Tuesday, October 26, 2010

In Defense of the Two State Solution

Amira Haas quotes former PLO Ambassador Afif Safieh new book "The Peace Process - from Breakthrough to Breakdown":
"Besides my doubts about the feasibility of this proposal (one state ), I have serious reservations about its desirability. A fanaticized Israeli Jewish community is hardly a partner one would seek with relish as co-citizens. The disparity between both societies...makes the one state formula a mechanism for the perpetuation of the domination of one community by the other."
This makes sense to me. Not to mention the visceral pride that the nation state can bring. Even Canadians are not immune to the thrill of having the flag flying and the national anthem playing at the Olympics. Why should the Palestinians be denied that pride?

While I personally would not object to a one state solution - if security for all could be assured - it seems to me that the majority of both Jews and Palestinians prefer a two state solution. Only after each side feels secure in its own state, can the two comfortably come together in some looser or tighter (con)federation.

The (often gleeful) argument put forward by the one state fans, is that continued Israeli settlement has made the two state solution impossible. But it is no more impossible to imagine than one state - which requires an uprooting of both Jewish and Palestinian thinking no less difficult or painful than the uprooting of settlers. Both solutions seem distant dreams right now. But until a majority of at least one people back the one state solution, I think lefty intellectuals should back what both the Israeli government and the PA/PLO officially say is their goal - a two state solution.

And in the interim, the battle should not be about "solutions" at all, but about equal rights for Palestinians under Israeli jurisdiction.


Anonymous Shmuel said...

Personally, I prefer the 1ss as a paradigm of equality that can be accomplished in any number of states. The key is that whatever is on the table cannot be "a mechanism for the perpetuation of the domination of one community by the other." Sadly, all of the 2ss discussed thus far have been just that. Furthermore, the difference between the 2 states envisioned by Palestinians and Israelis is so immense (although played down by successive negotiators) as to have little in common beyond the number 2.

12:44 pm  
Blogger Sydney Nestel said...

There is a 50-50 chance that the PA will, within a year or so, unilaterally declare a Palestinian State in the West Bank and Gaza - along the 1949-67 borders. They will try to get international recognition for that and use that recognition as a lever on Israel to get out or at least negotiate in good faith. The Israeli government and its "friends" will denounce this as "unilateralism" and ask the world to ignore the PA's declaration.

But the one-staters will also denounce the PA for "selling out" and settling for half measures.

It pays to think which side you will be on, if and when that happens.

The perfect is the enemy of the good. - Voltaire

1:47 pm  

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