More voices in Israel are warning that the absence of the ‘two state solution’ will lead sooner or later to ‘one state’ under Israeli sovereignty and similar to South Africa’s once apartheid state. The gap grows larger between the Palestinian and the American leaderships, as the US policy provides unqualified support to Israel. It increasingly appears that no solution is expected for any of the Israeli or Palestinian sides, despite the continuing talk on US President Donald Trump “deal of the century”. With such a stalemate, a number of Israeli politicians, analysts and writers began to call for a separation, regardless as to whether it will lead to an independent Palestinian state, warning at the same time of a one “dual nationality” state.
With the extreme Right in power in Israel, the ‘one state’ between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea is sought as a Jewish national entity along what they consider “the Zionist movement principles”, and “the Jewish historical rights on the land” of Palestine! Yet, the extreme Right realises the danger of the one state concept on the ‘Jewishness’ of the state, but doesn’t do anything to prevent it.
Others from the left warn of the naive attempt to form one state, citing its failure in some of the world countries including the former Soviet Union, Yugoslavia and Indonesia.
Other countries, according to them, still suffer, such as Spain and the Philippines. Indeed, Ehud Dekel, deputy director of the Israeli Institute for National Security Studies (INSS) spoke clearly about the danger of the one state. He said: “As we go further into details, we will understand that this unstable situation will raise a series of problems and inability to reach deals and preserve the national and religious identities of both societies. Things may develop into a civil war. Therefore we need to change direction from sliding into the one state situation.”
Moreover, the President of Israel Democracy Institute (IDI), Yohanan Plesener said: “We annexed [occupied] East Jerusalem in 1967 and declared our intention to achieve a unified city vision. Who knows the reality on the ground, knows that this has not been achieved, which means that reality tells us we cannot establish an impartial democratic Jewish state in the situation of one state where we are sliding.”
Echoing similar concern, the annual INSS report has concluded that “despite the relatively comfortable situation where the Israeli leadership continues to evade talks and necessary difficult decisions to crystallise an effective national security policy that can advance Israel’s interests as a Jewish democratic state, safe and legitimate within recognised borders, it is in Israel’s interest to halt the gradual slide towards a negative no-return reality towards the one state.” Ronni Shaked, the Israeli academic and intelligence officer declared: “We are guilty, the Netanyahu government leads us to a bi-national state, and the settlement [colonies] project has created a bi-national state. We need to live with the Palestinians, if they refuse, then we should split.”
Along the same lines, the Israeli writer Shaul Arieli believes that “despite building settlement [colonies] efforts for 50 years since the Six-Day War, Jewish settlements [colonies] in the West Bank are far from achieving demographic or regional dominance.” He added “the percentage of Arabs in the West Bank is still 82 per cent, and only 11 per cent of the settlements [colonies] have a population of more than 5,000, and there is no significant Israeli agriculture or industry in the West Bank, and Israeli ‘blocs’ with a Jewish demographic and territorial dominance barely hold 4 per cent area of the West Bank. In order for Israel to remain Israel, a democracy with a Jewish majority, it must change its positions and adapt them to the changes that have taken place. Such development …. will save both parties bloodshed and resources until the vital separation of both.”
Again, the former Mossad (National Intelligence Agency) director Tamir Pardo concluded: “Israel decided not to choose, and hopes the conflict will resolve itself one day, or that the Arabs will disappear in any cosmic miracle.” He goes on to say that “if Israel does not move to split from the Palestinians, the number of Arabs in the West Bank and Gaza Strip will eventually exceed that of the Jews who might find themselves a decreasing minority in the Jewish state. In the end, we will be a bi-national state, because it will be impossible to break the knot between the two peoples. Israel needs to separate itself; Israel faces an existential threat which is a time bomb.”
In the context of the ‘one state’, many problems are evident to the Israelis, who are aware of the danger to their existence, especially the absorption of the Palestinians and the accumulated economic burdens, as well as the future of the Palestinian refugees. But we can ask mockingly about the army which will represent the envisaged “one state” and who will serve in it? Will the mandatory “conscription law” in Israel, which does not apply to Arabs, remain the same? There are many questions that linger on.
Professor As’ad Abdul Rahman is the chairman of the Palestinian Encyclopaedia.