Why the Two State Solution is the ONLY solution

by: volleyboy1

Tue Feb 26, 2013 at 20:25:01 PM EST

Cross posted at the Progressive Zionist (http://progressivezionist.com)

Or better titled... when the "CW" (Conventional Wisdom) gets it completely wrong.

Everyone is spouting that the Two State Solution to the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict is either dead or dying, but frankly I see it getting stronger and stronger. I honestly do. I just can't see how a One State Solution can ever happen. Now, don't get me wrong, I don't see a Two State Solution along any of the lines that have been previously discussed, NOR do I see a Two State Solution along the lines that either side's hard Rightist wings would find acceptable, BUT I do think it is the only realistic possible outcome.

We keep hearing how Israeli annexation is dooming the Two State Solution. We keep hearing how Hamas' rocket fire and insistence on destroying Israel is dooming the Two State Solution but all of it, and I mean all of it is complete nonsense (or as I learned in Hebrew - "Shtuyoat" - stupidity). Why?

Well let's look at the arguments and take them out to their logical conclusions. First let's take the argument that Israeli settlements stand in the way of the Two State Solutions. Ok... I can see why someone would say that. I mean Israeli settlements are popping up in parts of the West Bank that are fairly remote and even though these settlements are technically illegal and the Government looks the other way, they are also fairly non-sustainable. It is pretty obvious that these settlements are meant to create "facts on the ground" and make sure that there is no acceptable (to the Palestinians) way to reach a Two State Solution. SO... let's say that these settlements are allowed to continue to pop up here and there creating little "facts on the ground" at some point Israel will be faced with a choice - annex the West Bank or annex the territory just around those settlements... OR turn that territory over to the Palestinians and let the settlers fend for themselves (which is something NO Jewish P.M. could ever, ever do).

IF Israel annexes the West Bank they run into a major problem. Demographics. All of a sudden Israel inherits approx. 2.6 million Palestinians. That is a lot of Palestinians for Israel to absorb as citizens. That would place considerable strain on social services not too mention the IDF who would now have to constantly patrol areas of the country that had absolute hostility to the central government. Oh, and not too mention that these new citizens would vote and soon enough would comprise part of an Arab majority inside of Israels borders. That would be in effect the end of Israel as we know it.

So what do those who favor annexation advocate... well there are three options that they support. These are:

1. Annexing the West Bank and keeping the Arabs as "not quite citizens". In other words, disenfranchising around 22% of the population of the State. I would think the downside of this is obvious. It would immediately cause either revolution or intense civil unrest. Oh and I can't imagine any other nation supporting Israel in this venture. Not even the U.S. would support this. In this case Israel's internal budget which is already stressed would be further pushed by having to support continued military operations throughout Palestinian Populated areas for an indefinite amount of time. It would become simply unsustainable.

And then let's look at the effect on morale in the IDF. Israel is a fairly progressive society in certain ways. For the IDF to take on the role of Oppressors to 22% of their nation, that would completely destroy Israeli secular society and turn the country into something far, far worse. The IDF would cease to be a defensive force and would transform into a police force and Israel into a police State, because I cannot imagine that the majority of Israeli Arabs would put up with this in their nation for one moment.

2. Another option is the Bennett Plan, where Israel Annexes Area C and maintains Areas A & B as autonomous provinces. Again, where will Israel get the international support for something like this? How will it budget for this? What role will the IDF take in maintaining calm should the PA simply say, "Screw you - handle security yourselves". Remember, the world voted to recognize Palestine as a State, and while the World community may be inept in many cases becoming a State like North Korea (but without a large nation to support it, because no way the U.S. goes a long with this) is not something that is realistic for Israel to do.

The problem with the Bennett plan (aside from the obvious denials of Palestinian Right to Self Determination) simply is unworkable. The Palestinians would never accept this and would actively contest it. Unless Israel would be willing to "go Kahane" on the Arabs (which would then start a major regional war) there is no way that the Israelis could permanently maintain this situation. Sure the status quo is holding but, only because the Palestinians in the West Bank have chosen non violent resistance (by and large but not in every case). What happens when they go into full revolt? And what happens when that is seen as justified by the World community including both the U.S. and E.U.

