PALESTINE/ISRAEL: ONE-STATE, BINATIONAL SOLUTION

In 1922, the League of Nations granted Britain a mandate. Like all League of Nations Mandates, the mandate derived from article 22 of the League of Nations Covenant, which called for the self-determination of former Ottoman Empire colonies following a transitory period administered by a world power [13]. The Palestine Mandate recognized the Balfour Declaration of 1917 and required that the mandatory government "facilitate Jewish immigration" while at the same time "ensuring that the rights and position of other sections of the population are not prejudiced."[14]
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Continued violence and the heavy cost of World War II prompted Britain to turn the issue of Palestine to the United Nations in 1947. In UN General Assembly Resolution 181, the United Nations partitioned the area into a Jewish state and an Arab state. The Jewish community accepted the 1947 partition plan, and declared independence as the State of Israel in 1948. The Arab community rejected the partition plan, and five Arab armies — that of Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Transjordan, and Egypt — invaded, resulting in the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. The war, known to Israelis as the Independence War of 1948 and known to Palestinians as Al-Nakba (meaning "the catastrophe"), resulted in Israel's establishment as well as the displacement of the Arab populace.
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2003 to present

Since 2003, there have been renewed interest on binationalism. For example, in 2003, New York University scholar Tony Judt wrote an article titled "Israel: The Alternative" in the New York Review of Books. In the article, Judt deemed the two-state solution as fundamentally doomed and unworkable.

Many Israelis and Palestinians who oppose a one-state solution have come to believe that it may come to pass. Israeli Prime Minister Olmert recently argued, in an interview with the Israeli daily Ha'aretz, that without a two-state agreement Israel would face "a South African-style struggle for equal voting rights" in which case "Israel [would be] finished."[17] This echoes comments made in 2004 by Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qurei, who said that if Israel failed to conclude an agreement with the Palestinians, that the Palestinians would pursue a single, binational state.[18]

Other leftist journalists from Israel, such as Haim Hanegbi and Daniel Gavron, are also calling the public to face the facts (as they see them) and accept the binational solution. This article has engendered a frenzy media blitz in the UK and US. The New York Review of Books received more than one thousand letters per week on the essay. On the Palestinian side, similar voices are raised. In 1999, the Palestinian activist Edward Said wrote:

"...after 50 years of Israeli history, classic Zionism has provided no solution to the Palestinian presence. I therefore see no other way than to begin now to speak about sharing the land that has thrust us together, sharing it in a truly democratic way with equal rights for all citizens."[19]

Several high-level Fatah Palestinian Authority officials have voiced similar opinions, including Prime Minister Ahmed Qurei, Hani Al-Masri. "Time is running out for a two-state solution," Britain's The Guardian newspaper quoted Yasser Arafat as saying in an interview from his West Bank headquarters in 2004. Many political analysts, including Omar Barghouti, believe that the death of Arafat harbingers the bankruptcy of the Oslo Accords and the Two-State Solution.

Today, the prominent proponents for the one-state solution include Palestinian author Ali Abunimah *, Palestinian lawyer Michael Tarazi *, Jeff Halper *, Israeli writer Dan Gavron *, Israeli historian Ilan Pappé, and American academic Virginia Tilley. They cite the expansion of the Israeli Settler movement, especially in the West Bank, as a compelling rationale for binationalism and the increased unfeasibility of the two-state alternative. They advocate a secular and democratic state while still maintaining a Jewish presence and culture in the region. They concede that this alternative will erode the dream of Jewish supremacy in terms of governance in the long run.

On November 29, 2007, the 60th anniversary of the UN decision to partition Palestine, a number of prominent Palestinian, Israeli and other academics and activists issued "The One State Declaration," committing themselves to "a democratic solution that will offer a just, and thus enduring, peace in a single state." The statement called for "the widest possible discussion, research and action to advance a unitary, democratic solution and bring it to fruition."[20]

Source: One-state solution

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  • Tom Usher

    About Tom Usher

    Employment: 2008 - present, website developer and writer. 2015 - present, insurance broker. Education: Arizona State University, Bachelor of Science in Political Science. City University of Seattle, graduate studies in Public Administration. Volunteerism: 2007 - present, president of the Real Liberal Christian Church and Christian Commons Project.
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