Why I don’t think a one-state solution is a solution


From a comment on—  Jewschool thread, I thought I’d harvest this thought I have whenever I’m talking to advocates of a one-state solution:

A one-state solution would still be a two-state solution: the Jewish Israelis have all the wealth and representation in every national governing body. The Palestinians would continue as second-class citizens facing entrenched discrimination. Both peoples, deeply married to the concept of self-determination, would have to do an about face on a hundred years or more of nationalism.

The entire legal codes and national symbols of the country would have to be rewritten and voted into effect, which I can only imagine as problematic as what is happening in Iraq now. Violence would continue as terrorists and settler extremists continue to espouse ethnic domination and revenge. Riots between Jews and Arabs would be commonplace over each ill-executed (or resisted) attempt at integration of two peoples into one government, military, police force, education system, et al.

With open borders to the Arab world, I can only assume that fear of terrorism from abroad would result in the Jewish sector retreating into private security enclaves. Parts of the elite of both groups would leave the country, meaning Jews who fear their safety and Palestinians seeking better opportunities than minimum wage labor.

The Jews would find themselves as top dogs in a country still killing along ethnic lines; Palestinians would find themselves still fighting tooth and nail for equality. The journey to “peace” would be another 60 years in the making and quite possibly a retreat back into nationalism and a renewed two-state solution.

For the sake of preserving lives instead of intellectual consistency, I don’t think a one-state solution brings us closer to peace. In fact, I think it puts us further from it.

3 thoughts on “Why I don’t think a one-state solution is a solution

  1. Drew

    On my recent trip to Poland, I was struck by seeing Israeli flags marking mass-graves of Polish Jews. In the place where ethnic nationalism led to the greatest tragedy ever to befall our people, we respond with more ethnic nationalism. To me, the whole idea of an ethnic nationalist state is inherently immoral – we’re creating a situation from the beginning where racism is sanctioned by law. Additionally, I don’t know how one salvages a two-state solution from the checkpoints, settlements, and apartheid road system that Israel has built in the west bank.


  2. Physically, uprooting the settlements is just a matter of politics. The major blocs will stay, the outposts will come down, the roads will be turned over to the PA, and a sliver of extremists will opt for showy resistance. The Israeli public does not want to be in the West Bank, it just takes a Prime Minister determined to do it. And Bibi Netanyahu is no such minister.

  3. It is possible to have a lengthy transition period leading to a one state solution. It does not have to be a fast transition. If we have 10 years to do it, maybe it can be done.

    About the two state solution – Here is a list of issues I find with the two state solution which, in my opinion, render it a non-solution:

    * How are Gaza and the West Bank going to be part of the same state, when there is a major foreign military power between them?

    * Maale Edumim and Ariel. How can a Palestinian state be formed if the Jewish inhabitants in these two cities (50,000 Jews, plus many students living in Ariel) are not expelled? Can Israel manage the expulsion of 50,000 Jews from their homes? This is 50 times more than the expulsions from the Sinai and 5 times more than Gaza, just for these 2 settlements.

    * What will become of the Palestinians living on the Israeli side of the green line? The current political trend among the Jews is to take rights away from them. I see a real danger of them being expelled ultimately.

    * Who will guarantee Palestinian freedom from Israeli military violence?

    * How will the Palestinian state overcome the many years of non-development under Israeli control? Won’t they blame Israel and re-enter a state of warfare soon enough?

    Can you give some description of what the solution to these problems will look like? I honestly find it much harder to imagine a two-state solution than a one-state solution.

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