Dan Ehrlich

Two State or One State? The Big Post Bibi Question

Israel has approved the largest seizure of land in the occupied West Bank in more than three decades, a move that could be a fatal blow to a future Palestinian state.

Politicians have long held out a two state solution as a cure-all to Israel-Arab conflict. This is simplistic in the extreme. And as Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said, regarding the Hamas October 7th massacre, “This is why a two state solution won’t work.”

Yet, Israelis of all political parties, sooner rather than later, may have to admit that Bibi has a valid point, but for a different reason. A two state solution won’t work because there simply may not be enough land for one.

What is more likely, and hasn’t been realized, is a one state solution where Jewish settlers and Arabs in Gaza and the West Bank live side by side, as part of a greater Israel, something the ultra frum government fears even more than a Palestinian state.

Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich, a settler himself, says he aims to solidify Israel’s hold on the territory and prevent the creation of a Palestinian state.

Authorities recently approved the appropriation of 12.7 square kilometers (nearly 5 square miles) of land in the Jordan Valley, according to a copy of the order obtained by The Associated Press.

Gradually, it’s becoming more obvious West Bank settlers would like to drive the Palestinian Arabs out of Judea and Samaria and into Jordan with Biblical Israel re-established.

If this was 1967 they may have been able to succeed in ethnically cleansing the West Bank during the violence and chaos of the 6 day war in which Jordan was one of the Arab nations fighting Israel. But, not now. The world and the region have evolved. Jordan has a peace treaty with Israel.

Still, it wasn’t the independent state of Gaza that lead to the October massacre and war. It was the state of the people and the mob rule of the Hamas government that caused them.

Through all the wars and attacks associated with the growth of the Jewish state, one key fact of life has been ignored: Any time poor people are living next to wealthy people, there is resentment built on envy and jealousy. Couple this with historic religious based hatred and the possibility for violence is ever present.

This is was the case with Rome and the northern barbarians and is now the case with US and Mexico. Yet, a rich-poor situation had existed within Israel itself from its 1948 founding.

I recall when I was spending a few months in Tel Aviv back in 1968, the Associated Press bureau gave me a freelance assignment to write about the affluence and poverty in the Tel Aviv-Jaffa area. That’s when I learned about the two Jewish states that existed side by side…one Ashkenazi and another Mizrahi.

The Mizrahi then were mainly of lower economic and education levels than the Ashkenazi. And politically they were being ignored. That was until a surging new right wing party was ready to challenge the founding leftist Labour Party.

Netanyahu eventually became prime minister because Likud’s Menachem Begin championed the booming Mizrahi population, and soundly beat Labour at the 1977 polls. The rest is history.

The Abraham Accord between Israel and mainly the oil rich and booming Gulf states is largely based on mutual interests of wealth and commerce… nations that have more in common than not.

The fact is nations anchored by a large middle and upper classes avoid wars that may spill on to their own turfs. The exception is the USA, which has been involved in more geo-political conflicts than any major nation, but has yet to fight an adversary within its own borders.

A lasting peace with the Palestinian Arabs will only come when present and future generations are able raise their living standards to those of Israeli Arabs.

To do this Israel must engage with the Palestinian population closer than ever before. This is contrary to the Arab League and Hamas positions that Palestinians should govern themselves.

It will take decades to counter the hate and distrust of Israelis. Education in schools of young and old alike will have to be overseen by Israeli Arabs or pro Israeli Palestinians. The culture of hate filled anti-Jewish education must cease in Palestinian schools.

Remember politicians such as Netanyahu only plan in terms of their lifespan, something that went terribly and tragically wrong with Gaza. Yet, after Bibi is gone, Israel will be left with two choices.

The first is for an independent Palestinian state to be formed or giving all Palestinian Arabs the choice of Israeli citizenship in a greater united Israel.

But even this won’t be enough to secure a lasting peace if the Palestinian Arabs don’t have the opportunity for economic advancement coupled with freedom from subjugation by terrorist groups or Israel.

About the Author
A London based American journalist with a long wide ranging career spanning print, radio TV and online news.
Related Topics
Related Posts