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What Comes Next: A one-state reality and a two-state discourse

Israel/Palestine
on 25 Comments

This post is part of “What Comes Next?: A forum on the end of the two-state paradigm.” This series was initiated by Jewish Voice for Peace as an investigation into the current state of thinking about one state and two state solutions, and the collection has been further expanded by Mondoweiss to mark 20 years since the Oslo process. The entire series can be found here.

The two-state solution won’t be dead as long as both societies are on the ground. The Palestinians and the Israelis are dominated by the political forces supporting them, even if the support is done more and more for rhetorical reasons, and not as part of a real political agenda. Given the option between one state and two states, most Israelis will take the latter; all major Palestinian political parties are yet to give up the desire for their own nation-state. Even if international pressure on Israelis reaches the levels it did on South Africans in the mid 1980’s, at their “moment of truth,” Israelis are more likely to prefer another partial withdrawal to annexing the West Bank and Gaza and giving equal rights to the Palestinians. One could say that as long as nationalism lives, the idea of two separate nation-states between the sea and the river will live.

whatcomesnextverticalImplementing a real two-state solution, on the other hand, seems more and more unlikely. Right now, every sixth person east of the Green Line is a Jew. Under the current political circumstances, a more limited Israeli withdrawal to the separation barrier–which would force the evacuation of thousands of settlers and still won’t leave the Palestinians with sufficient contiguous territory in order to form a viable state–seems just as unlikely. And sure enough, this won’t be “a solution”: even if such a withdrawal is accompanied by an agreement between Israeli and Palestinian representatives; even if Israeli leaders can implement this agreement in good faith; even if Israel survives the inevitable internal battle that will ensue–all we are likely to end up with is an enhanced Palestinian Authority. Sooner or later, hostilities would erupt again.

We are left with a one-state reality and a two-state political discourse. The Green Line is all but meaningless: the populations are totally mixed. A separation mechanism–a nationalistic debate in both societies and the Jewish de facto sovereignty over the entire land– is preventing the implementation of a just political mechanism, one which would be in sync with the geographic and demographic reality. This problem is likely to bring much more pain and sorrow on both Jews and Palestinians.

 

Noam Sheizaf
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Noam Sheizaf is an independent journalist and editor.

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25 Responses

  1. kayq
    kayq
    November 12, 2013, 10:03 am

    Thanks Noam. I very much agree.

    The mixed populations are also a reason why the Palestinian and Israeli identities hold no weight anymore except in the diaspora. Particularly Palestinians. Although I cannot speak for Israelis in the diaspora. However, in Israel/Palestine, it holds no weight because on the ID card, every person is marked by ethnicity.

    And the only Arabs inside Israel who identify as “Arab Israelis” are the patriotic assimilated Arab Israelis. However, every other Palestinian Arab citizen inside Israel identifies as a Palestinian. Now, that being said, Israeli settlers in the West Bank are not called Palestinians, and it shows, due to the amount of privilege they get from being Jewish. Them being Jewish resulting in the Israeli identity.

    Therefore no one can really argue that Arabs inside the territories are Palestinians, while Arabs inside Israel are not, because 1. Arabs inside Israel identify as Palestinians and 2. it’s a mixed population anyway.

    Anyhow, I went off on a tangent here, and I agree that if we do not get out of the two-state discourse mindset, we will be stuck with it. Hence the current “peace talks” with John Kerry, although Netanyahu doesn’t seem to abide.

  2. Mike_Konrad
    Mike_Konrad
    November 12, 2013, 12:06 pm

    There is no TSS. We should stop suggesting it.

    • ziusudra
      ziusudra
      November 13, 2013, 11:20 am

      Greetings Mike _Konrad,
      … There is no TSS…….

      Consider the past of One State Power of:
      the US,
      Contiguous So. America,
      Canada,
      Australia,
      New Zealand,
      Contiguous Africa, (The Belgien Congo, the most heinous atrocities of all!)
      South Africa,
      It took hundreds of yrs. for the indigenous people to acquire relative & partial equality. Is that what the West wants for the Falesteeni?
      We know what Zionistan wants!
      ziusudra
      PS Whatever comes about, one or two, Zionistan is looking at hundreds of yrs of strife! Yom Tov.

  3. Hostage
    Hostage
    November 12, 2013, 12:18 pm

    Implementing a real two-state solution, on the other hand, seems more and more unlikely. Right now, every sixth person east of the Green Line is a Jew.

    Well then, it was always impossible, because one out of every two persons in the Jewish state proposed by the UN in 1947 was an Arab and the “Plan for the Future Government of Palestine” was really just a “Plan of Partition with Economic Union” that was a political, rather than a real, two state solution. http://unispal.un.org/UNISPAL.NSF/0/07175DE9FA2DE563852568D3006E10F3

    It really just proposed one country with a common market, a common currency, and common railways, interstate highways, postal, telephone, telegraphic services, and common use of the ports system with right of transit – all under the management of a “Joint Economic Board”.

