The one-state delusion

In my previous blog, I argued that the expansion of settlements far from the green line (i.e., outposts) will likely lead to a one-state solution.  Here I discuss why the one-state solution is not a desirable option for Israel.

The extremists’ top choice

A one-state solution is promoted by both extremes in the conflict: the anti-Zionists who believe that Jews have no right to a state, and the hyper-Zionists who think that the Jewish state must include as much land as possible from the original Land of Israel.  The first group wants to include Gaza, the West Bank, and all Palestinian refugees, and they want to abolish the Jewish right of return.  The second group wants to include the West Bank and possibly Gaza but no right of return for Palestinian refugees.

The anti-Zionists’ one-state solution would result in an immediate transformation of Israeli Jews into a minority.  The hyper-Zionists’ one-state solution would also reduce Jews to a minority but more slowly, and the long-term result would be the same.  This outcome suits anti-Zionists very well since they are racist and anti-Semitic.  For Zionists however, a one-state solution makes no sense unless they expect one of three alternatives to occur:

  • Most Arab Israelis would magically become faithful Zionists who vote for Zionist politicians and do not challenge the laws that make Israel Jewish.
  • Most Arabs would be expelled from the West Bank and perhaps from other parts of Israel, they would somehow be enticed to leave of their own accord, or most likely a combination of both (it is highly unlikely that massive numbers of Arabs would willingly uproot themselves).
  • Arab Israelis would have lesser rights than Jewish citizens, for example living in self-governed cantons but without equal vote at the national level.

The first alternative is highly unrealistic, and the other two are racist.

The slippery slope

If Israel remains a democracy after she annexes the West Bank, the sorts of politicians currently elected by Israeli Arabs, including Haneen Zoabi who is openly pro-Hamas, provide a good preview of the new MKs.  Of course individual Arabs are capable of supporting Zionism, and I can point to a number of such Muslims and Arabs, but believing that Arab Israeli support for Zionism would be strong enough to ensure the survival of the Jewish state is excessively naïve.

Even if Israeli Arabs can somehow be reprogrammed to ignore hundreds of years of Arab culture and to fully support Jewish rights, they would still want to promote their own interests.  They would do so through Arab politicians included in governing coalitions; such politicians could not forever be excluded from governing coalitions when Arabs become a large minority.  Arabs would demand the following from their elected representatives:

  • The settlement in Israel of Palestinian refugees currently living in camps in Arab countries. Even if Israeli Arabs have no ulterior motive, they would want to do this in order to bring in their friends and relatives.
  • The extension of the right of return currently provided to Jews to cover Palestinians as well. This is for the same reason as above, and it would also allow Israeli Arabs to bring in their friends and relatives currently living elsewhere in the world.  Eventually the right of return of Jews could be dropped altogether.
  • The annexation of Gaza in order to give their Gazan friends and relatives the same opportunities that Israeli Arabs have within the democratic and prosperous state of Israel.

As these changes are made, Jews in Israel would become a shrinking minority, and Arab politicians would be able to form governing coalitions with few and eventually no Zionists.  The Jews would become, like the Christians of Lebanon, a powerless minority.  Note also that Dr. Mitchell Bard, Executive Director of Jewish Virtual Library, had already reached similar conclusions in 2002.

If this seems overly dramatic, keep in mind that it is the best-case scenario.  A worse scenario would consist of a civil war between Jews and Arabs, and the worst scenario would involve the massacre of Jews and the forced deportation of the survivors.  Readers who think that I am exaggerating should brush up on Arab history and Arab current events.

This assessment based on well-known facts available to the general public explains why only 31 percent of Israelis support unlimited construction in the West Bank, while 62 percent want either a total freeze or “construction only in blocs to remain under Israeli rule in future”.  It is also not surprising that current and former Israel defense and intelligence officials have advocated disengagement from outposts in order to protect Israel’s security, including Maj. Gen. (res.) Amnon Reshef, former Commanding General of the IDF Armor Corps and founder and chairman of the Commanders for Israel’s Security Movement.

Actions speak louder than words

This means that for a Zionist who is not delusional, the only way to achieve a one-state solution that protects the rights of Jews is to trample on the rights of others.

The BDS movement exists because its simplistic allegation that “Israel is an occupier stealing Palestinian land” rings true to uninformed people even though it is false.  This simple and powerful allegation is used every minute of every day to attack the legitimacy of Israel even though reality is far more complex.  For instance, the West Bank is not Palestinian land since there has never been an independent Palestinian state on that land, the West Bank was occupied by Israel in a war of self-defense where Arabs attempted to wipe out the Jewish state, and several attempts have been made by Israel to reach a two-state solution but has been rejected by Palestinian leaders.  However, by continuing to build outposts, Israel is lending credence to the BDS lie.

Israel must decide where she is heading – one state or two states – and she must act accordingly.  I highly doubt that Israel’s mainstream will ever agree to a one-state solution knowing that it means losing Israel’s democratic character, but others, even if not anti-Zionist, are not as eager to give Israel the benefit of the doubt, and they remind us that actions speak louder than words.  By acting as if she is heading towards a one-state solution, Israel is sending the unintended message that Israel will not remain a democracy.

The gloves must come off

The two-state concept has major obstacles to overcome:

  • A viable and negotiated two-state solution depends on having an Arab side to negotiate with and there is currently none.
  • Many if not most Palestinians see two states as a short-term goal while they see one state as a long-term goal.
  • If approached purely as a “land for peace” concept, the two-state solution makes no sense since Israel gave back Gaza and got war in return. Any two-state agreement must therefore provide rock-solid guarantees of peace.
  • Some of the “settlements” are not seen as settlements by Israelis, but as an intrinsic part of Israel for reasons of security or practicality, and they cannot be traded in a peace agreement.
  • The anti-Zionists blame the lack of a two-state solution on the settlements when the whole conflict and the lack of a solution are rooted in anti-Semitism.

Hyper-Zionists are using these facts to jump to the illogical conclusion that the two-state concept is dead.  They are pushing instead a one-state concept that is thoroughly absurd and contrary to the interests of Israel, and they are playing right into the hands of anti-Zionists.  They seem to not understand that “two states” is not a pre-defined silver-bullet solution but a concept that must be worked out, and that Israel is not a bystander but a major player who can destroy the concept which would sabotage her own future.

Proponents of one-state solutions (including the “federation” variation) have never presented a credible way to address the demographic issue that such solutions would have to overcome.  Their arguments rely on repeating the well-known obstacles to the two-state concept and adding naïve statements about magically high Jewish birth rates and a conveniently large but inexplicable exodus of Arabs from Israel.  The fraudulent one-state arguments must not be left unchallenged, and the gloves must come off.

Israeli politicians in particular must be taken to task.  They give in to extremists who demand the building of outposts despite knowing the extremists’ ulterior motives of creating a de-facto one-state solution, and this is not good leadership.  Neither the obstacles that are in the way of a two-state solution nor political expediency should be valid excuses for politicians to let Israel slide into a one-state solution that would mean the end of Israel as a Jewish state or as a liberal democracy, or both.

About the Author
Fred Maroun is a Canadian of Arab origin who lived in Lebanon until 1984, including during 10 years of civil war. Fred supports Israel's right to exist as a Jewish state, and he supports a liberal and democratic Middle East where all religions and nationalities, including Palestinians, can co-exist in peace with each other and with Israel, and where human rights are respected. Fred is an atheist, a social liberal, and an advocate of equal rights for LGBT people everywhere. Fred Maroun writes for Gatestone Institute.
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