Reflections on the one-state solution

Dr. Ayman Ibrahim AL-Regeb

Translated by ShaimaaBehery

After the two-states solution continued as the best option internationally since the establishment of the Israeli occupation state in 1948, based on the partition resolution no 181 issued by the United Nations General Assembly on November 27, 1947, which stipulated the establishment of a Jewish state on 52 percent of the Palestinian lands in exchange for the establishment ofan Arab country on 46 percent of the same land, giving the city of Jerusalem a special status that follows international administration system, the Israeli occupation relied on this decision to gain its legitimacy and occupied nearly 78 percent of Palestinian land in 1948.

Israel bypassed the partition resolution and commenced a new phase of conflict amid international impotence and US bias, which deepened its cupidity to occupy lands beyond Palestine. In 1967, it occupied Egyptian, Syrian, Jordanian and Lebanese lands, raising the slogan that charting Israeli borders depends on the last piece of land trodden by Israeli soldier.

In 1978, an Israeli retreat from the dream of Greater Israel whose lands extends over a large part of Arab lands was marked by the Egyptian-Israeli agreement Camp David.This treaty could persuade Israel to withdraw from an Egyptian territory it occupied after claiming a historical right in it.

Despite the Arab rejection of the Camp David agreement, they themselves offered a vision of peace in Fez Summit in Morocco in 1982that posed recognition of Israel in return of establishment of Palestinian state on the borders of the Arab occupied lands including Jerusalem, but Palestinians and other Arab leaders rejected this vision suggested by Saudi Arabia.Therefore, no Arab decision or initiative came out at such exceptional summit; rather, the Arab region became more lacerated.

Then, a vital change with the Palestinian attitude towards the issue was noticed. It became clear that decision of Palestine was affected by the Israeli war against Lebanon in 1982 . It has been proven that Arab refusal to any peace process wasn’t more than a mere slogan when Palestinian and Lebanese people were left alone in an unequal battle againstIsraelwho had a huge military force and full US support.

The Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat insisted during his exit from Lebanon in 1983 to take Egypt as the first stop in the new Palestinian expatriation process. He chose Egypt and met Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak despite the Arab boycott to Egypt, which sent a clear message to all those raising revolutionary and nationalist slogans ”You have failed us.”Actually, Egypt took a serious stand against the war on Lebanon as the Egyptian diplomacy moved on all international aspects to condemn and stop this aggression and sent medical teams under the name of international institutions to provide first aid and treatment to the wounded Palestinians and Lebanese. This had a good effect on the Palestinian leadership and marked a historical shift in its stance as it decided a new phase of rapprochement with Egypt although the new headquarters of the League of Arab States (LAS)had beendecided to be established in Tunisia. Such rapprochement labeled the Palestinian leadership entry into the peaceful resolution arena.

In 1987, when the first Palestinian Intifada (stones uprising) occurred, the Palestinian issue came back to the international political scene and Arab diplomacy woke up actively to find a solution. Attentions then were heading toheadquarters of Palestinian Leadership in Tunisia whoaccepted the Madrid peace conference in 1991 without direct participation of the Palestinian Liberty Organization(PLO); furthermore,it agreed that the delegation participating in the conference to be Jordanian-Palestinian one. Thus, Madrid Peace Conference was a Palestinian official entry to a peaceful settlement battlefield.

Indeed, Palestinian flexibility prevailed in the Conference of Madrid brought out the desire of the Palestinian leadership to enter a political settlement project and to accept what they were refusing before, which encouraged the United States to play a role in reaching an Israeli – Palestinian agreement and thus Washington witnessed several Palestinian- Israeli encounters didn’t come up with any consent. At the meantime, European countries intervened to open Palestinian-Israeli dialogue and the Norwegian capital Oslo hosted the most important secret Palestinian-Israeli meetings, which resulted in a Palestinian-Israeli agreement in September of 1993dubbed as “Oslo Accords” because it was accomplished in complete secrecy in the Norwegian capital, Oslo.

The agreement has shocked many countries and Palestinian factions who considered the Oslo Accords a waiver of the principles of the PLO, which was calling for the liberation of all Palestinian territories. In return,supporters of Oslo deemed this agreement a historic opportunity to build a Palestinian entity on the land of Palestine, relying on the PLO decisionsin 1983 (that included acceptance of the construction of a temporary Palestinian state on any land of Palestine considering it a springboard of liberation to other Palestinian lands).  The pro-Oslo Accordsconsidered it a chance to respond to those who claimed that the Palestinian issue was the issue of missed opportunities and also a chancewould allow the entry of one hundred and twenty thousand (12000) Palestinian fighters dispersed in several countries.

