President Trump said today he is more concerned with making a “deal,” than with whether that deal included a Palestinian state. “I’m looking at two states and one state… I can live with either one.”
So let’s talk about a one state solution.
Advocates of a one-state solution often argue that “we have been trying to establish two states for twenty years and have failed. The solution therefore must be one-binational-state.”
One Statists ignore several other possible consequences:
First, prolonging the status quo of Occupation - Considering the current Israeli coalition, how likely is it that they will create a single democratic, multiethnic state, offering equal rights to the Palestinians? Saeb Erekat, chief negotiator for the Palestinians, said it is more reasonable to suspect that Netanyahu’s alternative to the two-state is a form of apartheid.
Second, more violence - It is absurd to suggest that after decades of bloody conflict—wars, terrorist attacks, repressive occupation, dispossession, humiliation, two violent uprisings, and countless clashes and attacks – the Jewish and Palestinian populations will miraculously choose to join hands. The histories of Yugoslavia, Lebanon and Iraq prove that we cannot impose a utopian vision of instant reconciliation on the Palestinians and the Israelis.
Moreover, one-statists say that Israeli society lacks the political will to uproot settlements. This is a logical failure – If Israelis lack the will to uproot settlements, then why would they enthusiastically approve of a binational democratic state? And what about the Palestinians? Would they also approve?
Another common argument we hear is that “the one-state is already a reality. Israel has de-facto annexed the West Bank.” This is blatantly untrue. No one, not the Palestinians, not the international community and most certainly not Israeli officials argue that the West Bank has been annexed. Military occupation is a legal term in international law. The law in the occupied territories is not Israeli law. The sovereign beyond the green line is not the Knesset, but the IDF General Commanding Central Command. Though Israel’s military controls the West Bank, the two territories were never merged.
Notice – Advocates of a one-binational-state never discuss the mechanism of such a solution. What would shared sovereignty look like? How would a binational military function? Why would Israel allow unlimited return of refugees? Why would Hamas and Islamic Jihad dispense with violent opposition to Israel’s existence?
Assaf Sharon writes that “Achieving a stable, shared political arrangement that protects the rights and promotes the interests of Jews and Arabs equally can succeed only if it is premised on true parity. Such parity requires mutual recognition and acceptance of both people’s indigenous status in the land. It requires, at some level, a sense of shared identity and a joint project. To believe that Palestinians and Israelis will endorse these conditions while Palestinians continue to be occupied by Israel and to violently resist that occupation is at best naïve.”
For more read Assaf Sharon (Molad), The Fallacies of the "One-State Solution"