    Essential public services in both states were to be funded by customs revenues raised at the ports of Haifa and Jaffa and divided equally between the parties in the free trade area. There was a formal treaty creating the “Economic Union of Palestine” and establishing a system of collaboration between the two States and the City of Jerusalem, which also provided for management of any “other matters of common interest”. The Joint Economic Board was to consist of three representatives of each of the two States and three foreign members appointed by the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations. Equal rights of religious groups, minorities, and women in all of Palestine were to be constitutionally protected and placed under UN guarantee.

    The only thing that’s really amazing is that the League of Nations and UN managed to let the parties concerned waste 90 years arguing over ways to disguise a bi-national country with equal rights and representation for all as something different, two poorly labeled “ethnic” states.

  4. HarryLaw
    HarryLaw
    November 12, 2013, 12:52 pm

    “Implementing a real two-state solution, on the other hand, seems more and more unlikely. Right now, every sixth person east of the Green Line is a Jew”. How so? approx every sixth person [probably many more] west of the green line identified themselves as Palestinian, that did not stop the realization of an Israeli state. If implementing a two state solution seems unlikely, could it be that it’s because you accept that the settlement enterprise is a fait accompli and that International law is of no account, do you propose to let bank robbers keep their gains simply because the crime committed 20 years ago has only just been discovered, of course not, let us wait and see what the ICC have to say about these ongoing war crimes, only after the court has determined [as the opinion of the ICJ did] that the settlement enterprise is illegitimate [Kerry] and contrary to International law [Geneva 49.6] and then brings the perpetrators to book,can other options be looked at, the reason the US/Israel are so fearful of this scenario is they do not want any Palestinian to have his day in a neutral court.

  5. W.Jones
    W.Jones
    November 12, 2013, 6:14 pm

    From this article it sounds like the West Bank’s demography would be like a bad, massive prison where one group is the guards and the others are not, with a 1 to 5 ratio of guards to prisoners. Concrete walls and buildings, surveillance, searches, armed patrols, random interrogation, mistreatment, little success with appeals to outside higher authorities, etc.

  6. Nevada Ned
    Nevada Ned
    November 12, 2013, 7:14 pm

    A two-state solution would have to be forced on Israel by external pressure.
    A one-state solution (with equal rights for Palestinians) would also have to be forced on Israel.
    A one-state solution (WITHOUT equal rights for Palestinians) is what we have now!

  7. ckg
    ckg
    November 12, 2013, 10:33 pm

    Regardless of all facts on the ground, no western diplomat will ever publically say the 2SS is dead until the head of the state of Palestine says it is dead. Until Abbas moves on this issue, everyone will keep pretending up is down. Fortunately, he may just pronounce it dead when Kerry’s quixotic effort fails. That would be a watershed.

  8. Talkback
    Talkback
    November 13, 2013, 4:43 pm

    Could anyone please provide a reliable link with a list or summary of laws that discriminate Nonjewish Israelis?

  9. mondonut
    mondonut
    November 14, 2013, 10:36 am

    Implementing a real two-state solution, on the other hand, seems more and more unlikely. Right now, every sixth person east of the Green Line is a Jew.

    So Jews are not allowed to be Palestinian? Arabs only?

    • Hostage
      Hostage
      November 14, 2013, 12:07 pm

      Jews are allowed to be Palestinians, but illegal Israeli settlers are not. So long as Israel won’t allow a single refugee to return to their side of the Green Line it’s really stupid for you to even ask.

    • talknic
      talknic
      November 14, 2013, 1:25 pm

      @ mondonut “So Jews are not allowed to be Palestinian? Arabs only?”

      Feigning stupidity is …. stupid. You know by now from posting on this site that citizens of the Occupying Power, be they Jewish or non-Jewish, are prohibited from settling in Occupied Territories and; that every sixth person east of the Green Line is a Jew …. an Israeli Jew.

      • amigo
        amigo
        November 14, 2013, 2:00 pm

        You know by now from posting on this site that citizens of the Occupying Power, be they Jewish or non-Jewish, are prohibited from settling in Occupied Territories and; that every sixth person east of the Green Line is a Jew …. an Israeli Jew.”talknic

        There are Israeli non Jews in the Jews only illegal squats???.

      • Hostage
        Hostage
        November 14, 2013, 6:12 pm

        There are Israeli non Jews in the Jews only illegal squats???.

        Surely, for example there were non-Jewish spouses and children of Jews from the former Soviet Union who moved there by the thousands. The ICJ noted the presence of non-Israelis as well:

        133. That construction, the establishment of a closed area between the Green Line and the wall itself and the creation of enclaves have moreover imposed substantial restrictions on the freedom of movement of the inhabitants of the Occupied Palestinian Territory (with the exception of Israeli citizens and those assimilated thereto).

      • eljay
        eljay
        November 14, 2013, 2:36 pm

        >> Feigning stupidity …

        Who says he’s feigning? ;-)

      • mondonut
        mondonut
        November 14, 2013, 3:12 pm

        talknic says: Feigning stupidity is …. stupid.
        ===============================================
        So when an essay on this site openly declares having a problem with Jews, not Israelis or settlers, but Jews – that is to be ignored and everyone is just supposed to fill in the blanks to make him sound less hateful. Sure.

