Last week POTUS had a little press get together with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and made a bit of a uproar when asked if he supported a one-state solution or a two-state solution. It was evident Trump had little to no idea what the reporter was talking about and said he would support whatever the the two sides wanted. It was embarrassing and seemed to be an announcement that the US no longer supported the two-state solutions. Diplomatic professionals in the State Department quickly asserted that the US is very much in support of the two-state solution. Which is the more realistic of the two options, but maybe not the best for sustainable peace.
There is a bit of scholarly material out there in support of the one-state solution. Many of which, state that a one-state solution is the best chance for continued peace in Israel and the Levant. Their arguments are sound, it may in fact be the most ideal option, but it is also the one that would be the hardest, neigh impossible, to implement.
Just a heads up, I do have an anti-Zionist bias, and this will reflect that. This is a reminder to all, Zionism is not synonymous with Judaism. One is a political movement, the other is a religion.
There are proponents of a one-state solution on the Israeli and the Palestinian side just as there are opponents. The major issue with both sides of this, is that they want a single-state all to themselves. The Zionist want the land from the Mediterranean in the West all the way to the border to Iraq in the East. Yes, they even want Trans-Jordan. The Palestinian proponents want the land from the Mediterranean in the West, to the Jordan border in the East. Neither side want the other in their land.
These are the hardliners on both sides. Few of them are going to be budged. There is a silver lining though, the hardliners are mostly the older generation. The younger generation is much more open to diplomacy and live and let live. Hamas has verbally, in taped interviews, acknowledged Israel. They have yet to change their charter. Khaled Meshaal, Hamas leader, said they could not change the charter until the Palestinians state has been established. Few Zionist accept a Palestinian state. These hardliners are major obstacle in the one-state solution. Hell, they are a major obstacle in the two-state solution, but they are manageable.
Before a single-state could be established there would have to be some sort of interim constitution before governmental elections could be held. Here is where things start getting tricky. For Israel to remain a democracy the government has to include Muslims. Not just one or two, but there needs to be some equity in the government. They could try something like Lebanon, where each of the three major religions got a certain number of seats, with the offices of Prime Minister and President having a set religion. It is a workable solution, for now.
The problem with that constitution is that right now, if a single-state where to emerge, and it is a true democratic state, the Jewish population would out number the Muslim and Non-Jewish population. It would still be a Jewish state. In the next 20-40 years though, the Muslim population will far outnumber the Jewish population. Palestinians have a much higher birth rate than Israelis do. This is not even taking into account the Right of Return. If that were to happen, overnight the population would become majority Muslim. A government that is divided between religious populations is just a stop-gap measure because the population will shift dramatically in the coming decades.
This leads us to a phrase that is becoming more and more common in the West. “Israel must decide if it wants to be a democratic nation, or a Jewish nation.” This is not rhetorical. It becomes even more important when speaking of a single-state. Israel takes great pride in being the only democracy in the Middle East. They also take great pride in being a Jewish state. One of those will have to go for a single-state solution. I’ve already mentioned the demographic shift that will take place in the coming years. The only way for Israel to maintain the status of a Jewish state would be to enact laws against Muslims while they have the majority. Turning Israel from a democratic state, to an apartheid state.
The next big hurdle is going to be for Israel and the US to accept the fact that currently there are very few organized groups in Palestine. Meaning that when it comes to political power and elections, the groups that are already organized have a clear advantage and will most likely win. This includes Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood. Groups that Israel and the US have labeled terrorist organizations. Just like in Egypt or Libya, the organized resistance are the only ones ready to take advantage of elections. Refusal to work with them will lead to a break down in any negotiations.
Then there are the other questions that need to be answered. How many Palestinian Muslims are going to be allowed into the military? On the police force? In the intelligence agencies? Is Israel going to expand domestic spending to repair and update the infrastructure in the Palestinian Territories? How do you integrate the two societies into a single society? How do you prevent Jim Crow like laws from being enacted? Either now or in the future when the Jewish population is no longer in the majority.
A single-state may well be the future for this little slice of land. Right now, though, it is not a realistic goal. It is much more realistic to focus on a two-state solution. It still has its drawbacks and difficulties. The Right of Return and the status of Jerusalem being the two largest and most difficult to solve, but it has a higher chance of being implemented and working. Once the occupation of the Palestinian Territories is ended, once the Palestinians have a chance at self-determination. Then we can start thinking about a single-state. Let these two states live as neighbors for a generation and see if the future leaders will be more committed to a lasting peace than the ones that are in power now.
By no means did I list all of the issues that would need to be solved before a single-state could emerge. I have listed and talked about some of the largest and most glaring. The prospect for peace is much greater with a single-state, but the chances of it being implemented correctly are almost non-existent at this time. The best bet is the two-state solution, and the best the United States can do is to stay out of it.
We bring nothing to the table in the peace talks, except a clear bias for Israel. The most significant happenings in the peace process happened behind America’s back, in secret meetings between Israel and the PLO. We did nothing but host the signing of the Oslo Accords.