A One-State Solution?

Opponents of a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict have failed to offer any alternative proposals. An alternative proposal would consist of a viable plan that would allow Israel to maintain its Jewish and democratic character without creating a Palestinian state alongside Israel. As far as I am aware, no solutions encompassing these parameters have been suggested. Now is the time for one-state supporters to step up and offer a new solution or for them to support current peace negotiations.

A June 2010 B'nai B'rith's Survey of Contemporary Israeli Attitudes toward World Jewry asked 500 Jewish Israelis age 18 and over whether: "A two-state solution is essential to Israel's survival as the Jewish homeland and a thriving democracy." Fifty-five percent of respondents agreed while thirty-six percent disagreed. This survey had a margin of error of plus or minus 4.5 percent.

Anyone familiar with the Jewish community knows that silence is not one of our best virtues. If thirty-six percent of Jewish Israelis disagreed with this statement why have they not offered any alternative proposals? In the absence of any clear suggestions, I am going to analyze three potential options.

Israel will become a theocracy. This was the response I received when I recently asked a prominent New York rabbi how right-wing Jews envision Israel's future. Eight percent of Israel's Jewish population defines itself as Haredi, 12% as religious, 13% as traditional-religious, 25% as traditional and 42% as secular, according to a May 2010 report published by the Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics. Keeping this in mind, I do not see Israel following the lead of the Islamic Republic of Iran and establishing a theocracy.

Israel will become a binational Israeli-Palestinian state. Anyone interested in Israel remaining both a Jewish state and a democracy should not support this option. According to a poll conducted by the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics in 2009, Palestinians and Israeli Jews will reach equal numbers by 2016. If, in the next five years, a two-state solution is not implemented, Palestinians will become the demographic majority in Israel, and Israel will cease to be a Jewish state or a democracy. This option therefore falls outside the aforementioned parameters.

Israel will rid its land of Palestinians while maintaining the Palestinian territories. This can be done through forcibly expelling Palestinians or by denying them the opportunity to earn a living.
A state that was partially founded on the premise of being a safe haven for Jews will become a state sponsoring ethnic cleansing. Technically, Israel will remain both Jewish and democratic, but it will become condemned as a persona non grata. No Jew with any moral conscious or regard for human rights would want to be associated with such a state.

During a recent speaking engagement in New York, J-Street President Jeremy Ben-Ami argued that being pro-Israel today means supporting a two-state solution. If two-state opponents have a viable one-state solution now is the time for them to step forward. The window of time remaining for Israel to remain both a Jewish state and a democracy is becoming increasingly small. If you do not have an alternative solution, please support the peace process before this window closes. The failure to support this process will only hasten Israel's demise as a Jewish and democratic state.