The Israeli-Palestinian conflict has proven to be one of the most complex and “intractable” conflicts of modern history – or as some may even add – of all time. And after many decades of failed attempts at peacemaking in this region, there still seems to be no conceivable end to the conflict. During those same decades, most of the parties involved as well as the international community have embraced the idea of a two-state solution, but the question we pose today asks whether this solution is still a viable option considering the present context, and if not, is it finally time to consider a one-state solution? This essay will argue that although a two-state solution remains the more desirable and popular option, keeping in-line with both nations’ desire for freedom, civic rights, dignity, statehood and nationhood, it may no longer be a possibility in the near future and as time passes. A one-state solution also has its faults however, as it simply fails to address the issue of inevitable future conflicts and retaliation, which would stem from the most problematic symptom of a bi-national state: the reduction of Palestinian-Israelis to second-class citizens within their own country. Finally, the essay will attempt to show that regardless of what the more desirable and feasible option may be, the context today points to a de facto one-state reality, which some argue would ultimately need to be embraced as the only option.
There is no solution but the two-state solution?
Is a one-state solution feasible today? If it is, how optimal of a solution is it for both populations and state-entities? The answer seems to be negative mainly due to the fact that the Jewish-Israeli populace desires to remain a majority within their own state and similarly because the Jewish-Israeli state depends on a Jewish majority in order to vote-in and implement laws and policies, which are aimed to provide a safe home for the Jewish and not the Arab population as per the Balfour Declaration (1). Uniting all territories under one-same state would shift demographics in such a manner that Jewish-Israelis would become the minority within their own state, and thus they would put in jeopardy the Jewish component of what is now a democratic Jewish state.
A one-state solution seems to be a utopian idea when we consider the immense sense of pride and victory the Palestinian and Israeli peoples attach to the concept of having and ruling over their own independent and sovereign state. History has shown time and again that no two entities have ever peacefully agreed and successfully managed to create a multinational state within one-same country, but rather they have favoured separate national states, or a two-state solution. Also, from a psychoanalytical and social approach, it appears almost completely improbable that two peoples, cultures and religions that have participated in such a long-standing intractable conflict would concede to the creation of only one state, since their motivational and cognitive biases as a result of distinct psychological processes would “render then unable to recognize as advantageous settlement terms” proposed by the other side (2). This would fully undermine the Palestinians’ fight for liberation and sovereignty and the Israelis’ struggle for existence and independence. Moreover, under one state, the Palestinians would perhaps suffer a reality of segregation and would shift their fight towards one for achieving their civil rights. This could potentially be achieved as it was done in South-Africa. However, it would ultimately lead towards a Jewish minority within the state and that would directly threaten the existence of a Jewish state. One could argue that Israelis would never agree to dismantle the Jewish state by contributing to the formation of an Arab majority within their own territory. Also, the realities in South-Africa were quite different from those in...