Return of single state option for Israel, Palestine



LONDON: Orlando Crowcroft

Published — Friday 14 December 2012

Last update 14 December 2012 12:25 am

| نسخة PDF Print News | A A

There are those who would argue that the two-state solution was dead long before the recent announcement of new settlements in the E1 area of East Jerusalem last month. But — should it go ahead — Tel Aviv’s controversial plans will be seen as a final nail in the coffin for a long-flawed and ever-distant prospect of a division of Israel and Palestine.
But in his response to the Palestine’s United Nations General Assembly success at the end of November, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu could be playing a dangerous game. By building in E1 — considered a red line not only for the Palestinian Authority but for its EU allies — and in doing so destroying the prospect of a two-state solution, Netanyahu could be pushing Israel toward an even less desirable position for Tel Aviv; the single, federal, multiethnic, Israeli-Palestinian state.
“Prime Minister Netanyahu is in effect aiming a cattle gun at the two-state solution,” said Hugh Lovatt, Israel/Palestine project coordinator at the European Council on Foreign Relations. “It has become increasingly clear that the two-state solution is on life support — if not already dead.”
The E1 settlement — which could include 3,000 homes — will effectively create an Israeli settlement block stretching from East Jerusalem to Ma’ale Adumin, in the heart of the West Bank, further bisecting any future Palestinian state and cutting it off from its prospective capital. As this drift toward a one-state outcome makes a two-state solution implausible, Lovatt said, Palestinians and Israelis from both sides of the political spectrum have begun exploring what a binational state would mean in practice.
The options for a single state has been dominated in recent years by the extreme right in Israel and the left amongst both Israelis and Palestinians, sides of the conflict that make extremely strange bedfellows. On the right, some Israeli settler groups see a single state option in the form of Greater Israel, with Palestinians granted individual — although not collective or national — rights and Israel remaining a Jewish state. On the left, both Israelis and Palestinians have proposed a utopian federal state, under which both groups have equal political rights and citizenship.
“In some ways, we are already seeing the emergence of a de facto one-state reality through Israel’s creeping annexation of Jerusalem and the West Bank,” explained Lovatt. “Due to the current weight of Palestinian demographics, if such Israeli policies remain unchanged and the realization of a Palestinian state becomes impossible, a binational outcome will inevitably risk one of two mutually exclusive possibilities as Jews become a minority amongst an Arab majority population.
“Israel risks either becoming a Jewish ethnocracy based on a form of apartheid, or losing its Jewish essence in a fully democratic state.”
It is this factor, said Barak Seener, associate research fellow at RUSI, which makes the one-state solution so unpopular among Israeli centrists. Zionism always required an Israeli state to not only be democratic, but to be Jewish. It is ironic, then, that Netanyahu’s latest moves may actually push the debate toward an even stickier scenario. “Preventing Palestinian demographic contiguity from the northern and southern parts of the West Bank; plays into the hands of a one-state solution that undermines Israel’s Jewish identity,” Seener said.
There is also scant historial record for multiethnic states created in contested lands — particularly those with a history of violent conflict. Bosnia Herzegovina has faced political and economic stagnation since it was formed in the Dayton peace agreement. Kashmir, Cyprus and Kosovo also offer scarcely better examples. The only fully stabilizing settlement to the dilemma of coexistence, demonstrated by the longstanding civil war in Sri Lanka, appears to be the victory of a single party and the subjugation of the other.
Despite this, Ricardo Fabiani, an analyst at the Eurasia Group, points out that the one-state solution is actually relatively popular among Palestinians, giving them the freedom to exercise their rights either as citizens of Israel or of a federal Israeli-Palestinian state. If nothing else, it would give them the opportunity to push for greater representation from within the tent, rather than sectioned off behind the walls and fences of the West Bank and Gaza.
“Many Palestinians think that they would be better off exposing Israel’s apartheid policies within the framework of a single state, where they could force them to recognize their rights by means of nonviolence — not unlike South Africa, for example,” Fabiani said. “Moreover, many Palestinians are fed up with both Fatah and Hamas and think that a Palestinian state divided in two small territories divided by Israel would never be able to survive.”

What's happening around Saudi Arabia

RIYADH: In a fresh boost for relations between Saudi Arabia and Bangladesh, the Kingdom has decided to sign a memorandum of understanding on Foreign Office Consultations (FOC) with Dhaka. The Kingdom endorsed a proposal in this regard at a meeting be...
The Indonesian mission is hopeful detained Indonesian pilgrims will be free “very soon.” The mission is trying to persuade Saudi authorities of their nationals’ innocence.Eleven Indonesian pilgrims, who arrived in the holy city of Makkah to perform U...
JEDDAH: Police at King Khaled International Airport in Riyadh arrested a Saudi hacker after a government organization in Al-Leith in Makkah complained that he had hacked its website, according to an online newspaper.Col. Atti Al-Qurashi, spokesman fo...
JEDDAH: The special criminal court has sentenced a former military official to nine years in jail for joining Daesh and traveling to Syria to fight.A fine of SR5,000 was also slapped on him and he was barred from traveling abroad for nine years after...
JEDDAH: Saudi-Indian ties have reached a new high with the arrival of an Indian Air Force (IAF) flying contingent at the King Fahd Air Base in Taif.The mission, comprising more than 100 high-ranking IAF officers and airmen onboard Sukhoi MKI fighter...
RIYADH: A tripartite agreement among the National Handicraft Program, Prisons Department and the Technical and Vocational Training Corp. (TVTC) was recently signed in the presence of Prince Sultan bin Salman, president of the Saudi Commission for Tou...
JEDDAH: British authorities have opened investigations into the plane crash that led to the death of three members of the Binladin family.Investigations depend on the black box which registers the entire plane’s data, including speed, position of mob...
JAZAN: In a tragic accident, a speeding fuel truck caused four deaths and injuries to many people when it collided head on with five cars on the northern entrance of Abu Areesh area of Jazan, according to a website.The truck deviated from its path an...
JEDDAH: Municipal and Rural Affairs Minister Abdul Lateef Al-Asheikh has directed all the municipal authorities to closely scrutinize the election candidates’ credentials to thwart violation of rules.This is to ensure that the candidates meet all the...
Mohammed Mokammel Hossain, labor consul, Bangladesh Consulate, Jeddah * Which particular aspect of Saudi Arabia you like the most? Two Holy Mosques in Makkah and Madinah.* Can you tell us your favorite and oft-repeated Arabic word? Insha’Allah. * W...
RIYADH: Expatriates feel Saudi Arabia is a safer place than their home countries despite the fact that the Kingdom is leading a war against the Yemeni rebels and other terror organizations and a couple of suicide attacks in the recent past. Mahmoud T...
RIYADH: The maximum medical policy or contract for visitors is SR100,000, which covers expenses on emergency treatment, maternity charges, traffic accident injuries, dialysis and medical treatment in or outside the Kingdom. Making the above announce...
JEDDAH: The city and its surrounding areas sweltered on Monday, with the maximum temperature rising to 44 degree Celsius and relative humidity being recorded at 85 percent. The weather department has forecast a similar situation in Jeddah on Tuesday....
JEDDAH: A National Academy for Energy in Dammam and a private technical technical college, both exclusively for women, will be opened in the Easter Province.The General Organization of Technical and Vocational Training is in the process of implementi...
AL-AHSA: Masjid Joatha or Joatha Mosque is a center of attraction in Al-Ahsa with many visitors and tourists thronging the place of worship, which was believed to have been built in the seventh year of Hijri (629 AD).The mosque has been restored as p...

Stay Connected

Facebook