As the US-sponsored peace conference in Annapolis draws near and prospects for new negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians continue to improve, the enemies of peace and normalization are renewing efforts to scupper progress. While Hamas, Hezbollah and the Iranian regime openly declare their intentions to destroy Israel violently, others advocate a more subtle approach to achieving the same goal.
One such method is the so-called Palestinian “right of return”, which would see Israel flooded with Palestinians ultimately leading to the end of Israel through demographic means. Those who advocate the Palestinian return to Israel know that Israel’s Jewish character would not survive the influx of several million Palestinian refugees.
While there is a virtual consensus among world leaders for a two-state solution, another “solution” to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, insidiously sold in the language of peace, is the “one-state solution” or “bi-national state”, as laid out in the op-ed columns of Australia’s The Age. Sonja Karkar, president of Women for Palestine, responds to an op-ed by Colin Rubinstein (which was itself a rebuttal of a previous op-ed by Ghada Karmi):
“While Dr. Karmi does say that Israel – as a “Jewish state” that necessitated the removal of the indigenous Arab population – should never have been created, she does not suggest that present-day Israelis must be removed. Instead, she argues that a single state, that is secular and democratic for all its citizens, offers much more hope for peace than a state based on Jewish exclusivity next to a truncated and utterly unviable proposed Palestinian state under Israel’s vice-like control.
The solution Dr. Karmi proposes shows remarkable magnanimity considering the terrible human cost of Israel’s venture. Her vision is to bring Palestinians and the now established Israeli-Jewish community together in one state so that justice can be served for both sides.”
Accepted diplomatic efforts for peace are centered around a two-state solution – Israel and a Palestinian state existing side-by-side in peace and security. Yet, Karmi and Karkar’s op-eds, along with a now canceled Oxford University Debating Society debate on the one-state solution, may indicate the beginnings of a new campaign to radically alter the dynamics of the Israeli-Palestinian discourse.
Why then is the one-state solution unacceptable?
At its most basic level, the one-state solution denies the right of Jews to self-determination in their historical homeland and calls into question the very legitimacy of Israel as a state.
A bi-national state would have the same consequence as the “right of return” – the negation of Israel as a Jewish state. Palestinians, by virtue of a higher birthrate, would turn Jews into a minority before voting in favor of another Muslim Arab state in place of Israel.
The one-state solution is therefore simply a thinly veiled strategy for destroying the State of Israel and questioning its right to exist. As Sol Stern and Fred Siegel have written in the New York Sun:
“The “one state” solution is a euphemism for the destruction of the Jewish state – a trope of the most extreme rejectionist elements within the Palestinian movement and their allies in Syria and Iran. Terrorist groups such as Hamas and Hezbollah want to create an Islamic Republic in place of Israel.”
Alan Dershowitz adds:
“The one-state solution proposal now being made by Palestinian lawyers and some anti-Israel academics is nothing more than a ploy. It is designed to destroy the Jewish state of Israel and to substitute another Islamic Arab state. Those who advocate the single state solution would never do so with regard to India, the former Yugoslavia, or other previously united states which have now been divided on ethnic or religious grounds.”
On a practical level, a one-state solution is simply unworkable. As Palestinian columnist Ray Hanania writes:
“the two-state solution will always be the only option because the premise of “one state” where Christians, Muslims and Jews can live side-by-side and with equality, is fundamentally flawed.
It is a fallacy that can never be achieved not just because Israelis won’t support it. The Arab and Islamic World don’t practice it. Exactly where do Jews and Christians live in the Islamic World today side-by-side with equality? We don’t even live side-by-side with equality in the Palestinian Diaspora.”
The one-state solution is also proposed by those who refer to Israel as an “apartheid” state. Drawing upon this comparison, the example of post-apartheid South Africa is held up as a model for a bi-national Israeli-Palestinian state. However, former anti-apartheid activist Benjamin Pogrund explains in detail, examining issues of economy, religion, third-party intervention, political culture, violence and leadership, why the South African model does not fit the Israeli-Palestinian situation.
- While there are those who advocate a one-state solution as a means to destroy Israel, they are also aided by naive idealists. But, in a world where ethnically mixed states such as Yugoslavia have broken down in bloodshed, and Muslim states such as Saudi Arabia claim Muslim Arab exclusivity, why does the only Jewish state have to be the test case for a far-fetched utopian experiment? Why is Jewish self-determination in a state of their own illegitimate?
Send your considered comments to The Age – firstname.lastname@example.org remembering to include your home address and day and evening phone numbers for verification.
Please also be on the lookout for more attempts to push the one-state solution in the media.