The Four One-State solutions

The other day I wrote about the four versions of the two-state solution. So today I turn to the four versions of the ONE-state solution. One state, of any type, is not the aim of the US-led peace process, but these ideas are out there.

1. The status quo

Right now there is one state, Israel, and territory that exists in a gray area, the West Bank and Gaza Strip. This might not seem like a stable outcome, but it has been the status quo for 44 years and counting. As much as it seems obvious that it cannot go on forever – and the forces of liberalism (international norms against occupations, at least among democracies) and nationalism (self-determination) seem to push in the other direction – stranger things have happened. (DON’T force me to start naming them….)

2. Israel, the annexation and expansion version

Israel has annexed East Jerusalem (though UPenn’s Ian Lustick argues that it was not formally an annexation). Israel has extended its law to the Golan Heights, a step similar too but short of annexation. But Israel could eventually annex much or all of the West Bank and thereby rule out a Palestinian state in the West Bank. Critics contend that an expanded or “Greater” Israel would be forced to sacrifice either democracy (no rights or voting for many of the Palestinians living under Israeli rule) or the Jewish nature of the state due to faster Palestinian birth rates.

That said, some Israeli Jews clearly value (biblical) territory over democracy, so they would embrace one state along these lines.

3. One binational state

Options #1 or #2 or some other pathway, a liberal could hope, will lead into a binational state where everyone would be an equal citizen, though communities (Jewish, Arab) might have special protections. Israel, if it was still called that, would officially stretch from the Mediterranean Sea to the Jordan River and could be a comfortable place for Jews to live; but it would not be defined as  Jewish state. You are probably having as hard a time as I am imagining how/why the bulk of today’s Israeli Jews would allow this to happen. But it is theoretically possible and has a few advocates. Google Isratine.

4. A (Giant) Palestinian State

If somehow the Palestinians could overcome Israel (odds: ranging from highly unlikely to zero), they could turn the territory – what is today Israel, Gaza, and the West Bank – into a single Palestinian state where Jews had less standing or maybe existed only as individuals, not a collective with collective rights and identity. This stance is the PLO before 1988/1993 (or maybe even before 1974) and before the changes to its charter in the 1990s. Or it is some thinkers in Hamas today as one variant would be a theocratic state.

Later in the week, I hope to talk about some polling data on all this (one state, two state, red state, blue state).

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One Comment to “The Four One-State solutions”

  1. Irrespective of what the majority of Israeli citizens would accept or vote for, the concept of a Jewish state is no different to the concept of a White state or a Catholic state—they all deny full rights to the inhabitants of a country unless to belong to an entitled group like Jews, or Whites or Catholics. Wouldn’t we be up in arms if Canada were to declare itself a Catholic state. I oppose a Jewish state, a Muslim state, a Hindu State, a Buddhist state etc. on the grounds that it privileges a section of the inhabitants at the expense of the rest. I don’t expect significant change in my lifetime but I think we should be pushing for a universalist solution to human relations before we accept solutions which encourage us to blind each other in an ongoing vendetta of nation against nation.

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