Monday, 4 January 2010

The state of one-state arguments

Normblog, one of my favourite blogs, has a recent piece questioning those who suport the one-state solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict. His piece is excellent and you can read it here.

People who argue for a one state solution must necessarily, he argues, fall into one of two categories, those who require the consent of both populations - Jewish and Arab - for the one state solution, and those who do not - only requiring the consent of one (or neither)of the populations.

Now if the one-state solution is based on majority consent of both populations then the whole problem of the Israel-Palestine conflict would not exist. Democratic decision making would lead to one state being produced. But short of manufacturing consent (dfficult to see how) this solution is impracticable.

For those who don't require consent and so envisage the one state-solution being imposed on the Jews of Israel, Normblog asks the following questions:

First, how could it be imposed if a reversal of the policy of the settlements could not be? Second, are the Jews to be denied their right of national self-determination while the Palestinians (assuming them to fall in with the proposed one-state solution) are granted theirs? Third, are the democratic one-state solution converts merely sponsoring in a more hand-wringing way what others put less tactfully in their rhetoric - namely, the forcible destruction of Israel?

It's true that Israel may be heading towards a de-facto one-state situation. The region's demography points to a future in which Jews will constitute a minority in the area controlled by Israel - something the international community are unlikely to tolerate - and given Israel's continued settlement building, there is likely to be an even greater reluctance to relinquish that territory in years to come. A one-state situation - not solution - is therefore not entirely improbable.

But there is no good reason for confusing the possibility of a one-state 'situation' with its desirability as a 'solution' - unless, of course, you like the idea of imposing a political setup characterised from the outset by a legitimacy deficit and vigorous and violent opposition. But I suspect few will...

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