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Israel: Explaining the one-state solution
by Jay Gutman
2017-03-26 12:42:44
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You go to one of Tel Aviv’s numerous cafes and take your order from a Hijabi woman. You can either order in Arabic or Hebrew, or English if you want to. The Muslim woman works along with other baristas from all kinds of different backgrounds. Jewish, Muslim, Arab Christian but also Sudanese, Eritrean or perhaps Russian, Indian or Filipino. They all get paid the same amount, deductions are the same and perks are the same. The model applies to workers in Israel’s high tech industry as well as government institutions and small business.

state01_400On the other hand, you have Palestinian territories in Judea and Samaria/West Bank and ’Aza/Gaza. The territories have a government, political parties and a parliament, and a one point even had a Jewish member of parliament. The Palestinian territories have Arab cities as well as Jewish towns that were all built with a great deal of improvisation, with or without building permits on both sides, and thank God earthquakes are not common in the region. Arab towns in Palestine are like Arab towns everywhere, some with luxurious mansions, others with overcrowded apartments and housing units filled with gangs, drugs and the rest.

Some have, perhaps naively, suggested that the Palestinian territories could be absorbed by the State of Israel and Palestinians could be granted citizenship. They suggest that the Palestinians could have the right to vote if they serve in the army, meaning that the Knesset (Israeli parliament) could end up with an Arab majority if voting is done along ethnic lines. This solution’s advantage is that the Israeli police, military police and military forces could freely work in the Palestinian territories and should make attacks on Israel much less likely. Militarily and economically the situation could work.

But to be realistic. If Israel becomes a state with an Arab majority, some political and social questions need to be pondered. First, Israel has long been a single-constituency state where the unofficial motto is “kulanu mishpacha” (we are all one single family.) Now with an Arab majority, Israel could look a lot more like a confederation of nearly independent cities, that could affect not only unity between Arabs and Jews, but unity among Jews between urban as well as religious and cultural lines.

Another question is the cultural one. How would Jewish political culture, which has little tolerance for formality and likes calling names, meet with Arab political culture, where praise is the norm and everyone’s called “fakhamat” (your excellency). How would Jews, who like to discuss and take decisions very publicly, work with Arabs who like to discuss and take decisions behind the scenes.

Perhaps one big mistake would be to assume that the 1.7 million Arabs who grew up in Israel were raised the same way the 4.5 million Palestinians were raised. They didn’t watch the same television programs, didn’t read the same newspapers, didn’t go to the same schools and certainly have very different views on Israel and on Jews in general. Assuming they are the same is kind of like assuming that North Africans in France are the same as North Africans in North Africa.

One thing I’m convinced is that a one-state solution probably wouldn’t be apartheid, or dare I say certainly wouldn’t be apartheid. I would link it more to undertones of the German unification, where the question would be how you unite two people with very different government structures, ideologies, and even worse, who at some point were at war against each other. For the Germans it was a little easier because in 1989 Communism was pretty much dead and East Germans did not oppose the unification.

Israel’s main question is how you live next to territories where many swear your destruction. Or how do you allow the birth of a state, with an army, who promises to destroy you. Do you allow that state to have a police force, that will gradually stockpile weapons to the point that police becomes an army, the same goes with a military police and an army. So if a Palestinian state were to be born, how would it defend itself against crime without at one point deciding to attack its neighbor?

Overall the issue is a very complex one and I hope I’ve made my small contribution here. Other factors, such as Israel’s economic development and new technological parameters and new social factors come into play. But as they say, some politicians are 100 years behind reality.   

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bohdan2017-03-27 06:43:37
You might start by this thought: Could there ever be an experiment to allow Palestinians to also occupy homes in the newly built West Bank settlements, for every Israeli family one Palestinian family living next door.

Unless that can happen the one state solution is a false dream.....but one worth trying. I think also possible if Courage and Wisdom are allowed to prevail.

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