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The Two-Legislature Solution vs. Federation

From my previous posts we can see that a One Binational State cannot guarantee Jewish security if Jews become a minority in Israel; a Two-State Solution does not solve the problem of two peoples yearning to live within the boundaries of the other state which would make continuing conflict probable; and a Confederation would result in second class circumstances for those people who do attain their wish to live in the other state.  Another suggestion of how full citizenship rights, freedom of movement, and protection of the Jewish population and way of life can be achieved is the Federation Model.

The Federation Model divides the land geographically into as few as two and as many as 18 states/counties/cantons.  The residents of each division elect a local parliament/board/commission and also representatives to a countrywide government (similar to the United States).  Local concerns, like drinking laws, local holidays, building permits, etc. would be the responsibility of the local government, which allows for differences in laws and regulations from division to division.  Overall concerns, such as defense, monetary policy, interstate commerce etc. are covered by the countrywide government.  In order to balance between Jewish and Arab concerns, the divisions are drawn such that there are generally an equal number of those that have a Jewish majority and those that have an Arab majority, with some divisions having a mix.

ERETZ-ARD is an organization that has used an amazing level of demographic data to draw divisions.  See: Federation Plan Summary (eretz-ard.org.il).  They have devised 5 Jewish Majority Home States (>80% Jewish), 5 Palestinian Majority Home States (>80% Palestinian/Arab), 2 Jewish Majority Mixed States (>60% Jewish), 2 Palestinian Majority Mixed States (>60% Palestinian/Arab), and 2 Mixed States (~60:40).  The goal is to give each group areas where their cultural norms dominate while also resulting in a federal parliament that has nearly equal representation, ensuring that no discriminatory laws can be passed.  Laws at the federal level would override those at the local level meaning that discriminatory laws passed at the local level could be annulled by federal law or declared unconstitutional by the federal Supreme Court.

This model, which has consumed a huge amount of time and effort is brilliant in its concept.  But it has one glaring flaw.  It does not have a mechanism to adjust for population changes and movement over time.  Once the boundaries are set, the divisions become self-governing entities whose governments are elected by popular vote within the division.  As people migrate from division to division, as will happen over time as new cities are built and industry relocates to lower cost areas, etc. the demographics of each division will change.  This could even happen through conscious design by particular parties.  Since Israel is so small, it is likely that persons who work in one division will live in another where they will vote.  What about immigration and the Right of Return for both Jews making Aliyah and Palestinian refugees returning to their or their parent’s homes?  Is it expected that these newcomers will automatically gravitate to their appropriate division?  What about those in the Jewish and Palestinian Diasporas?  Will they get to vote, and if so, in which division?  And don’t forget varying birthrates.

It would not take long for the carefully designed balanced numbers in the federal parliament to skew sufficiently one way or the other resulting in the capability for one group to pass discriminatory laws against the other.

In the Federation Model that has only two states, the question arises of how many representatives in the federal parliament would come from each of the two states.  Should this be based on population?  This would quickly devolve into One Binational State where a majority would be in the position to pass discriminatory laws against the minority.  Should there be an equal number from each?  This would be similar to the Two-Legislature Solution but with the houses representing geographical areas instead of ethnicities.  This could eventually lead to a Jewish minority in both geographical areas, which again is the difficulty with the One Binational State.

The Two-Legislature Solution is a much easier way to achieve the power balance desired by the Federation Model while also allowing free movement and changing demographics across the entire country over time.

About the Author
Mr. Ashley is a Mining Engineer with 36 years of experience in the mining industry. He holds a B.S. in Mining Engineering, an M.S. in Mining Engineering (Geostatistics), and an MBA. He is also a Registered Professional Engineer in the State of Nevada (Retired). He has worked on evaluation and development of more than 50 mining projects located in Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Morocco, Norway, Peru, Papua New Guinea, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Suriname, Thailand and the USA, involving commodities as diverse as aluminum (including bauxite and alumina), coal, copper, diamonds, gold, iron ore, kaolin, lignite, nickel, oil shale, potash, silver, uranium and zinc. Since his retirement he has dedicated his life to supporting causes that promote sustainable peace and development for all and working within his community to support democracy and good government doing such things as working on the Civil Grand Jury in his County and working as a Poll Worker and Trainer of Poll Workers.