeli style. Picture the “settlement movement” in your own neighborhood. You walk out your front door one morning and some neighbors are building a playhouse on your front lawn. “What are you doing?” you ask. “We’re building this playhouse for our kids, not your kids, just for our kids.” “On my lawn?” you ask. “Oh it’s not your lawn, God gave it to us for all time. Go off of it.” “You’re crazy!” you say. “Look, don’t irritate us, we already told you. God gave us your front yard, and your back yard, and your whole house for the exclusive use of us, not you.” “I’m not going anywhere” you say. “You don’t like our kind of people! You’re threatening our existence by not moving away!” “You’re hysterical” you say. “Ah well, who knows how God works, maybe a grenade will go off under your car one morning, then maybe you’ll move away.”

            Reply to Comment
          • Tzutzik

            We know you are simple minded, Average, but don’t assume that everyone else is.

            Their land? Only their land?

            God gave it to us? Let’s keep God out of it. This was never our land before it was taken from us?

            Now, Mr Average,seeing that you are into accusations about land stealing, why don’t you return to Europe and leave the land that you live on to American Indians? Or are you just a hypocrite?

            Reply to Comment
          • Average American

            It is fair for you to ask why don’t I give land I live on back to the American Indians. Let’s discuss that. In the case of the Indians, we have an invading self-important militaristic colonizer killing them off or encapsulating them in tiny “reserves” in a determined manner for the benefit of the colonizer only. So far nothing different than present-day Israel. But in North America there weren’t any other people on the land before the American Indians, due to continental shifts and the isolation of the continent, so we would know pretty much to whom to give the land back. However, in the case of Israel, many different people lived for centuries on the same land that exists there today. So to whom would the land be given back and for what reasons? There is not an objective way to determine who was first or even who was more numerous. So the Jewish claim is no better than any of the other people who have lived there for centuries. Oops! But if you add guns and bullets and subtract law (such as documents, deeds, property maps, and so on), now you’re back to a valid comparison of the colonization of North America and the colonization of the Middle East.

            Reply to Comment
          • Tzutzik

            @Acerage American
            Ergo, according to you at least, it should be a clear cut case that European Americans should hand over the land to it’s native population, the American Indians. Why don’t you as an individual lead by example?

            Moreover, according to you, more than one people can lay claim to Palestine. Well then, what are you complaining about? Most Israelis go along with the two state solution that was voted by the UN in 1948. The Arabs were the ones who rejected that idea and they claimed that Palestine is exclusively Arab land. Many of them still stick by that point of view, just ask a frequent poster named ‘Palestinian’ who posts in + 972. You might want to hear the same claim by Hamas. Your argument should be with them, not us, average Israelis, who are for the two state solution.

            Reply to Comment
          • Average American

            I did not know that most citizens of Israel are in favor of a two-state solution. Makes sense though, keeps things separated. Can’t get along when you’re together. Now comes the thorny question of who gets what land. Have you seen Mr. Bennet’s idea, disconnected Palestinian islands in the sea of The Jewish State. Not really a free state for them. Surrounded and controlled. What do you think of his idea?

            Reply to Comment
          • Tzutzik

            Sea of Jewish state?

            Have you looked at the map lately? Israel is living in a sea of Arab states. It’s land mass represents about 0.1% of the total land mass that Arabs own, yet Israel gets by.

            As for Mr Bennett, he has his ideas, others have theirs. How about letting the so called negotiations determine the outcome. I don’t think this round will bring results because the Palestinians still suffer under the illusion that they can have their cake and eat it too and that Israel is stupid enough to buckle under their political pressure and place it’s head in a noose. But they are very much mistaken.

            Reply to Comment
          • Average American

            Who would you say in your government most closely represents your points of view? Who would you vote for to take care of this problem?

            Are there other problems in your country, like any country, that are also important but get less attention than they should?

            Reply to Comment
          • Tzutzik

            Whoever looks after Israel’s best interests.

            Who do you vote for? The ones who represents the interests of those who hate America?

            Reply to Comment
          • The Trespasser

            >Picture the “settlement movement” in your own neighborhood.

            Well, it was not quite as you are trying to picture.

            …I walk out your front door one morning and some strange but familiar looking people are building a tent camp on your front lawn. “What are you doing?” you ask. “We’re building this camp for us. Not you, just us. We have nowhere else to go, so we would like to live on the part of the lawn you are not using”

            I go back inside, bring out a rifle and kill some of that people…

            Now, that would be a much better analogy.

