Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The One State "Threat"

I had a conversation with one of the more vocal AZ talkbackers, alysheba, and I thought I would share this exchange. It began when I responded to a user complaining about Israel's blockade:

First of all, it is interesting that aly admits (for a change) that the "one state solution" will in fact end Israel. Usually the AZs try to claim that the "one state" will be a utopia where everyone is equal and free, presumably enforced by giant robots or archmages with the power to fight Hamas, Fatah, the settlers and all of their supporters at the same time.

But what I really wanted to talk about was the way that aly and other AZs try to use the possibility that the Palestinians might insist on a one state solution is a legitimate threat to Israel. They say this with the usual presumption that when the Palestinians say "jump," the world says "to where?" In other words, if the UN and the international community support the Palestinian drive for a two-state solution, they will therefore also support the Palestinians when they seek a one-state solution.

But this is a big assumption and in fact is more likely to hurt the Palestinians than help them. As Zach discussed in this post, the Palestinians cannot claim to be "under occupation," the victims of "land theft," and be suffering "under apartheid" all at the same time. It is the same thing with a two-state versus a one-state solution. Confused? Let me explain further.

For 40 (or to hear it from the AZs, 60) years the Palestinians have been telling us that they are a separate nation who deserve all the rights and privileges that nations have, including the Israelis. Here is one quote as an example:
"The Palestinian vision of peace is an independent and viable Palestinian state on the territories occupied by Israel in 1967, living as an equal neighbor alongside Israel with peace and security for both the Israeli and Palestinian peoples."
-Yasser Arafat
Notice how there are two peoples: The Israelis and the Palestinians. Not one people. This is the framework from which Israel, the Palestinians, and the Quartet have been operating for decades. In other words, everyone involved with solving the conflict is assuming that two states are what the Palestinians want and will be satisfied with.

But along comes these "one staters" who presume to speak for the Palestinians who claim that no, a singular binational state is what the Palestinians really want, or is the best way to solve the conflict. If the Palestinians take this claim to heart and really push for it on an international level, it tell us many things.

1. For starters, calling for a one state solution means that Palestinians, as a people, do not exist. If they saw themselves as Palestinians, an independent nation from Israel, then they would not be backing a one state solution because that would deprive themselves of their national rights. And we know how much the Palestinians care about their rights.
2. That Palestinian nationalism was never really all that strong to begin with. So all of these historians who claim that the Palestinian nation has existed from time immemorial are wrong.
3. More importantly, it means the Palestinians as a nation are liars, or at least are willing to flip-flop the national identify of millions of people to gain a tactical advantage. The Palestinians have been claiming that they are a separate people from Israel for decades, to change that would mean going back on 60 years of claims in the opposite direction. Why would the international community ever trust them again?
4. More soberly, it also means that the tens of thousands of people (Arab and Jewish alike) who have fought for "the cause" of "resisting occupation" and restoring Palestinian nationalism have died for absolutely no reason, as the Palestinians could have advocated for a one state solution all the way back in 1948 and saved everyone a lot of suffering. Not that these one staters would care about such things, of course.

If the Palestinian leadership is smart, they will stay far, far away from actually calling for a one state solution. Not that it will stop the fringe opinion (prevalent on the Huffington Post) for continuing to threaten it. I say let them, if it makes them feel better.


  1. Right on, Matt!

  2. The Palestinian leadership is FOR Israel's destruction. They all refuse a two state solution if the price involved means recognizing Israel and permanently ending the conflict. They ARE "one staters." At the present, they lack the means to achieve the elimination of Israel. For them, it may take generations and they are willing to wait as long as necessary to attain this objective. What they tell the West and useful leftist idiots in the West who support them is propaganda. And they have no intention of making peace with Israel in the future. The propaganda is sufficient to allow them to retain world sympathy while they doggedly pursue their real objective to destroy Israel sight unseen from the rest of the world.

  3. I've read a lot of one-state arguments, including the ones that try to sell the Utopian/nihilist view for a "secular binational Palestine", but they tend to be very weak on details (since the few examples individuals from this school tend to cite involve Belgium and the Balkan nations, that's understandable) and strong on anti-Israel moralizing. I'd only tell them one thing: the one-state "solution" ends in the Middle East's destruction. End of story.