Carlo's Think Pieces

Reflections of a Filipino in the Netherlands

One State Solution?

Posted by butalidnl on 25 June 2009

There is supposedly a world-wide consensus on the need to have a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestinian problem. Lately, even Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu has grudgingly accepted a two-state solution – although this is with “killer” conditions that the Palestinians will probably not accept.  The prospect of working to establish two separate states – one for the Israelis, and another for the Palestinians, seeems like a logical aim. But is this the only good solution to the problem?

I think that the two-state solution may not be achieved, especially as the result of the work of radicals in both sides. At a certain point of the stalemate, perhaps people will start to realize that the more workable solution is to have just one state to include both Israelis and Palestinians. This could be a federal state, with two entitites.  Or it could be a unitary state.

The biggest problems with the two-state solution are: the Israeli settlements on the West Bank, and the right of return of Palestinian refugees (to Israel proper i.e.).  With a one-state solution, both issues are easily resolved – since both the West Bank and Israel proper will belong to one state, Israeli settlers could settle anywhere in the new state, and Palestinian refugees could return (with some help with resettlement costs) anywhere in the new state also.

The present stalemate in the peace process (which is supposed to lead to a two-state solution) is breeding the conditions for the birth of the one-state idea. Obviously, it will not be initiated from the Israeli side. But the Palestinians, being denied of their own state for so long, will sooner or later realize that they are de-facto second-class citizens in a big Israel-dominated state.  Their situation is similar to the Bantustans under the Apartheid regime of South Africa. And apartheid was resolved eventually when the blacks demanded “one person, one vote” – full democratic rights in the single state of South Africa.  What is to keep the Palestinians from similarly demanding “one person, one vote” in the de-facto state of Israel and the West Bank?

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