            Reply to Comment
          • Average American

            I am happy maybe you gave a glimmer of hope. You said “we have nowhere else to go, can we use the part of the lawn you’re not using”. It could be either side who says this to the other, a cooperation between the two sides of this conflict, neither side dictating. A return to the kibbutz idea, communal work and communal benefits, yes?

            The other part, the rifle part of what you said, I don’t think you understood my analogy. The guys building the playhouse were the Jews, and the guy coming out of his front door was the Arab. Are you authorizing the guy coming out of his front door to shoot the guys building the playhouse? That would be fair.

            Reply to Comment
          • Tzutzik

            “The guys building the playhouse were the Jews, and the guy coming out of his front door was the Arab. ”

            But, but, but didn’t you say this before?

            “However, in the case of Israel, many different people lived for centuries on the same land that exists there today. So to whom would the land be given back and for what reasons? There is not an objective way to determine who was first or even who was more numerous”

            So how can your analogy possibly stand up to scrutiny? It implies that the land belonged to Arabs and the Jews are usurpers.

            Try and be consistent at least, Average whatever you are.

            Reply to Comment
          • Tzutzik

            Oh and Average, you still didn’t answer my question about why you don’t show personal example (or courage even) and return to wherever your ancestors came from so that the native American Indians can at least have the land that you personally occupy, back?

            Seeing that you are so ready to criticize others (us), Just tell us: when are you personally going to show an example how to do it???? Or is it just easier to preach to others?

            Reply to Comment
          • Average American

            That is a valid question. How would I or you go about doing that. Perhaps it is impossible for either of us to un-do what has been done by a powerful government. Perhaps it is fruitless to discuss it except with the of frustration of the governed.

            Reply to Comment
          • Tzutzik

            But, Mr ‘Average’, I don’t want to undo the state of Israel.

            Are you saying that you would like to undo America if you could?

            If you are, then you are anything but an ‘Average American’. Be honest and use another alias instead. Maybe you could try to use the alias of ‘NOT Average American’? Or ‘Atypical American’?

            Reply to Comment
          • Average American

            Maybe you’re right. Maybe I should stay out of your country’s business. Maybe I should stay out of any aspect of your country. No foreign aid. No siding with you on the UN security council. No purchases of your exports. No help in Iraq, no help in Syria, no help in Iran. Let you fight it out on your own using your own sons and daughters, if that’s the way you want it. Fine with me.

            Reply to Comment
          • Tzutzik

            Wow, I didn’t know that you are so influential! You are not average at all are you?

            Oh but wait, I think America, like Israel, is a democracy. So you only have one vote. Which I am sure you are eager to surrender because you dearly want to return America to the Native American Indians and you want to return to the old country, right? 🙂

            Reply to Comment
          • Average American

            Israel is not a democracy. Since everyone in America has an equal vote, I will happily spend my vote that way and encourage others to do so also.

            Reply to Comment
          • Tzutzik

            Average, How do you know Israel is not a democracy? Have you ever been here? Arab citizens of Israel vote like anyone else. They have people in high office (the Israeli parliament and the high court).

            Is there discrimination in Israel? Yes, by individuals. Even many individuals. But are you saying there is no discrimination anywhere else? Including the US? If you are saying that, then you are either trying to lie to yourself or to others or both. At least I am honest about reality, are you?

            Now you can go and vote whichever way you like. I cannot give a fuck about it. One thing is for sure. You came here with pre-conceived and firm ideas. Nothing that was said or not said here changed your mind, nor were you intending to change your mind when you came here. You just thought you will have a bit of fun by indulging in a bit of Israel/Jew bashing. And now you will go away from here and will vote the same way that you intended to vote before you came here. Good luck with that. The good thing is that you have only one vote and let’s be generous, you may be able to influence another 1000 votes (am I being generous?) so go and do your worst. But remember: Israel survived in 1948 without American help. I bet you didn’t know that between 1948 and 1967, America applied an arms embargo against Israel. 1948 was the hardest battle in Israel’s history yet Israel survived it without Anerican help. But that’s in the past. Right now, America considers Israel as it’s ally. And I doubt that your vote against us will change that. By the way, who are you going to vote for, the Kul Klux Klan?

            Reply to Comment
    4. sh

      According to what I read about the Eretz Shalom movement
      the situation is not as polarized as described above. There are also people who don’t care whether the solution is one or two-states so long as the agreement ends the abusive situation in which there’s democracy for some and suffering, insecurity and injustice for others. It’s settlers who formed Eretz Shalom and what’s interesting is that they’d have no problem at all with the idea of living under Palestinian rule so long as they can stay where they are.