3. Of course the third option is to simply ethnically cleanse the Arab Population from the West Bank. That would certainly solve a couple of the problems of maintaining an Occupation. Of course, perhaps those proponents of this solution should ask the Serbs how that worked for them. Not too mention that the Israelis would face full on revolt from 20% of it's population along with continued attacks from pretty much every surrounding Arab Nation. Hell, if they tried that even the E.U. would probably send forces or at least major support to the Arabs.

And what of those morons who say... "Well Israel can go it alone".... Really? You think Israel can stand against the rest of the world including the U.S. and E.U. Some moron once said "Well let's tell the Americans we are on our own and that we will get other allies". Who the fuck are they going to get? The Russians? The Russians are in bed with everyone but the Israelis. The Chinese? The Chinese are sucking at the Arab Teat for the worlds remaining Oil Supplies. Are they seriously maintaining that Israel could actually go "North Korea" (who is propped up only through the largesse of they Chinese).

So there really is no other option for Israel - IF Israel actually wants to survive.

At the same time... The Palestinians have absolutely ZERO options if they want a Single State. By going to the U.N. all they did was codify the Two State Solution. The Russians and Chinese may dislike Israel but they are not going to actively work to help radical jihadists and Mullahs in Iran realize their dream of wiping out a recognized State. PLUS the U.S. and Western Europeans would never allow it.

As for those on the Israeli and Palestinian Left that advocate the "Palestinian One State Solution". NO ONE on their side, but, NO ONE takes them seriously. In the latest poll of Palestinians only 22% supported a One State Solution where Jews and Arabs lived side by side. I mean, nobody, not Israelis not Palestinians wants a One State Solution. It is freakin' ridiculous that this theory is even given a second thought.

At some point, everyone is going to come to a reason that Israelis and Palestinians simply can't live in the same nation under a One State flag. Both sides (rightly so) want their own "homelands". Of course I support the fact that Jews should be able to live in Palestine, and that Arabs should be able to live in Israel as full and equal citizens with the caveat that people remember that Israel is the National Homeland and State of the Jewish People, and Palestine would be the State and National Homeland of the Palestinian People.

There simply is no other way the situation can continue to exist without either a major revolution or war breaking out there. At some point the "dam will burst" and when it does, there won't be much left to piece together. So whether it through Israeli Unilateralism (because we already have the theoretical establishment of Palestine through Palestinian unilateralism), or a world effort to quell violence in the region this is what is going to happen. And even if war does breakout, this is what will be imposed whether both sides like it or not because neither side can take on the West, or the combined efforts of the Russians and Chinese. And at some point the major players WILL take care to see a solution imposed on the region.

I am just telling you what I think is real and what will play out in macro terms. If you see it playing out differently, please let me know how you see that. I would be curious to see what others think.  

volleyboy1 :: Why the Two State Solution is the ONLY solution
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I agree. (2.00 / 5)
A two-state solution is the only way.

The borders sort of boggle my mind, but there are stranger (I think) borders drawn in the world already.

As the Arab world continues its journey into more free and modern societies the end state for the region is obvious. As you say, demographics don't work for a single state for generations, and I just don't see the current situation lasting that long.

Of course by my view declaring countries as homelands for ethnicities is not a long term solution, but I'm defining "long term" much longer than we need to discuss at this time. For the purpose of the next hundred years or probably more the ethno-centric identity of nations isn't something that we need to concern ourselves with in our lifetimes, and beyond that period the issue will resolve itself by attrition.

Of course not every ethnicity has its own country, so another "solution" (which isn't going to happen) would be for the two areas of Palestine to become part of the Arab nations they border (did I mention that isn't going to happen?). Regardless, a one-state solution incorporating Palestine into Israel (which some pro-Israel camps might endorse) isn't going to work, and a one-state solution that incoporpates Israel into Palestine (which some pro-Palestinian camps endorse) is never going to happen.

