Sunday, January 29, 2012

Already One State

Much like me, Yoav Peled and Horit Herman Peled don't see much future for the two-state solution in the Arab-Israeli conflict. They argue, however, that a single state already exists:
"Instead of pursuing the mirage of a two-state solution, would-be peace makers should recognize the fact that Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories in fact constitute one state that has been in existence for nearly forty-five years, the longest lasting political formation in these territories since the Ottoman Empire. (The British Mandate for Palestine lasted thirty years; Israel in its pre-1967 borders lasted only nineteen years). The problem with that state, from a democratic, humanistic perspective, is that forty percent of its residents, the Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza, are non-citizens deprived of all civil and political rights. The solution to this problem is simple, although deeply controversial: establishing one secular, non-ethnic, democratic state with equal citizenship rights to all in the entire area between the Mediterranean and the Jordan River."

What's striking is how intuitive this is. U.S. Presidential Rick Santorum recently committed a gaffe by saying that all the inhabitants of the West Bank were Israelis because they lived under Israeli rule. The Israeli government refuses such a formulation because giving Palestinians in the Occupied Territories citizenship would, in fact, mean that Israel is no longer "the Jewish state" as that has usually been defined. However, the fact that Santorum's is a mistake commonly made tells you a lot about the political configuration in practice on the ground.

(Crossposted to American Footprints)

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