      There are also people like me maybe. I live within the Green Line and would swap places with a settler who doesn’t want to live under Palestinian rule, if that’d help any to bring the yearned-after peace in our time. That said, I’ve no objection to one state either if enough of the people living between the river and the sea think we could make a go of it.

      And then there’s the no-state solution http://972mag.com/introducing-the-no-state-soltion/6608/ as laid out by Yuval Ben-Ami in the early days of +972. Scroll down to the bit that starts “Currently in Europe, a Belgian is still a Belgian, but that is just one category in a chain. You are first of all human, then a European, then a Belgian, then a Walloon, then a Liegois. ….”

      He continues:
      If we had here two national entities, each with a constitution that allows a limited bias of “national character”, and if both were members of the EU, then perhaps the whole juvenile question of who “rules” the place would become less meaningful, as it does now in Alsace, for example. Movement would be free between the two parts. One could live wherever one chose to and worship wherever one chose to.” Etc.
      Better still, a Mid-East Union with our neighboring countries, Turkey, … http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_DczSY_53mg

      This is all minority stuff because the majority in Israel, where the power is, isn’t interested in a Palestinian state. But remember, Gush Emunim and the Temple Mount Faithful were pooh-poohed away as fringe in the beginning too.

      Reply to Comment
    5. Shmuel

      @Dubi Kanengisser

      Excellent article. Your description of how the two sides talk AT each other rather than WITH each other is spot on!

      And yes we each have our assumptions but never the twains shall meet.

      Having said that, I as a two stater, expect the advocates of the one state to put my mind at rest about my concerns with what they advocate. In my arguments with them, I went to great detail telling them why I don’t think it would work for us Jews, at least for the foreseeable future.

      Most of the time my points get ignored. On the rare occasion when someone does respond, it goes something like this: “get over the ghetto mentality of your mind, only togetherness solves differences”. Very reassouring (NOT!!!).

      Reply to Comment
    6. Shmuel

      “Christian Syrians flourished in Syria before 2011”

      How is life for them now?

      “and Christian Iraqis prospered before the Zionist-supported invasion in 2003.”

      Yep, blame EVERYTHING on Zionists. Arabs are never at fault for how things ARE now.

      And before Zionism, it was even simpler. Jews were the cause of everything that went bad in the world. People like you are nostalgic for the return of that SIMPLE world right?

      Reply to Comment
    7. Two States fails because one of the States will not be a State. Israel will retain essential security control, including IDF incursion, and this will elide into other political control, the new State officers saying “we cannot do X because they are still here.”

      One State fails because the dominant socio-economy has no reason to alter the present zero sum game, and the subordinate socio-economy cannot develop the norms and restraints of controlled wins and losses. It’s like calling the American Superbowl a common party without a winner.

      Instead of arguing for One or Two, why not develop the WB economy through an autonomous agency (controlled by neither party), with a neutral arbitrator /court to adjudicate issues of contract (as a start). The PA might gain stability, and Israel might begin movement to a binational federation. Internationally, such a federation, if evolved, would be One State. But by focusing on common enforceable rights of contract (not truly equal because of WB mobility restrictions), one can at least explore the possibility of cultural regional autonomy under a single security State.

      Two States is absurd because there will not be two States; admit that, but force Israelis operating economically in the what ever is left of the WB to be subject to a common economic civil court. One State is not about equal citizenship but single control. An economic confederation with rights of contract lies in between. One Staters begin with the failed definition of “State” for one of the States, but then move to a forced integrated One utopia. One State as outcome is inevitable given security dominance but no utopia of constitutional democracy. Security dominance is going to create issues of grievance. WB Palestinians have no court of grievance with Israelis of any kind. Since economies will link, give them that on contract issues. Political federation might then parse out differently later. A key test on the Israeli side would be whether settlers can be forced into such a common civil court of contract and title.

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      • The Trespasser

        >why not develop the WB economy through an autonomous agency

        Because developing a prosperous economy in WB would require immense investments and would take more than one decade.

        Who is gonna pay for that?
        Israel? Highly unlikely. Israel already had created quite a few industrial zones. The outcome is well known.

