What does it take to have One state?

There is a common recognition among Palestinians and Jews who long for a peaceful solution of the conflict between Palestinians and Israelis, that the creation of an independent state of Palestine is a nefarious solution. A Palestine state headed for instance by Abu Mazin, will have no choice but be subservient to an Israeli state headed by the like of Sharon. The overwhelming military superiority of Israel will give it the possibility to impose its will. It is clear that Israel will retain the possibility of incursions into the "independent" state, either to "protect the settlements" or under whatever other pretext.

I am among those who wish a single secular and democratic state for all the inhabitants of Palestine, Muslims Christians and Jews, in which the rights of the individuals and those of minorities will be respected, in which each ethnicity will have the right to live its life according to its own traditions, as long as it does not imposes its views on other ethnicities. Therefore, even if they would be in minority, Jews could live according to whatever understanding they have of the "Jewish character".

The citizenship policies of the single Palestinian state, will confer citizenship to the actual inhabitants of the one Palestinian state, and would recognize the right to citizenship of all the people who have claims not dating more than four generations. It would imply the right of return of all the Palestinian refugees as citizens of Palestine in no need to request citizenship. As to the Biblical claims, they are obviously older than four generations and are therefore excluded.

It is an ideal solution, but is no solution at all unless we have a plan clarifying how do we get from here to there.

It is clear that this solution does not appeal just now to the Israeli population. This raises the question: can a solution of a one Palestinian state be implemented in spite of the opposition of the Israeli population?

Israel is militarily overwhelmingly powerful. What can make an Israeli establishment, controlling a state as powerful as Israel, give up the "Jewish State" and accept the one-state solution? That establishment would rather chose other solutions. It may complete the security wall, evacuate all occupied territories except the settlements and what it takes to protect them. It may build additional walls dividing the territories into bandoustans, in which the settlements would be more secure. Alternatively, it could make life so difficult for the Palestinians in the territories, to force them to leave Palestine. It would be once more an operation of ethnic cleansing.

One cannot foresee what the Israelis would resort to. But one thing is certain: a one state solution cannot be implemented in spite of the Israeli opposition. Anyone not agreeing to that statement can only be credible if he comes up with a way to go from here to there in spite of the Israeli opposition.

We will now exclude the possibility of implementing the one-state solution in the face of the Israeli opposition.

This does not mean that the one-state solution is impossible. It means that a pre-condition is to have the Israelis change their mind and stop opposing that solution.

Changing the mind of the Israelis regarding the one-state solution, is not an easy proposition to implement.

One way that comes to mind is to exhaust the Israeli ability to withstand the losses inflicted on its society by the suicide-bombings. Has anyone made a scientific study to support the view that the Israelis could renounce their state under the stress of insecurity produced by suicide-bombings? What if the assumption is wrong? Is it not a fact that till now, the israelis have inflicted much more casualties to the Palestinians than the Palestinians have inflicted to the Israelis? Is there not a possibility that the Palestinians could renounce to the one-state solution and accept whatever bandoustani solution implying a stop of Palestinian casualties? I do not know, but no one has been able to prove that the first assumption is more likely than the second.

My guess is that a continuation of the policy of suicide-bombings will convince the Israeli people of the legitimacy of taking the most extreme measures against the Palestinians. It will not end up in a one-state solution but will certainly create a state of deep hate between the two people, not very propitious for the future of a one-state solution.

But there is another way. It consists in wearing the shoes of the Israelis, not to justify the policies they support, but to find out why, against their most fundamental interests of security, peace and prosperity, interests they share with the Palestinians, they do vote for Sharon. Once this is understood, a strategy can be developed enabling the Palestinians to shake the Israeli people out of their fears and abandon their support of the criminal Israeli establishment. How to do it has been described in "Stumbling Blocks" available from me on request.

The Israeli fears cannot be eliminated in one stroke of Palestinian strategy. Once the Israeli people lose confidence in the Israeli establishment, he will be ready to opt for a leadership of a radically new kind. Such a leadership would evacuate the territories and dismantle its Jewish settlements. There would then be two states, but not as being considered today. No two state is worthy of consideration with an Israel lead by the kind of criminal establishment it had since its creation.

If Israel is lead by people like Jeff Halper and Ilan Pappe (and it does not have to be precisely them), the possibility of good neghbourhood becomes real to the point it could become brotherly.

The fact is that there is no single example of a democratic Arab state. Without a demonstration of how really democratic and secular a Palestinian state can be, there is no possibility for the one-state solution to appeal to Israelis. But this could change if the practice of friendly coexistence between the two states will enlighten the existence of a truly democratic Palestinian State.

As stated in a previous paper, A one-state solution is a marriage that has to be preceded by the engagement constituted by a two-states solution


Clement Leibovitz
e-mail: info@cleibovitz.org

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