Opinion Editorials, May 2008
The Case for One-State Solution for the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
By Mohammed Khaku
ccun.org, May 21, 2008
The Palestine National Council (Palestinian parliament in exile) accepted the two-state solution in 1988, which has become the Palestinian national goal, basically a Palestinian state on the West Bank and Gaza Strip within the 1967 borders. This state can be realized by total Israeli withdrawal and dismantlement of all Israeli settlements in the West Bank.
The one-state solution has the merit of a long-term solution for the permanent-status issues, particularly the right of return of Palestinian refugees to their villages and cities. Therefore, it is a valid solution but only after the short-term two-state solution, not in its place. Otherwise, Palestinians will wait forever for this to happen.
The Morning Call (mcall.com) of Allentown PA published an op-ed column titled, ďAfter 60 years, myths can hurt Israelís futureĒ by Jeremy Ben-Ami. What a breath of fresh air. Needless to say any criticism of Israel will be distorted by political opponents as ant-Semitic bigotry. The writer, Jeremy Ben-Ami had the integrity to speak up! He mentioned five valid points, especially the one about the Evangelical minister waiting for Armageddon.
Jeremy Ben-Ami, who is the executive director of J Street, is an alternative to pro-Israel lobby groups in DC. He is seeking to promote the voice of mainstream Jewish Americans who feel that a new approach and a fresh political perspective are needed in US foreign policy. The mission of J street lobby is to push for an Israel-Palestinian peace agreement, including negotiations with Hamas, Syria and negotiated, non-military resolution to Iranís nuclear ambition, as well as complete withdrawal from the occupied territories.
J Streetís founders intent is to counter the influence of the hawkish American Israel Public Affair Committee (AIPAC), which they see as being too conservative, too uncritical of Israel and tied knots with evangelical Christians, whose opposition to territorial concessions by Israel is matched only by the extreme Israeli right wing Likud party.
But the question remains about how effective J Street will be in providing an alternative to AIPAC as a pro Israel voice in Washington. Money talks in Washington, and AIPAC has an endowment of over US $100 million. The alternative voice or Two-State solution may be hard to sell to non-Jewish politicians who donít want to be tarred as anti-Israel. The J Street lobby group will face aggressive attacks from the Jewish right and Jeremy and his group may be accused of being anti-Israel. However, the condition on the ground, that is in Gaza and West Bank, are NOT conducive to Two-State solution anymore.
Consider Israel now: Its borders unclear, its soldiers occupying another people, its Jewish citizens given unique rights, and its government supporting illegal Jewish settlement activities in another land. What are the borders of the state of Israel today? I doubt that Israel will celebrate another 60 years if it does not give up apartheid policy, withdraw to 1967 borders, lift the siege on Gaza and the West Bank return the Golan to Syria and dismantle all settlements created in 60 years of occupation. Israel also has yet to decide exactly what is its nature, to ratify a constitution and become a state for its citizens. If Israel insists on being a Jewish state (without even deciding who is a Jew) then this would make its ability to survive sixty more years very difficult.
I am optimistic of one-state solution for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Palestinians and Israelis would-be in a unified state, relying on historic precedents like South Africa and Northern Ireland. Israel has just completed its three decade campaign to create irreversible "facts on the ground," the road map to two-state solution has failed and Israel has entered in the last phase incorporating the West Bank and Gaza into Israeli proper, of transforming a temporary occupation into a permanent state of apartheid.
The Israeli illegal settlement blocs and the Land-Grab, Apartheid Wall are so extensive that made Palestinians living in an open. Given the unwillingness of the international community to force Israel's withdrawal from the Occupied Territories and in particular the American Congress's refusal to countenance any meaningful pressure on Israel, we may say that Israel has become the world's next Apartheid state. The only solution for the Palestinians is the creation of a single state in Palestine-Israel. Since the Palestinian and Israeli populations are so intermingled and a million Palestinians live throughout Israel the feasibility of a bi-national state, with the two peoples living in a kind of federation, seems workable. Given this "reality" on the ground, the most practical solution seems to be a united democratic state offering equal citizenship for all: One Person, One Vote.
The one-state solution has come about due to exclusively out of Israel's refusal to countenance a viable Palestinian state. Perhaps this realization by Jeremy and his J Street lobby group of where Israel is headed will finally impel its Jewish public to reject policies, parties and leaders that maintain the Occupation.. Until that happens, however, the priority of a campaign for a one-state solution has been dictated by Israel itself.
Palestinians, Arabs, and Israelis should campaign against apartheid and for a single democratic state. The single democratic state will facilitate collective and individual rights rather than posing a threat. It is time we salvage the good parts of Israel, its vibrant national culture, society, institutions and economy.
Many Palestinians are reluctant to abandon or to contemplate the demise of the two-state solution. However, the prospect of a single state need not appear a concession to the idea of self-determination in a state of their own. A single state would give Palestinians access to the entire country and would resolve absolutely the issue of refugee return. The failure of the Two-State solution marks the end of two nationalisms, Israeli Jewish and Palestinian, while the prospect of a unitary democratic state offers integration, security, development and a mode of life far more conducive to the modern world.
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