The New One-State Solution: Connecting the Dots

Connect these dots:

From The Guardian:

The number of Jewish settlers in the West Bank grew by more than 15,000 in the past year to reach a total that exceeds 350,000 for the first time and has almost doubled in the past 12 years.

Figures from Israel’s population registry show a 4.5% increase in the past 12 months. Most of the newcomers moved into settlements that many observers expect to be evacuated in any peace deal leading to a Palestinian state.

There are an additional 300,000 Jews living in settlements across the pre-1967 border in East Jerusalem, the pro-government and mass-circulation newspaper Israel Hayom reported.

Putting a finer point on these statistics, Dani Dayan, chairman of the settlers Yesha Council had this to say in a recent NY Times op-ed:

(We) aim to expand the existing Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria, and create new ones. This is not — as it is often portrayed — a theological adventure but is rather a combination of inalienable rights and realpolitik. Even now, and despite the severe constraints imposed by international pressure, more than 350,000 Israelis live in Judea and Samaria. With an annual growth rate of 5 percent, we can expect to reach 400,000 by 2014 — and that excludes the almost 200,000 living in Jerusalem’s newer neighborhoods. Taking Jerusalem into account, about 1 in every 10 Israeli Jews resides beyond the 1967 border. Approximately 160,000 Jews live in communities outside the settlement blocs that proponents of the two-state solution believe could be easily incorporated into Israel.

…Our presence in all of Judea and Samaria — not just in the so-called settlement blocs — is an irreversible fact. Trying to stop settlement expansion is futile, and neglecting this fact in diplomatic talks will not change the reality on the ground; it only makes the negotiations more likely to fail.

In essence, Dayan is calling for a kind of a one-state solution here – albeit one that does not extend citizenship rights to non-Jewish residents. (Although in fairness to Dayan, he does say they should be given “freedom of movement.”)

Still can’t figure out what’s going on here? Let’s connect the final dot.  While the Jewish population in Area C of the West Bank is increasing, Israel is demolishing homes, evicting Palestinians, and moving them into Areas A and B at an ever-increasing pace.

Here’s Mya Guarnieri, writing in +972:

At the same time that Israeli settlements are expanding unchecked, the state is putting the Palestinians and Bedouins who live in Area C under extreme, unrelenting pressure, as exemplified by this week’s report by Haaretz that Defense Minister Barak has ordered the demolition of eight Palestinian villages to make way for IDF training.

Demolitions of homes and structures in 2012 have seen an increase. According to a source at the United Nations, between January 1 and April 27 of 2011, 352 Palestinian and Bedouin were forcibly displaced from their homes in East Jerusalem and the West Bank. The same period of 2012 saw “at least 487″ people lose their homes.

It’s a one-two punch intended to increase the Jewish population in the West Bank as much as possible and deplete the Palestinian population as much as possible to ready the area for annexation. Susya, a Palestinian village that is under threat of demolition, is an example of how this works. The village has been destroyed numerous times since the Jewish settlement of Susya was built there in 1983, despite the documents proving it belongs to Palestinians and the fact that this small community has no where else to go.

Israeli pressure on the Palestinian and Bedouin residents of Area C has resulted in a drop in the Arab population in the same area.

And then there’s the Levy Committee Report, which denies that there is an occupation and, according to some observers, lays the legal groundwork (at least in the mind of the Israeli government) for a unilateral annexation of Area C.

It’s not a matter of if. It’s a matter of when.

OK, I’ll say it for you: Israel has no intention of creating a two-state solution. It is creating it’s own “one-state” solution by increasing the Jewish population in the West Bank and warehousing Palestinians in Bantustans throughout Areas A and B. By any other name this would be called an “apartheid” state.

If there are those who disagree with my calculus, I’m certainly open to hearing alternative explanations. In the meantime, here are two questions I’m still unable to answer: when will our community be ready to call out this illegal and immoral behavior?  And what will we be willing to do about it?


27 Comments on “The New One-State Solution: Connecting the Dots”

  1. Seth Morrison says:

    No question that Israel is totally focused on a one-state solution. The only optimism I have left is that Obama wins the election and then decides to use his influence in a meaningful way. Admittedly there is a decent chance for the victory, less of a chance that he will do the right thing afterwards.