Nothing left but two states, however it gets done.

John Askren - "Never get into a pissing match with a skunk."

Many (maybe even most?) states have some ethnic basis (2.00 / 4)
but most (maybe even all) contain ethnic minorities. Japan has the Ainu, the Scandinavian countries have e.g. Lapps and Eskimo/Inuit (I listed those because they are commonly thought of as homogeneous societies).

Heck, the Jews of Israel are not one ethnicity either.

Is there a formal definition of an "ethnicity"?  

"Most people worry about their own bellies and other people's souls when we all ought to worry about our own souls and others' bellies" Israel Salanter

[ Parent ]
Most states are ethnic, (2.00 / 3)
which has always been one of the things setting America apart. The suggestion that "America is a [blank] country!" is offensive by nature. Insert white/christian/anglo/anything where the [blank] is and you have a racist/discriminatory statement from the outset.

Mets and I had a discussion in another thread about the whole "is Jewish an ethnicity?" topic. The answer is complex in taxonomy, but as soon as you support a statement such as "Israel is the Jewish Homeland" then it boils down to a simple 'yes' for practical purposes.

European countries are almost all effectively ethnic enclaves, as are Asian, African, middle eastern and South American. The US (and to a lesser extent Canada) has always been the place where your ethnicity doesn't matter - it all melts in the pot.

As long as we keep defining nations as ethnic homelands we will keep explicitly supporting the idea that each is not the home of any other ethnicities. That you can be born in a country, live your entire life in a country, and still never be of that country.

It is a paradox for Americans to say on the one hand "how dare you say I am not American because of my ethnicity??" and on the other "the XYZ people deserve a homeland".

But, as I said above, this is not an issue that is going to be resolved by agreement, but by time. With travel and communications continuing to mix cultures and blur borders there will come a time several generations from now when the idea of an "ethnic homeland" is offensive anywhere else as it is here. We won't live to see that day, however, so for our purposes terms like "Jewish/Palestinian (Hootu/Tutsi/Kongo) homeland" will have to be tolerated.

To your question - 'Is there a formal definition of an "ethnicity"?' we can look to The Wiki for an answer, and it is telling:

Ethnicity or ethnic group is a socially defined category based on common culture or nationality.[1][2] Ethnicity can, but does not have to, include common ancestry, appearance, cuisine, dressing style, heritage, history, language or dialect, religion, symbols, traditions, or other cultural factor. Ethnic identity is constantly reinforced through common characteristics which set the group apart from other groups.

"which set the group apart from other groups"

And hence, once again the root of all conflict. There is "Us", and there is "Them".


John Askren - "Never get into a pissing match with a skunk."

[ Parent ]
Us and them is a key question (2.00 / 3)
and it comes up over and over.

That definition from Wiki is interesting. The census (and many others, following them) list "Hispanic/Latino" as an ethnicity, which is silly. "Hispanic/Latinos" in the USA have no universal trait - many do not speak Spanish - and what do e.g. people whose ancestors settled in Arizona many generations ago have in common with Puerto Ricans who moved to New York last month?

The Jewish ethnicity question is, indeed, tangled for several reasons, not the least of which is that "Jewish" is used to refer to both the ethnic group (if it is one, which I doubt) and the religion. One can certainly be e.g. Ashkenazi and atheist (I am!)

On the other hand, one simple definition is "If you'd be in Germany in 1940, would you have been in a lot of trouble?"

One can also be of multiple ethnicities, of course. Not only can one have parents of different ethnicities, one can be e.g. Ashkenazi and French.

Complicated stuff.  

"Most people worry about their own bellies and other people's souls when we all ought to worry about our own souls and others' bellies" Israel Salanter

[ Parent ]
The stock answer to "How do you build a team?" is (2.00 / 3)
identify an enemy

In business this is all well and good, the Evil Competition is out to steal your wages, let's go get 'em!

In sports this is all well and good, the Evil Competition is out to steal your trophy, let's go get 'em!