        “After Israel took control of the West Bank and Gaza from Jordan and Egypt in 1967, living standards in the Occupied Territories soared. While this growth was largely attributable to remittances from Palestinian workers in the Gulf and across the Green Line, which divides Israel from the West Bank and Gaza, Israel invested in vocational training and agricultural development on a scale that had not been seen under Jordanian and Egyptian suzerainty. [2] Despite these efforts, and because of continued Israeli military rule and the repression of Palestinian national aspirations, a grassroots uprising spread throughout the Occupied Territories in 1987, and continued up until the signing of the Oslo accords in 1993. Thus it was a political solution, and not an economic one, that ultimately brought peace.”

        Japan? Oh, they did tried. But after spending over $50 mil. and over 6 years of work the project turned to be stillborn.

        Wanna know why? Well, probably you don’t but I’ll tell ya. Because Palestinian leaders (and not only leaders) would rather steal than work.

        Other European countries? Some industrial zones are supposedly under construction for few years now, but none is operational.

        You see, relying on foreign aid is much easier, requires no work at all and is fool-proof and fail-safe.

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      • Kolumn9

        There are no neutral arbitrators where the sides can’t agree on any of the underlying political issues. For the arbitrator to have any power it would have to have enforcement capability. The Israeli side would not accept enforcement capability which prejudices issues in favor of the Palestinians. The Palestinians would not accept enforcement capability while Israel doesn’t accept it. So, we are back to meaningless rulings that both sides spin and neither side accepts as neutral.

        The PA would also have very little function in such an arrangement.

        In term of longer-term objectives Israel would not agree to a ‘binational federation’ which undermines its control over its own security. Or a ‘binational federation’ which undermines the Jewish State. The two are really basically the same.

        The Palestinians would not agree to grant the Israelis control over overall security indefinitely.

        The maximum you get out of the framework you suggest is something similar to Oslo because it doesn’t change or solve the underlying real political issues in dispute.

        But, nice try. Welcome to the political thinking of the Israeli far right.

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      • Shmuel

        “the new State officers saying “we cannot do X because they are still here.”

        Germany and Japan had foreign troops stationed on their soil for years after the war. Did their state fail because of it?

        Now, you may be right in the case of the Palestinians. They may use the security arrangements as an excuse to continue their vendetta against the Jewish state. But be careful. That is not an argument against the two state solution. That is an argument against ceding ANY land to them prematurely, before they are really ready to give peace a chance!

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      • What I read from each of you is that One State is inevitable, as there seems agreement that either the Palestinian populace, or its leaders, will not do what (you) think is required. If one cannot get a a neutral civil law on business matters, well…

        K9, the PA would be a government locally, as well as negotiating for outside investment and such. It would have jurisdiction over local crime and municipal functions. My suggestion was predicated on the assumption that Israel will always demand security intervention. It is not that I want that or don’t. I think Israel will not budge on that.

        Shmuel, the US invested heavily in West Germany and encourage autonomous Japanese business. There was also a real attempt to treat the populace with dignity, not extract resources or prevent the building of industry, and encourage local and State government. The Yesh Din reports on this site show Israel is not doing anything like this today. In both the W. Germany and Japan, the US wanted to develop an economy permitting US exit, and it did just that.

        I am fascinated. I have no vested interest in my suggestion, not being part of the word industry. But as I read you, only absolute submission to something I don’t see quite articulated will provide Two States. I sometimes think submission is more important than the articulation of what one must submit to. Since you don’t think interm development possible, I don’t see how you jump to a, well, final, solution.

        Welcome to One State as outcome. And I guess, K9, that is the Israeli far right too.

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        • Shmuel

          Not quite, Greg. I won’t go too much into history because we will get bogged down and out of topic. But I will say this, Israel too has tried in the past to foster industry and to help to build their economy but in the early days, first Arab governments and later the PLO sabotaged those efforts because they did not want to deviate from their national aim of eliminating the Jewish state. So they fostered terrorism instead of cooperation. I believe that attitude still persists today although it is a bit more subtle nowdays.

          So you might say, there yo go then. If the Palestinians won’t cooperate then the only alternative is the one state solution.

          NOTHING CAN BEFURTHER FROM THE TRUTH! Israel can and will hold out till the Palestinians will wake up to themselves. And they will. In the meanwhile, while the Palestinians try the stunt of “I will hold my breath and hope to die unless we get what we want”, I would bet that the status quo will be maintained. After they get their own Sadat or Sadat moment, the Palestinians will get THEIR state or confederation with Jordan or whatever. Hopefully they will then be able to lead their own lives happily and if they let us be, we will let them be. Otherwise … well we will see. No use predicting the future too far. But this I can say nobody can drag US into a one state solution if we don’t want it to be so!