    Regarding your questions, my hypothesis is that the generation currently leading the American Jewish Community, now 60 – 80 years old, will die out and the following generation will leave the community much weaker in terms of US politics. That will be followed by a more significant schism with Orthodox and some Conservative remaining blind allies of Israel and the more progressive movements moving away from it.

    This is another article that reinforces our concerns: http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/the-zealots-have-won-again.premium-1.453943

    • umrayya says:

      I would not count on Obama if I were you. His record on the Middle East, and the Arab and Muslims worlds in general is dismal. His record on Israel is likely to remain the disaster it has been so far. I am not optimistic that he will change his modus operandi at all.

  2. i_like_ike52 says:

    There never was a “2-state solution” because the Palestinians and the rest of the Arab world don’t want it. Arafat or Abbas could have had a withdrawal all the way to the pre-67 lines IF they had agreed to give up the “right of return” of the Palestinian refugees. No Israeli leader, including those of the Likud could have turned it down, just as it was the Likud under Begin who gave up every inch of the Sinai to Sadat when he offered a peace agreement in return for a full withdrawal. But they know and everyone else who can read a map would see that a Palestinian state on the West Bank and Gaza would also be just a somewhat larger Bantustan which would be completely unviable and forced to live forever on international handouts, as is the case today with the Palestinian Authority. This is why the so-called Israeli “peace camp”, for many years, wanted Jordan to receive control of the West Bank because together with the East Bank, it is a somewhat more viable state. However, the “progressive” community nixed this, by demanding “Palestinian self-determination” even though such a thing never existed in the past.
    That is also why the Palestinian INSIST on full repatriation of the Palestinian refugees INTO ISRAEL. They will never accept them into their West Bank territories because there is no room for them and the local population would never accept the refugees because they are aliens with no roots in the region and the locals would resent the political power they would attain if they were to vote in local elections which would be taken away from the existing power structure.
    So there you have it…..the idea of a compromise peace based on the 2-state solution is dead.
    It never really existed by the Israeli ‘peace camp’ didn’t have the vision to realize it. Now more people do. The only way forward is continuance of the existing situation and the development of an UNOFFICIAL modus vivendi which would allow a gradual withdrawal of Israeli security forces from the Palestinian controlled-areas in Areas A and B, depending of course, on Palestinian willingness to fight terrrorism emanating from the territories they control. This is the only possibility, give the inability of the Palestinians to reach any sort of compromise peace with Israel.
    Danny Danon said this in his editorial in the New York Times. It is high time that people finally understand that the Oslo Agreements were a fraud that NEVER had any chance of leading to real peace. Only new thinking can bring a real improvement in the lives of both Israelis and Palestinians.

    • umrayya says:

      Yes, indeed, Ike, the Oslo agreements were a fraud, and a transparent one at that, but the fraud was not on the part of the Palestinians, it was on the other side.

  3. Laurie Goldstein says:

    In answer to your first question my theory is that many in our community will be ready to call this out when they no longer view Israel and Israeli/Palestinian relations from a place of fear. How would attitudes change eg if the American Jewish community knew for a fact that Israel couldn’t be destroyed and would continue to flourish? (hypothetically speaking of course) Attitudes would change dramatically. Not for everyone but for many.

    This may not be the strategic/tactical answer you’re looking for. However, when you dig beneath the layers of political analysis it comes down to the underlying emotion. This is also why your blog posts stir up anger among certain segments of the Jewish community. (and also why it’s not actually you or your opinions that make people angry) Disagreement could be expressed in a much more dispassionate way if these issues didn’t push those fear buttons.

    I also agree with Seth that we’ll see some changes over time. I suspect the younger generation doesn’t fear anti-semitism to nearly the same degree as older generations.

  4. Samuel Neff says:

    Your analysis is correct and unequivocal. The current Israeli government is determined to establish an aparteid state, and as long as the US is quiet, that will happen and the “facts on the ground” will be irreversible. B.N. will take his place in history next to General Sheridan.

