The Christian Science Monitor continues to lead. Here it publishes an interesting proposal by Mathias Mossberg (former Swedish ambassador) and Mark LeVine of UCal/Irvine (datelined Sweden and Chicago) calling for a parallel statehood in Israel and Palestine, different overlapping nationalities, sharing the land. Creative thinking, as the rest of the mainstream hunkers down.
Oslo was always an impossible peace, doomed to fail precisely because it was premised not merely on the notion of two antagonistic, exclusivist nationalist movements peacefully dividing a pint-sized territory, but on doing so while the balance of power – and thus the conflict’s resolution – remained severely skewed toward the stronger side.
As long as the US won’t force Israel to chose between the settlements in the West Bank and Jerusalem and unquestioning American support, Israel has no reason to make painful concessions to an ever-weaker Palestinian side.
The situation has come to a deadlock. It is time for a rethink…
Essentially, the idea suggests the creation of two-state structures on the same land, both covering the whole territory, both providing the freedom for their citizens – Israelis and Palestinians – to live between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River.
The most important innovation of a parallel state structure is that state sovereignty would be linked primarily with the individual citizen, and only in a secondary way with territory. Separating the territorial and citizenship/identity dimensions of sovereignty would allow Israelis and Palestinians to retain their national symbols, have political and legislative bodies that are responsible to their own electorate, and retain a high degree of political independence.
Precisely by no longer defining sovereignty through exclusive control over territory, this structure would enable the creation of an independent Palestinian state while preserving the state of Israel, both Jewish and democratic. The contours of political authority and security would be shared by the two states in a manner that guarantees the long-term secure existence of each community. It would be guaranteed by international treaty and, if necessary, a strong international monitoring presence.