        And BTW, I do not know that citizens of an Occupying Power are prohibited from settling (or existing) in occupied territories. That is just another figment from your fevered imagination.

      • Cliff
        Cliff
        November 14, 2013, 3:57 pm

        It didn’t say that at all. You’re intentionally misconstruing the meaning.

        Those Jews east of the green-line are there by force.

        You are characterizing Jewish colonialism as an immigration issue.

        How about this, troll, why don’t we invade and kill a bunch of Israeli Jews and establish non-Jewish colonies in Israel proper. When you object to those colonies, the occupation of you land, the apartheid policies and inequality – we’ll say you’re anti-whatever-the-invader’s-ethnoreligious-group-is.

        You’re so disgusting and one-dimensional. You debase yourself with these dishonest comments.

      • talknic
        talknic
        November 14, 2013, 7:30 pm

        mondonut “So when an essay on this site openly declares having a problem with Jews, not Israelis or settlers, but Jews “

        Many Palestinian Jews or Arabs living in the illegal Israeli settlements?

        ” I do not know that citizens of an Occupying Power are prohibited from settling (or existing) in occupied territories. That is just another figment from your fevered imagination”

        Strange….. Numerous times you’ve been shown legal evidence in the way of UNSC resolutions that put the matter beyond any doubt.

        Congratulations on showing folk just how low some people will go in defense of Israel’s illegal activities in occupied territories. Keep up the good work

  10. mondonut
    mondonut
    November 14, 2013, 1:12 pm

    Hostage says: it’s really stupid for you to even ask.
    =================================================
    a) Please point out where Noam Sheizaf restricts his commentary to settlers. All I can find is where he has a problem with Jews, as in “Right now, every sixth person east of the Green Line is a Jew.”

    b) “not s single refugee” is incorrect. Up until 2003 the Israelis allowed over 100,000 Palestinians (including Shadi Tubasi) into Israel under family unification. The Olmert offer was for another 5000. There is zero expectation from anyone that a negotiated settlement would not include some limited return.

    c) Ad hominem. Of course.

    • Hostage
      Hostage
      November 14, 2013, 5:57 pm

      Please point out where Noam Sheizaf restricts his commentary to settlers.

      Noam Sheizaf is talking about the final settlement. Israeli Officials like Netanyahu, Lieberman, Bennet, Lapid, and Mofaz have said that admitting even a single Palestinian refugee is a red line they won’t ever cross, e.g. “Politics: The opposition leader’s peace plan”
      http://www.jpost.com/Features/Front-Lines/Politics-The-opposition-leaders-peace-plan

      So why don’t you stop trying to play grab-ass and ask an honest question?

      How many Jews from Scarsdale or Brooklyn are residing in the Etzion Bloc? Does Israel even make them obtain citizenship before they take-up residency there?

      We all know that Jews like Uri Davis and Daniel Barenboim do have Palestinian citizenship. So do many intermarried Jewish-Palestinian couples who can’t legally live together in Israel. I don’t see anything wrong with saying that “Jews” can’t live there, so long as it’s understood that Israel doesn’t have an “Israeli” nationality and we all mean illegal Jewish settlers and alien Jews who don’t have Palestinian citizenship.

      “not s single refugee” is incorrect. Up until 2003 the Israelis allowed over 100,000 Palestinians (including Shadi Tubasi) into Israel under family unification.

      I said refugees. You are talking about a group that includes legal residents of the Occupied Palestinian territories – and they are no longer allowed in under the 2003 amendment to the Entry into Israel Law. You also failed to mention that Israel revoked the residency rights of more than a quarter of a million Palestinians at one and the same time, so there was a net loss. See “Israel admits it revoked residency rights of a quarter million Palestinians” http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/israel-admits-it-revoked-residency-rights-of-a-quarter-million-palestinians-1.435778

      If you need any further education on the subject, what don’t you just ask Noam Sheizaf yourself?

    • Hostage
      Hostage
      November 14, 2013, 6:36 pm

      c) Ad hominem. Of course.

      No, it’s an objective fact that I said “Jews are allowed to be Palestinians, but illegal Israeli settlers are not.” An ad hominem is when a claim or argument is rejected on the basis of some irrelevant fact about the author or the person presenting the claim or argument. It isn’t an “Ad hominem” to note the Jewish settler’s illegitimate status, because some of them are not Israeli and it is also an objective fact that the Diplomatic Conference of the High Contracting Parties to the Geneva Conventions, the UN General Assembly, the UN Security Council, and the International Court of Justice have all declared the settlements “illegal”.

      You asked what the author meant when he said “every sixth person east of the Green Line is a Jew.” Everyone knows there simply aren’t that many Jews with Palestinian citizenship living there. You can only arrive at numbers that high by including the “illegal” Jews who reside in the area.

      I still think it was stupid of you to ask and even worse to ignore the facts presented and pretend that no one had answered your question. If you really can’t comprehend that, then your stupidly is a relevant factor.

    • talknic
      talknic
      November 14, 2013, 7:35 pm

      @ mondonut “Up until 2003 the Israelis allowed over 100,000 Palestinians (including Shadi Tubasi) into Israel under family unification”

      Family unification is immigration, not RoR.

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