The breakdown of the two-state solution– evidenced by Netanyahu’s announcement that some greet as progress but that continues the solidification of Jerusalem as a Jewish settlement– is producing important discussions at the periphery, including efforts by leftish Jewish outlets to imagine a binational future in Israel/Palestine. Importantly, here is Peter Marmorek in Tikkun’s daily blog arguing for the one-state solution, based on his experience in Quebec (not utterly convincing, that), but rooted in the reality of Middle East geography/politics:
Almost 10% of Israeli Jews now live in the Territories or in East Jerusalem. It would be impossible for any Israeli government to make a peace offer to Palestinians that would give up those homes and settlements: in Israeli politics, their coalition would instantly disappear. (And it’s unlikely they could do it militarily: the BBC reports that , “An increasing number of Israeli soldiers are publicly objecting, on religious and political grounds, to their role in the evacuation of Jewish settlements in the West Bank.”) Similarly, it would not be possible for any Palestinian leader to accept the kind of offer any Israeli leader might realistically make: his support would also disappear. The handful of bantustans offered as a Palestinian country at Oslo might have been the closest to a joint solution ever reached. And if a two-state solution is impossible,as seems increasingly clear, then the only alternative, however improbable, is a one-state solution.
A one state solution means a country open to both Jews and Muslims. This is also called a binational solution, and its supporters “advocate a single state in Israel, the West Bank and Gaza Strip, with citizenship and equal rights in the combined entity for all inhabitants of all three territories, without regard to ethnicity or religion.” Edward Said called for this, saying “the question is not how to devise means for persisting in trying to separate,” Israelis and Palestinians, “but to see whether it is possible for them to live together as fairly and peacefully as possible. But while this once sounded like an impossible dream, it is increasingly being seen on both sides as inevitable.
Stephen Walt’s recent piece A New Era in the Middle East? Uh-Oh nails it:
Be careful what you wish for. Israel is going to get what it has long sought: permanent control of the West Bank (along with de facto control over Gaza). The Palestinian Authority is increasingly irrelevant and may soon collapse, General Keith Dayton’s mission to train reliable and professional Palestinian security forces will end, and Israel will once again have full responsibility for some 5.2 million Palestinian Arabs under its control. And the issue will gradually shift from the creation of a viable Palestinian state — which was the central idea behind the Oslo process and the subsequent “Road Map” — to a struggle for civil and political rights within an Israel that controls all of mandate Palestine.
Jimmy Carter sees it coming too…