  5. Steve says:

    Most American Jews feel a great affinity towards Israel.  They vehemently disagree with Rabbi Rosen’s position that Israel should be voted away.

    American Jews believe that Hamas and Hezbollah are Iran backed terrorist groups and that the PA is run by crack pot thieves.  And, now that Syria is in turmoil and the Sinai border is no longer quiet, any kind of land for peace is to risky and dangerous and would be considered insane.

    Under the current circumstance the smart thing to do is to make sure a single Israeli State is solidified on the ground so that there is not a chance that Israel could be voted away.   This State of course included the annexation of Judea &  Sameria.  There most likely will be an unarmed Palestinian enclave in Judea and Sameria.

    My guess is also that Barak Obama announces the movement of the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem.  I think he will do this to try to one up Mitt Romney after Romney’s spectacular performance in Israel.

    • Clif Brown says:

      Steve: Romney in Israel is indeed a spectacle, good in that it shows blatant pandering that makes no attempt to conceal itself. See the Haaretz article by Barak Ravid titled “In Jerusalem Speech, it was Romney’s Voice but Netanyahu’s Words”. Add a fund raiser closed to the press. What did Romney say to that audience that we Americans should not hear? How would it be possible for him to go any further than what he has said in public? That our supine president is lustily attacked as not complaint enough and an enemy of Israel is absolutely frightening to this American. There is no contact with reality.

      That many American Jews feel an affinity for Israel is no reason by itself for America to support Israel in whatever it does, nor is it relevant that Israelis are fearful of their armed opponents. There are many countries that have supporters in the US and whose residents fear their neighbors. And what of it?

      It is one thing to have a domestic lobby calling all the shots (pun intended), silencing all Congressional debate, such as is the case with the NRA. It is quite another for a tiny state on the other side of the world to do so. The behavior of the Congress, particularly the House, as a troupe of trained seals for Israel would be hilarious if it were not so terrifying. As Romney speaks, some in Congress are busy trying to get a resolution supporting the ludicrous Levy report.

      Romney’s remarks in Jerusalem say that Israel is in charge of US foreign policy regarding the Jewish State, that Israel should feel free to do as it wishes with no limitations, whether it be starting a war with Iran, considering the capital Jerusalem, but most of all in continuing the ethnic cleansing which doesn’t even bear mentioning by Romney because it would upset those who can exert power and influence in American politics. If it can be ignored on the beaches of Tel Aviv, it can be ignored in the States.

      I know of no example in history where such a tiny political entity as Israel has had the power of such a titan as the US on call. Vietnam has 10 times the population and 16 times the area of Israel, yet LBJ could call Vietnam “a piddling piss-ant country” From where does Israel come from that it dictates to the United States?

      Liberty and justice for all has no meaning when Israel scoffs at the rights of the Palestinians but is unconditionally supported in a way that even a state of the union could never hope to expect from the federal government.

      My fervent hope is that Americans will see and hear the Romney “spectacular” and be revolted by what it says about how a foreign power can leverage domestic support. Romney stands out as the very embodiment of the 1% that runs the U.S. at the expense of the 99% that are supposed to have a say. Romney’s words in Israel announce to the world convincingly what has long been suspected: U.S. democracy is a facade that can be manipulated by the few at the expense of the many.

      • Steve says:

        Clif Brown said “What did Romney say to that audience that we Americans should not hear? How would it be possible for him to go any further than what he has said in public? That our supine president is lustily attacked as not complaint enough and an enemy of Israel is absolutely frightening to this American.”
        Romney I am sure said nothing to the audience in Israel at the fund raiser that he wouldn’t say publicly. Barack Obama is a friend of Israel as all levels have maintained. As such a strong friend, I stated that I think he might order the United States Embassy in Tel-Aviv be moved to Jerusalem.

        Clif Brown also said, “That many American Jews feel an affinity for Israel is no reason by itself for America to support Israel in whatever it does, nor is it relevant that Israelis are fearful of their armed opponents. There are many countries that have supporters in the US and whose residents fear their neighbors. And what of it?”
        Friendship with Israel is a popular position held in the United States although not as popular to most readers of this blog is my guess. This has been true since President Truman announced that he wanted The United States to be the first nation to recognize Israel back in 1948.