Although a large part of political factions and a number of Arab countries opposed this agreement, they later dealt with it as a fait accompli.

In fact, Oslo Accords strengthened the vigor to build a Palestinian entity, soYasser Arafat was keenonmanifesting all forms of sovereignty and state in the allocated territory and this was represented in the establishment of security bodiesand ministries and designation of a national flag and anthem and even guards’ parade. So sadly, the dream of this entity gradually disappeared in the face of the procrastination   of Israel who refused to complete the withdrawal process they agreed upon according to the Oslo provisions. Then, the assassination of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin by a Jewish extremist in 1995 was like a blow to the entire agreement and a curtain was closed on a peace process phase.

Negotiations and clashes with the occupation continued for years until   negotiations stopped at the end of 2014 with the emergence of new variables. These variables included the Arab adoption of the Arab Peace Initiative in 2002 at Beirut Summit that marked an offer of Arab recognition to the State of Israel in exchange for the establishment of a Palestinian state on the Arab lands occupiedin 1967. In addition, thedivision political Palestinian factions suffered in 2007 ended with the US 2020 plan, deal of the century. Such deal thatmade the two-state solution which launched the settlement process since the Camp David in 1978until Oslo in 1993 in danger, what’s more, it may end as a final solution .

This stage of Palestinian- Palestinian tension and Palestinian-Israeli tension prompted many to talk about the one-state option.

This has turned the two-state solution dead and US Donald Trump’sofficial recognition came to confirm the death and the burial of this option. Meanwhile, The Israeli occupation policy includingsettlements building and continuing annexation of Palestinian lands and annexation of Jerusalem made the two-state solution an almost impossible option. As a result, some proposals calling for a one-state solution as the only solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict has begun to surface while some Arab voices do not hide their conviction that the demographic factor will be sufficient to end the Zionist character of the new state, rather, they believe that reaching Palestinian control over this state will inevitably achieved as a result of the demographic factor due to existence of a Palestinian Arab majority in the new state.

Proponents of thisnew trend believe that theory of establishment of a meaningful  Palestinian state has ended and that facts on the ground will make any Palestinian entity appears within the context of Trump’s plan will be of undiminished sovereignty and non-viable and won’t meet the aspirations of the Palestinians.

Besides, some argue a mutual dependence and integration between the Palestinians and Israelis whether in terms of economy or security can’t be dismantled and there is a growing demand for civil and national rights, has become a basic requirement for a large part of the Palestinians can’t be ignored. Certainly, the idea of ​​the one state is not brand new but it has surfaced again and its supporters are calling for taking it a strategy Palestinians and Arabs must follow to confront the deal of the century.

There is more than one formula for a single state, one of which is the establishment of a single democratic state in which everyone enjoys equal national and political rights, which will lead to the end of the Jewish character of this state and some Palestinian politicians support such formula. The second formula is a bi-national state that shares the land with Palestinians and Israelis but remains nationally separated and each party maintains its identity on Patriotic and religious levels, with a unified security and sovereignty apparatus.

Actually, it is easy to present this solution but difficult to imagine because it requires the adoption of this solution by the Palestinians and the Israelis. Frankly,this is not on the political agenda of either side but it can be thought of as an outcome or as a result of the failure of political solutions.

Palestinians and Israelis oppose this idea and every party has his own reasons. Jewish extremists know that this proposition will lead to the end of the Jewish character of the new state, and therefore it is impossible to imagine Israeli consensus on this option at least at the current stage.

Some Arab theorists and politicians favor this solution, relying on the demographic factor to defeat the Zionism, and this is certainly logical and reasonable, but is Israel oblivious to this factor? On the contrary, without this factor, Israel would have annexed the West Bank a long time ago and established itself as a single state.

I believe adoption of a one – state solution needs Palestinian and Arab consensus and Arab support and might be an inevitable result of the Israeli- Palestinian conflict end on the long term. Brandishing this solution seriously is the solution to face the deal of the century and the two-states solution that isaccepted by both sides and entire international community.


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