Among people in the day-to-day world? It is the - literally - root of all evil. War, discrimination, injustice: all of it. It must be OK to treat Them different, they aren't One Of Us.

It is only the pragmatist in me that stops me from ranting endlessly about this (and then only so much, obviously).

Here in the US among Inclusive Liberals we talk out of the other side of our mouths about the glory of sub-cultures and the richness of ethnicities. We talk about inclusiveness and fairness and without a pause for rational thought go on to separate us back into respective corners. We assign acts of ethnic injustice to one group (usually "white", as if that was a contiguous ethnicity itself) while condoning the same behavior by other groups as "culture".


My various ancestors all killed each other (pick a branch) primarily because some of them were Them and some of them were Us. No different if we are talking about my French/English/German/Polish ancestors killing each other, them and my American ancestors killing each other or the various Us'es and Thems of my Native American ancestors who did the same thing to each other. The history of human conflict is a story of one "ethnic" group busily discriminating against another.

I understand. People self-identify with one particular ethnic thread in themselves and ignore all their other ancestors. But as far as I am concerned the only ethnicity that matters is "human", everything else is just an accent.

John Askren - "Never get into a pissing match with a skunk."

[ Parent ]
Robert Coles has written about this (2.00 / 4)
I believe in "The Moral Life of Children".

He studied two groups: Very poor children who did very moral things and children of privilege who did nasty things.

The key was a sense of "us". One teenage prostitute in a favela in Brazil gave some of her meager earnings to an orphanage. When Coles asked her why she said "it could be me".

On the other hand, wealthy kids who, e.g. treated waiters nastily would tell Coles "he's a waiter!" as if that explained it.

There is no them.  

"Most people worry about their own bellies and other people's souls when we all ought to worry about our own souls and others' bellies" Israel Salanter

[ Parent ]
To some extent, SOME evacuation of settlers from where they (2.00 / 4)
live will HAVE to take place.  It may not be extensive, but some exertion of authority (ala Yamit) will have to take place, particularly in these small outpost settlements.   Of course, in the end, the settlers will have to decide for themselves, "Do I really want to live under Palestinian authority?".  Most will answer "Hell, no!", but there will be some who hole up, Waco fashion, and attempt to hold back the tide.  That will be a further hindrance to peace.  The parties need to understand that these are a necessary consequence to an accord, and they need to reasonably prepare their respective publics.  That will require great political courage, more than I can reasonably expect from the current crop of both Israeli and Palestinian leaders.  End result, regardless, will be a balagan.  Only, one which is not as bad as letting the current situation continue to fester.

I am for the individual over government, government over big business and the environment over all. -- William O. Douglas

Some of the settlers are going to have to move (2.00 / 4)
and the only way for that to happen (without a full scale war) is for Israel to become a secular Jewish state and somehow form a coalition without any of the religious parties.

I do not have much hope of this happening.

One thing people (not people like the diarist, but the general public) forget is how **small** Israel is. It's the size of New Jersey.  

"Most people worry about their own bellies and other people's souls when we all ought to worry about our own souls and others' bellies" Israel Salanter

Well I don't think Israel will give up it's Jewish Identity (and I don't think it (2.00 / 3)
should). But I agree with cutting out the Haredi parties. The only problem is that it cannot be done right now. Because even two of the non-Haredi parties (Likud-Betainu and HaBayit HaYehudi) are not secular in nature.

And you are right about the size of Israel - I believe it is 5-6 hours from Southern tip to the Northern Part of the Golan and in the middle it is in places only Nine Miles wide, though I don't expect that to realistically exist after the two States settle out.  

Vote for me and all of your wildest dreams will come true!

[ Parent ]
Not only that, but some of it is desert, and (2.00 / 3)
nearly uninhabitable. In the far south there's Eilat, but not a lot of towns around it.

"Most people worry about their own bellies and other people's souls when we all ought to worry about our own souls and others' bellies" Israel Salanter

[ Parent ]
Yep... and Eilat is completely vulnerable. (2.00 / 3)

Vote for me and all of your wildest dreams will come true!

[ Parent ]

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