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        • Shmuel

          “But as I read you, only absolute submission to something I don’t see quite articulated will provide Two States”

          You bet! The only reason why Germany and Japan rose from the ashes of war after WW2, was because the allies demanded and got unconditional surrender. They even executed selected war criminals. Both the Germans and the japanese accepted that without a murmur. That then enabled the USA to unleash the Marshal plan and and the economic miracles in both Germany and Japan. The rest is history.

          Contrast that to what happened after 1967. The Russkies made sure that there never was an unconditional surrender by the Arabs (just another cease fire which the Arabs quickly proceeded to ignore). Any attempts by Israel to achieve reconciliation by building up the economies of the West Bank and Gaza were deliberately foiled by constant terrorism.

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    8. Richard Witty

      Predictions are useless. The most they articulate are fears. Fears are important information to have, whether they motivate to stop moving forward, or to continue moving forward with awareness and increased attention to designing for risks to be eliminated, and where they can’t for risks to be monitored.

      All is possible if pursued in earnest.

      My confusion about those that advocate for a single state, is why they imagine that it can be expected to achieve anything by force of external public pressure (rather than persuasion) and by isolation (anti-normalization) rather than by integration and intent communication.

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      • The Trespasser

        >My confusion about those that advocate for a single state, is why they imagine that it can be expected to achieve anything by force of external public pressure (rather than persuasion) and by isolation (anti-normalization) rather than by integration and intent communication.

        Oh, that’s simple.

        You see, these fellas would pay dearly (in their terms of course) to see the Zionist project dismantled.

        Jews have no right to have a homeland in Palestine because Jews have no right to have a homeland in Palestine (notice recurrence)

        Also, the actual meaning of “One State Solution” should be taken in consideration.

        For (pro-)Palestinians, 1SS means an Arab state with Jewish minority, and whoever accepts anything less is a traitor.

        For Israelis, 1SS is first and foremost a Jewish state, with non-Jewish minority.

        Since there are no points of contact (from (pro-)Palestinian point of view), anti-normalization is one way to make the latter solution impossible now and later, while external public pressure should cripple Israeli economy by the means of BDS, forcing Israel to concede to whatever peace agreement sometime within next few decades.

        THEIR single state might only be achieved by violence and isolation, so why not start now?

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    9. Richard Witty

      Until the majorities consent to a single state, evidenced by significant minority preferring a single-state party, and a majority in each society accepting single-state parties by informal polling, then there is evidence that the majority would accept a single state.

      That’s what it takes for the resolution to be based on consent of the governed.

      If only a small minority prefer and a larger minority would accept, then you don’t have a situation of consent of the governed, but imposition on the governed.

      You might call that democracy. I don’t.

      So, if you are an advocate for a single state, the work at hand is electoral, to convince a significant minority to endorse those parties agenda.

      Where elections are a sure thing, that is an opportunity to elect a third/fourth/fifth party to knesset representation. If the parties are willing to participate in coalitions with strange bedfellows, then any election is promising.

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      • The Trespasser

        Majorities were consent until late Mr. Arafat had persuaded everyone that without a state, the newly-invented “Palestinian People” would not be able to fulfill its national inspirations – one Palestinian State from the river to the sea. Pre-partition, or pre-1948, basically.

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    10. Just a question: who has decide to be judge of the Palestinian’s property?
      Can anybody tell me? Who decide what and where these beasts can go?


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    11. Tomer

      The best solution is the 22-state solution. 22 states for Arabs, 1 for the Jews.

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    12. For a fellowship proposal I did a literature survey of all the books advocating a one-state solution that had been written in roughly the first decade of this century. They all began by positing that Israel had no right to exist and was illegitimate. When it came to discussing the mechanisms to deal with two antagonistic populations who had been involved in a violent conflict for decades they had little to say. Either they didn’t discuss mechanisms or Belgium, which had never experienced a violent conflict between the Flemish and Walloons before instituting its consociational democracy, was their model. A real debate means a detailed look at the one-state solutions that have followed violent prolonged conflicts in places like Bosnia, Northern Ireland, and South Africa. Then we can see how likely these results are to attract the support of the Israeli electorate, which is the critical market for selling a one-state solution to. I would be happy to do such a study if someone would provide the funding.

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      • Hi Thomas,

        If you’d like to collaborate on a research project, I’ll be very happy to (we’ll figure out funding together). You can contact me at dubikan at gmail

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