Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Countdown to a "One State Solution?"

In my Two Peoples, Two States: The Israeli-Palestinian conflict has only one solution which was published a while ago I challenged the idea of establishing a bi-national state aka "one state solution" in the geographical area that includes Israel, the West Bank and Gaza. I haven't changed my mind about the issue and I find it weird that in the aftermath of the violent disintgeration of Yugoslavia and the peaceful divorce of Czechoslovakia as well as continuing talk about ethnic/linguistic divisions in Canada, Belgium and even Great Britain that any serious thinker assumes that Israeli-Jews and Palestinian-Arabs are going to live together happily ever after in a unitary state in the Middle East where similar arrangements (Lebanon, Iraq, Sudan, Algeria)ended in civil wars. But according to reports from Israel there is now less public support for continuing withdrawal from the West Bank and renewed buildup of Jewish settlements there. This suggests that taking into consideration the demographic realities that I mention in my piece in which the Arabs are expected to contitute a majority in Israel/Palestine in a few years, it's not incoceivable that we might end up with "one state" as a default solution. Or to put it differently, at some point in the near future, the idea of separating the two communities might sound even less realistic and more costly than the idea of the two of them sharing the same territory as part of some fragile political arrangement such as a Israeli-Palestinian federation or a Switzerland-like canton system.

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