        Clif Brown Also said, “It is one thing to have a domestic lobby calling all the shots (pun intended), silencing all Congressional debate, such as is the case with the NRA. It is quite another for a tiny state on the other side of the world to do so. The behavior of the Congress, particularly the House, as a troupe of trained seals for Israel would be hilarious if it were not so terrifying. As Romney speaks, some in Congress are busy trying to get a resolution supporting the ludicrous Levy report.”
        Some of what is said here makes me think that the writer enjoys reading “Protocols of the Elders of Zion”. Even if he thinks that the so called Jewish Lobby is the cause, it is really because the constituents of these congressman have a connection to Israel on several levels. Many American Christians feel connected to Israel.

        Clif Brown also said, “Romney’s remarks in Jerusalem say that Israel is in charge of US foreign policy regarding the Jewish State, that Israel should feel free to do as it wishes with no limitations, whether it be starting a war with Iran, considering the capital Jerusalem, but most of all in continuing the ethnic cleansing which doesn’t even bear mentioning by Romney because it would upset those who can exert power and influence in American politics. If it can be ignored on the beaches of Tel Aviv, it can be ignored in the States.”
        Mitt Romney seems to be saying that if Israel is threatened, she should act as a sovereign nation and act in her own interest, further because Israel has allies, Israel should also consult with allies. I haven’t heard Romney’s position on the Palestinian issue. One thing is sure there will never be a right of return but my guess is those living within Eretz Israel will be per capita, among the wealthiest in the arab world.

        Clif Brown also said,
        “I know of no example in history where such a tiny political entity as Israel has had the power of such a titan as the US on call. Vietnam has 10 times the population and 16 times the area of Israel, yet LBJ could call Vietnam “a piddling piss-ant country” From where does Israel come from that it dictates to the United States?”
        Israel is small in size and is constantly threatened with destruction. Israel doesn’t have the U.S. on call. There has been an affinity and a fondness of the Old Testament and the Holy Land since the times of the founding fathers. Please read Michael Oren’s “Power, Faith and Fantasy America in the Middle East 1776 to the Present”. During a carriage ride after the surrender at Appomattox Court House, VA, President Lincoln and Mary Lincoln discussed going to the Holy Land. He never made it but President Ulysses Grant and his wife did go. They read the Hebrew Bible and the new Testament and viewed the land as the Land of Israel. Read Doris Kearns Goodwin’s book “Teams of Rivals”.

        Clif Brown also said “My fervent hope is that Americans will see and hear the Romney “spectacular” and be revolted by what it says about how a foreign power can leverage domestic support. Romney stands out as the very embodiment of the 1% that runs the U.S. at the expense of the 99% that are supposed to have a say. Romney’s words in Israel announce to the world convincingly what has long been suspected: U.S. democracy is a facade that can be manipulated by the few at the expense of the many.”
        If you think the foreign power is Israel that has all this power of the United States, then it is just not true. The United States is in the top 3 Strongest Countries in the world, no foreign power controls it. Israel and the United States are friends for many logical reasons.

    • Jeffrey K. Silverman says:

      Most American Jews don’t know the history of the founding of the State of Israel other than a “Land without people for a people without a land.” That was not the case – and where the problem started, Americans Jews and Americans believe many things as they have been brainwashed. PA is a sham and run by non-elected persons – and what about self-determination, especially when it does not serves the interests on narrowly defined groups. Go back to the Balfour Declaration and White Paper and understand how the State of Israel was set up and how the legal population was expelled or convinced to leave by outside players. As for Romney’s spectacular performance – I think he made a fool of himself, and not spectacular. It would not be good for American standing or security to move the US Embassy to Jerusalem – and there is little choice in November in US elections – the lessor of two evils.

  6. It is completely beyond my ability to understand how so many otherwise rational, intelligent, caring Jews who are involved in Arab-Israeli peace efforts are able to blind themselves to the realities you have so clearly pointed out here. It is also so frustrating to converse with such people that I just don’t see the point anymore as long as they refuse to see the reality that is right in front of our eyes.

