Israel: A One State Solution?

It is a very strange turn of events that I find myself agreeing on anything with Muammar Qaddafi. He argues that the two-state solution of Israel and Palestine isn’t possible, and calls for a single state that would include the right of return for Palestinian refugees.

The history of Israel/Palestine is not remarkable by regional standards — a country inhabited by different peoples, with rule passing among many tribes, nations and ethnic groups; a country that has withstood many wars and waves of peoples from all directions. This is why it gets so complicated when members of either party claims the right to assert that it is their land.

In absolute terms, the two movements must remain in perpetual war or a compromise must be reached. The compromise is one state for all, an “Isratine” that would allow the people in each party to feel that they live in all of the disputed land and they are not deprived of any one part of it.

I certainly don’t agree with all that he says, but I do agree that a Palestinian state in just the West Bank, or in the West Bank and Gaza, is not likely to be viable. In addition to the unacceptable long-term security threat to Israel that Qaddafi cites, there is also the issue of water security. Currently, Israel controls the vast majority of water resources for the region, and consumption is already at unsustainably high levels. Salt water intrusion into aquifers is the cost of making the desert bloom. A Palestinian state would be in constant fear of a water shortage, especially in the face of population growth, which would contribute to on-going security crises with Israel.

I don’t know that I agree that a single ‘Isratine’ is the solution. I suspect that any resolution will need to involve considerable absorption of refugees, and perhaps territory, into Egypt and Jordan, or other Arab states. But I do think that the on-going international commitment to the two-state solution hampers the creation and discussion of other alternatives. Palestinians have for generations been fed on false promises. Everyone in the region needs to take a harsh look at reality.

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Published in: on January 23, 2009 at 11:22 am  Leave a Comment  
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