Now that the two-state solution to the Middle East crisis has been declared dead, an alternative arrangement is being proposed ─ one state ─ a single state where Palestinians and Jews live together, equally in peace and harmony.
Israel has had the power to constitute, shape, and control the development of a Palestinian state adjacent to itself for many years. If it wanted a viable, free, and self-operating Palestinian state, would it not have helped create that state many decades ago? Instead, Israel has dismissed peace talks, continually encroached on Palestinian lands, threatened annexation, and driven the Palestinians to desperation. Declaring the two-state solution as dead is a misnomer; to die an entity must be born. The two-state solution never had birth; it was conceived on paper and lay dormant in the psyche.
The one-state needs no birth or introduction; it is an immaculate conception, a natural order that previously existed and been transgressed. Its re-injection into the search for an equitable solution to the Middle East crisis comes with doubts. (1) Proposing the one-state without strategizing its implementation is counterproductive; imposing a fantasy without deposing the reality. (2) It has had a circuitous route, being forcefully prevented by Zionists during the British Mandate, which caused the crisis inflicted upon the Palestinian people; re-evaluated by those who saw errors in their ways and then diverted energies to a "dead end" two-state solution; and revived by those who realized the predictable errors in two-state concept.
The one-state cannot be achieved without changing Israel's legal and administrative structures, difficult tasks whose possibilities are remote. Deposing the characteristics of the Zionist mission that defines Israel is more plausible. Deposition precedes imposition; destroying the framework that supports Israel allows a new foundation for constructing a new state ─ a one-state, the natural state.
One-State is the Natural State
From day one of the United Nations Resolution 181, neither the Palestinians nor the Zionists accepted two-states. The Palestinian rejection came from respectable and legal reasons; no organization had a right to arbitrarily divide their lands and determine their fate. The Zionist rejection came from practicality; establishing a viable Jewish state open to millions of Jews required territorial expansion and a state cleansed of all those who were not Jews.
When the Madrid, Oslo, and Camp David talks engineered the possibility of two independent states living side-by-side, the implacable foes tended to accept the concept, but not really. The Palestinians had no choice ─ it was the best they could do at the moment; they went along, while hoping that someday circumstances would change and they would gain sufficient power to correct the wrongs of the past. For the Zionists, it was a strategy ─ as long as the Palestinians and world bodies debated, talked, wrote, conferenced, organized, spent time, money and energy on a two-state solution, Israel could continue impeded on its way to its own desired solution ─ an Israel from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea.
The United Nations Resolution
It has taken most of the western world seventy years to realize that the Zionists pursued a deceptive plan. From observations, very few understand that UN Resolution 181 never actually established a state for Zionists alone.
Because neither state had official names at that time, the designations of Arab and Jewish states were used to map out contours of land where the major portions of the ethnicities lived. The Jewish state, which hastily became Israel just before President Truman crossed out the words "Jewish state", replaced them with the "state of Israel", inserted the words "provisional government", and gave the paper his signature of recognition, failed at its impulsive moment of origin. Although the state was, in effect, provisional and bi-national, a small Zionist group took control of all apparatus of the new state, and did that without consulting any Palestinian leadership. What leadership, well, no defined leadership, but place it all in proper context.
A previous article, Crisis Solution - Return the Region to United Nations Resolution 181, showed that a 1948 census would have about 500,000 people described as Jews, in the new state (another 100,000 in Jerusalem), but only a small portion of that group had lived in the area for a long period of time, and only a portion of them had much investment in its past, present, and future. Except for 40,000 arriving in earlier 20th century, practically all Jewish immigrants had arrived within the previous 30 years and not necessarily as Zionists or to stay ─ some to work in the British Mandate, many fleeing Nazi Germany, others from refugee camps after World War II, and some adventurers. Relatively few Jews, outside of Jerusalem, were native to the region for more than one generation and almost all were from foreign nations. In this state were 400,000 Palestinians, most of whom could trace their roots to several generations.
The UN did not create two states; it divided one Palestinian state into two states ─ a Palestinian state composed of almost 100 percent Palestinians, and a Palestinian state composed of about 90 percent who were native to the area (400,000 Palestinians), a small contingent of foreign Jews that had come as Zionists to live permanently in Palestine, and another larger contingent of foreign Jews that arrived for expediency and not with original intentions of remaining. From that perspective, David Ben-Gurion and a small clique of opportunists took advantage of an ill-advised UN, an ill-led, and ill-equipped Palestinian community, and a confused world to declare unilaterally their own state, without giving any attention to the 400,000 Palestinians in a bi-national state. With seasoned militia forces ─ Haganah, Irgun, Lehi, and Palmach ─ the Zionists resolved the problem by cleansing the area of Palestinians and establishing a state composed mostly of Zionists, a state they called Israel.
The Mandate was only a way station for Jews caught in the horrendous tragedies during the 1930s and World War II. If neither cataclysm occurred, would these Jews have gone to the Mandate? Without them, how many Jews would have been there in 1947? These refugees deserved protection, but should those who had been in the area for only two to twenty years have counted equally in a population census with Palestinians that had centuries of generations living in the same area? Did these Jews have a right to expel those who had provided them a measure of succor? Didn't they have a moral obligation to protect those who had been upset by their presence? Maybe the measures came unwillingly, but they were there and the refugee Jews survived. Normal response is to say, "Thank you, I will now leave and not bother you anymore," and not repeat a crime by forcing exile on others, and, after doing that, grind the true owners of the land into non-existence.
Assuredly, if there was no ethnic cleansing and the UN planned bi-national state had come into existence, many Jews would have left. Within a decade, the Palestinians would have had an overwhelming majority, and, when they looked across the border, would have exclaimed. "Why are we in two states, let's make one state."
One-state for all is a correct concept, but not a strategy. Until there is an effective strategy, the proposition is a fantasy. Transferring the fantasy of two-states to a fantasy of one-state is another means to occupy time and energy in futility, of which the Israeli government heartily approves, especially because its own strategy is to have a no-state ─ an assemblage of people in a land without borders, without a constitution, without a fixed set of laws, and without a nationality that is described by the state. Easy to expand when you are a no-state.
Having one-state returns the area to the British Mandate and to what would have been the eventual outcome of the Partition Plan. To achieve that proposition, either the Israeli legal and administrative systems will have to be changed, or the characteristics that defined the Zionist mission will have to be deposed.
Israel's Legal System
Much beyond this article to have a valid discussion of how Israel's complicated and constantly evolving legal system will cope with a one-state proposal. We do know that this legal system has approved illegal land seizures, illegal settlements, illegal checkpoints, illegalities in construction of a separation wall, illegal transgressions on Palestinian life, and illegal discrimination against its Palestinian citizens in housing, education, municipal services, and bank loans. Re-adjustment of a tinged legal system, which condones illegal actions, to a legal system that pursues equal rights under law is a formidable challenge.
Israel's present governing system, local and federal, is not aligned with a future one-state governing system. Local governments are almost entirely separated by ethnicity in a system that seems unbreakable. Israel's governing has more than separation; it has forced movements and encroachment.
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