  7. Vicky says:

    Last year plans were drawn up to forcibly transfer all the Bedouin (some 27,000 people) out of Area C and into Areas A and B. That was when the alarm bells really starting ringing for me – deliberate targeting of a specific population group, a population group that is already poor and with little political clout. The whole occupation has been Nakba in slow motion. It never really ended.

    I agree with Shirin. I don’t see how people can cling onto the idea of a two-state solution that is just for all involved – that’s like demanding a round square. Ultimately I think we will have some people advocating for a multi-ethnic state with equal rights for all under the law, and some people advocating – as Steve just has – for one state and one ghetto. Which option people choose will of course depend on what they prize most highly, their privileges or others’ basic rights.

  8. I agree that a two-state solution is no longer feasible, if it ever was. But I also fear that a “proper” single state; i.e., one with equal rights for all its citizens, is also an unrealistic goal for the near future for various reasons, the most obvious being how unequal the status of the Palestinian citizens of the existing Israeli state is.

    So what’s plan B (or C)? I keep going back to Jeff Halper’s outline for a Middle East confederation of existing states and other entities (whatever Palestinian territory, divided as it is, might be called – or maybe a re-united West Bank plus Gaza), where physical boundaries aren’t so important because 1) everybody in the confederation (for example, Palestine, Israel, Lebanon, Jordan, and maybe others, such as Egypt, Syria, Iraq . . .) would be able to live and work anywhere in the confederation and 2) they would only have voting and citizenship rights in their “bit.”
    So, for example, Palestinians could actualize their right of return to inside Israel without impacting the voting pattern – a major concern of many Israeli Jews (“What if some time in the future a non-Jewish majority votes not to let in Jewish refugees fleeing persecution?”) And Jews who miss their former homes in Iraq or Egypt could move back . . .
    Then, maybe some decades down the line, we’d be ready for a single Is/Pal or Pal/Is state or even no states . . .

    What do you all think?
    Maxine in Canada (dual citizen of Canada and Israel, 7 year resident of Israel and frequent visitor back to Palestine and Israel) http://refusingtobeenemiesthebook.wordpress.com

    • I don’t see any reason the Jordanians, Lebanese, Egyptians, Syrians, Iraqis, or even the Palestinians would see this kind of arrangement as a positive thing for themselves. Just for starters, why would they want to make themselves interdependent with an extremely aggressive, dominant country that was established and is maintained on ethnic and religious criteria, is more powerful than all of them put together, and is seen clearly and realistically as a strong arm of western, and particularly American imperialism in the region? I would not want that myself if I were living in one of those countries full-time, and would fight any government that tried to institute it.

      Then you have to consider the lack of interest among Arab countries in forming that kind of interdependence with each other, let alone a country formed by outsiders against the will of the native population (including some of the native Jewish population!), that has been an enemy, and done more than its share to avoid peace for so many decades.

      I like and admire Jeff Halper a great deal, and agree with him on many things, but I do not believe he is thinking realistically with this proposal.

      • i_like_ike52 says:

        As you well know, the Arab countries in the Middle East were founded on the “ethnic and religious criteria” you say Israel has. The Palestinian Constitution in its first clause says that “The Palestinians are part of the Arab nation and will work for Arab unity”. The fourth clause says “Islam is the official religion of the state” and that “Sharia Law shall be the main basis of legislation” . Sharia law is discriminatory against non-Muslims.
        See here:

        http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Constitution_of_Palestine_(2003)#ARTICLE_1

        The other Arab countries around Israel, with the possible exception of Lebanon, which is multi-confessional have their constituions say the same things. For example, the offical name of Egypt is “The Arab Republic of Egypt” and the official name of Syria is “The Syrian Arab Republic”. Ask non-Arabs such as the Kurds what they think of this….in Syria, as I understand it, they are not even allowed to hold Syrian citizenship.
        I understand what you are trying to do….in “progressive” anti-Israel circles it popular ot portray Israel as having values that go against the dominant secular, mutli-cultural values that are revered by them, thus attempting to make Israel appear as some sort of pariah state. Well, the Arab/Muslims states have the same thing, only more so, so it is necessary to ignore them or pretend they don’t exist. In the end, you can’t have it both ways.

