Response To Common Inaccuracy: Bi-National/One-State Solution

Inaccuracy: The concept of a two-state solution for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is not feasible and is outdated. Instead, there should be one state, a “bi-national” state that would be comprised of Israel and the West Bank and Gaza Strip that would protect the respective Jewish/Israeli and Palestinian identities and interests of its citizens. 

Response

The proposal of a bi-national state, or a “one-state solution,” is nothing less than an indirect attempt to bring about an end to the State of Israel as the national homeland of the Jewish people.

The State of Israel was established out of the nationalist aspirations of the Jewish people and an international recognition of the rights of Jews to a homeland following millennia of persecution. While a Jewish state, Israel’s founding principles guarantee equal treatment and protection for all its citizens’ – regardless of religion, ethnicity or color.

A bi-national state, in principle and in practice, would mean the ideological end of the Jewish State of Israel and lead to the forsaking of Jewish nationalism and identity, along with its special status as a refuge for Jews fleeing persecution.

Furthermore, bi-nationalism is unworkable given current realities and historic animosities. With historically high birth rates among the Palestinians, and a possible influx of Palestinian refugees and their descendants now living around the world, Jews would quickly be a minority within a bi-national state, thus likely ending any semblance of equal representation and protections. In this situation, the Jewish population would be increasingly politically – and potentially physically – vulnerable.

It is unrealistic and unacceptable to expect the State of Israel to voluntarily subvert its own sovereign existence and nationalist identity and become a vulnerable minority within what was once its own territory.

Moreover, as Israeli analyst Yossi Klein-Halevi has argued, “the notion that Palestinians and Jews, who can’t even negotiate a two-state solution, could coexist in one happy state is so ludicrous that only the naive or the malicious would fall for it.”

Within certain intellectual circles the call for a bi-national Israeli-Palestinian state has gained traction. While couching their arguments in terms of egalitarianism and justice, proponents of a bi-national state are predominantly harsh critics of Israel, and use this proposal as a vehicle to further their advocacy against an independent Jewish state.

Some nationalist Israelis also call for a “one-state solution” whereby Israel would annex the West Bank and Gaza Strip and create one state incorporating this entire territory. Such a concept is equally unacceptable as Israel would then have to sacrifice its status as both a Jewish and democratic state. Were Israel to absorb these territories and make the residents of the West Bank and Gaza Strip full citizens of Israel, demographic realities would lead to the effective end of a Jewish State of Israel. Should Israel annex these territories yet deny the non-Jewish residents full citizenship, Israel would no longer be a democratic state. Either choice is inimical to Israel’s founding ideology.

Any just solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict should be based on two states, living side by side in peace and security.