A one-state solution for Palestinians and Israelis
If the aim of the peace process is to resolve the conflict properly, then only this approach tackles the root of the problem.
In 2005, I was invited to do something most Palestinians can only dream of: visit the house from which my family had been driven in 1948. Of all people, a New York Times correspondent discovered that his apartment was built over my old home.Skip to next paragraph
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When I met him there, the Jewish occupants who showed me around were almost apologetic, perhaps aware how that incident encapsulated the central story of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict: the expulsion of Palestinians and their replacement by Jews. Yet when I asked the reporter how he could still write articles that betray this reality, he was evasive.
His evasion is part of an industry of denial called the Middle East "peace process." This industry feeds the current international consensus on the two-state solution as the only "comprehensive" settlement to the conflict. But there's a better solution, one that's slowly picking up steam among Palestinians and Israelis: a one-state model.
The two-state approach is flawed on two major counts. First, Israel's extensive colonization of the territories it seized in the 1967 war has made the creation of a Palestinian state there impossible. Israel was offering nothing more than "a mini-state of cantons," as Palestinian Authority negotiators recently complained. This leaves Israel in control of more than half of the West Bank and all of East Jerusalem. With the Israeli position largely unchallenged by the international community, the only route to a two-state settlement will be through pressure on the weaker Palestinian side.
This leads to the second flaw: The two-state solution reflects only Israeli interests. It proposes to partition historic Palestine – an area that includes present-day Israel, the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, and Jerusalem – massively and inequitably in favor of Israel as a Jewish state. By definition, this rules out possibility of Palestinian return except to the tiny, segmented West Bank territory that Israeli colonization has created, and to an overcrowded Gaza, which cannot accommodate the returnees. Thus the "peace process" is really about making the Palestinians concede their basic rights to accommodate Israel's demands.
It also panders to Israel's paranoia over "demography," an ambiguous term that refers to the morally repugnant wish to preserve Israel's Jewish ethnic purity.