      • umrayya says:

        Actually, Ike, what I know well because it is a fact is that the Arab countries in the Middle East were founded on geographic criteria, not ethic and religious ones. What is also a fact that even you will not dispute is that those countries were not founded for the purpose of populating them with people from a different continent who were invited, transported and/or admitted there only if they belonged to a particular ethno-religious group. On the contrary, they were founded with the idea of keeping their existing populations, which in many cases such as Iraq, Lebanon, and Syria were very diverse, intact and in place.

      • Hi Shirin,
        Thanks for your thoughtful reply. I should have mentioned that Jeff, as I understand it, is not proposing the sort of interdependence you rightly decry. He talks about a “loose” economic arrangement, something like the early days of the European Economic Community. The emphasis is on the freedom to live and work anywhere in the confederation, on the one hand, and the limiting of voting and citizenship rights to one’s “own” section, on the other. Maybe confederation isn’t the best word for this. But it still seems to me the most feasible solution, at least until I’m convinced that a single democratic state is achievable (I don’t think we’re anywhere near there, yet).
        Maxine

      • i_like_ike52 says:

        Shirin-
        I thought you would we interested to see how Arab/Muslim countries operate along the “religious criteria” that you condemn Israel for…….several Palestinians are facing month-long prison terms for eating during the Ramadan fast: (recall that I pointed out that their constitution says that Sharia law is the major basis for legislation):

        http://www.timesofisrael.com/palestinians-arrested-for-eating-on-ramadan/

      • Shirin says:

        Ike, it is very difficult to have a conversation with someone when we cannot agree what the conversation is about. If we are not in agreement about what it is I am saying, I really do not think we can have a conversation with each other about it.

        For the record I have not condemned Israel for “operating along religious criteria”. Nor have I said that I approve of the way one or another Arab country may or may not “operate”.

  9. Would (will) this be worse, Brant, than the status quo? Maybe I’m just getting old, but it strikes me that a formal, institutional annexation–whatever its morality or legality–would be better than the current arrangement, which lends itself to so much prevarication, including here in the US.

    Would the non-citizen status of non-Jews in the newly annexed areas leave their lives worse than they are now? How do you think it would compare, not to some future ideal, but to the current reality?

  10. Ron Pundak, in a new Ha’aretz article that connects the dots for us yet further:

    Defective, partial implementation of the Oslo Accords has created the current situation, where the Palestinian Authority only controls the territory known as Areas and B, comprising 40 percent of the West Bank. These areas are scattered like an archipelago in the ocean of Area C – the 60 percent of the area under Israel’s control – cut off from each other and at the mercy of the Israel Defense Forces. Area C includes many settlements, few Palestinians and mainly open areas. The Oslo Accords required these open areas to be handed over to the Palestinians by 1999. This was never done.

    …Israel has already de facto annexed Area C. The route of the separation barrier is no longer relevant. Creeping annexation is taking place deep within the West Bank, coming right up against Palestinian population centers in Ramallah, Nablus and Hebron. Israel is investing billions of shekels in land in Area C and deliberately preventing the development of Palestinian infrastructure there. At the same time, a sophisticated campaign is under way to change the way the public regards Area C, and the Levy report is part of that. Also, in light of proposals to apply Israeli sovereignty to “all the communities in Judea and Samaria,” Netanyahu will be able to portray his plan as relatively moderate.

    • Shirin says:

      And yet just a few months ago a long-time Jewish interlocutor of mine returned from the West Bank reporting that the two-state solution is still very much a possibility. Many of us were speechless.

  11. [...] I’ve been pointing out for some time now that Israel has been increasingly building settlements in Area C of the West Bank, while evicting Palestinians from their homes there and moving them to far reaching sections of Areas A and B. The intention? To eventually annex Area C to Israel and warehouse the Palestinian population of the West Bank in disconnected, isolated, bantustans. [...]


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