One-state solution

One-state solution

The one-state solution and the similar binational solution are proposed approaches to resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.[1] Proponents of a binational solution to the conflict advocate either a single state in Israel, the West Bank and Gaza Strip, or a single state in Israel and the West Bank,[2][1] with citizenship and equal rights in the combined entity for all inhabitants of all three territories, without regard to ethnicity or religion.[1] While some advocate this solution for ideological reasons,[1] others feel simply that, due to the reality on the ground, it is the de facto situation.[3] [4]

Though increasingly debated in academic circles, this approach has remained outside the range of official efforts to resolve the conflict as well as mainstream analysis, where it is eclipsed by the two-state solution. The two-state solution was most recently agreed upon in principle by the government of Israel and the Palestinian Authority at the November 2007 Annapolis Conference and remains the conceptual basis for negotiations proposed by the administration of U.S. President Barack Obama in 2011. Interest in a one-state solution is growing, however, as the two-state approach fails to accomplish a final agreement.[4] Support among Palestinians for a one-state solution is increasing, especially because the population growth rate of Palestinians would leave Palestinians as a majority in a single state.[4]



The “one-state solution” refers to a resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through the creation of a unitary, federal or confederate Israeli-Palestinian state encompassing all of the present territory of Israel, the West Bank including East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip.

Depending on various points of view, a one-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is presented as a nightmare situation in which Israel would ostensibly lose its character as a Jewish state and the Palestinians would fail to achieve their national independence within a two-state solution[4] or, alternatively, as the best, most just, and only way to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. This scenario is being discussed not as an intentional political solution – desired or undesired – but as the probable, inevitable outcome of the continuous growth of the Jewish settlements in the West Bank and the apparently irrevocable entrenchment of Israel's presence in the Israeli-occupied territories.[4]

Although the terms “one-state solution” and “bi-national solution” are often used synonymously, they do not necessarily mean the same thing. In debates about a one-state solution in Israel-Palestine, bi-nationalism refers to a political system in which the two groups, Jews and Palestinians, would retain their legal and political character as separate nations or nationalities, perhaps similar to the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina. In most bi-national arguments for a one-state solution, such an arrangement is deemed necessary both to ensure the protection of minorities (whichever group that is) and to reassure both groups that their collective interests would be protected. Counter-arguments are that bi-nationalism would entrench the two identities politically in ways that would foster their continuing rivalry and social divides; these arguments favour a unitary democratic state, or one-person-one-vote arrangement.

Popular support

Support among Israeli Jews, and Jews generally, for a one-state solution is very low.[4] Israelis see a one-state solution as a demographic threat that would overturn the prevailing Jewish majority within Israel.[5][6]

A one-state solution is generally endorsed by Israeli Arabs.[7] Many are becoming nervous that a two-state solution would result in official pressures for them to move into a Palestinian state in the West Bank and/or Gaza Strip and so lose their homes and access to their communities, businesses and cities inside Israel.[7] Some Israeli government spokespeople have also proposed that Palestinian-majority areas of Israel, such as the area around Umm el-Fahm, be annexed to the new Palestinian state.[7] As this measure would cut these areas off permanently from the rest of Israel's territory, including the coastal cities and other Palestinian towns and villages, Palestinians view this with alarm.[7] Palestinian citizens of Israel would therefore greatly prefer a one-state solution because this would allow them to sustain their Israeli citizenship while restoring ties with Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza from whom they have been separated for over 60 years.[7] The Haifa Declaration is similar, though written by individuals advocating the Two state solution:

"...In this Declaration, we also set forth our own reading of our history, as well as our conception of our citizenship and our relationship with the other parts of the Palestinian people, with the Arab nation, and with the State of Israel. We further present our vision for achieving a dignified life in our homeland and building a democratic society founded upon justice, freedom, equality, and mutual respect between the Palestinian Arabs and Jews in Israel. We also put forward our conception of the preconditions for an historic reconciliation between the Palestinian people and the Israeli Jewish people, and of the future to which we aspire as regards the relationship between the two peoples..."-from the Haifa Declaration[8]

A multi-option poll by Near East Consulting (NEC) in November 2007 found the bi-national state to be less popular than either "two states for two people" or "a Palestinian state on all historic Palestine" with only 13.4% of respondents supporting a binational solution.[9] However, in February 2007, NEC found that around 70% of Palestinian respondents backed the idea when given a straight choice of either supporting or opposing "a one-state solution in historic Palestine where Muslims, Christians and Jews have equal rights and responsibilities".[10] In March 2010, a survey by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research and the Harry S. Truman Research Institute for the Advancement of Peace at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem found that Palestinian support had risen to 29 percent.[11] In April 2010, a poll by the Jerusalem Media and Communication Centre also found that Palestinian support for a "bi-national" solution had jumped from 20.6 percent in June 2009 to 33.8 percent.[12] If this support for a bi-national state is combined with the finding that 9.8 percent of Palestinian respondents favour a "Palestinian state" in "all of historic Palestine", this poll suggested about equal Palestinian support for a two-state and one-state solution in mid-2010.[11][12] In November 2009, Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat proposed the adoption of the one-state solution if Israel didn't halt settlement construction:

"[it is time to] (sic) refocus their attention on the one-state solution where Muslims, Christians and Jews can live as equals... It is very serious. This is the moment of truth for us."[13]

Some Israeli Jews and Palestinians who oppose a one-state solution have nevertheless come to believe that it may come to pass.[4] Israeli Prime Minister Olmert argued, in a 2007 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".[14] 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, bi-national state.[15]

Today, the prominent proponents for the one-state solution include Palestinian author Ali Abunimah,[16] Palestinian-American producer Jamal Dajani, Palestinian lawyer Michael Tarazi,[17] Jeff Halper,[18] Israeli writer Dan Gavron,[19] Palestinian-American law professor George Bisharat,[20] and American-Lebanese academic Saree Makdisi.[21]. Muammar al-Gaddafi of Libya was also a prominent proponent (see also Saif Islam Qaddafi Isratin proposal),[22][1]. The expansion of the Israeli Settler movement, especially in the West Bank, has been given as one rationale for bi-nationalism and the increased unfeasibility of the two-state alternative:

"Support for one state is hardly a radical idea; it is simply the recognition of the uncomfortable reality that Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories already function as a single state. They share the same aquifers, the same highway network, the same electricity grid and the same international borders... The one-state solution... neither destroys the Jewish character of the Holy Land nor negates the Jewish historical and religious attachment (although it would destroy the superior status of Jews in that state). Rather, it affirms that the Holy Land has an equal Christian and Muslim character. For those who believe in equality, this is a good thing."-Michael Tarazi[23]

They advocate a secular and democratic state while still maintaining a Jewish presence and culture in the region.[5][24] They concede that this alternative will erode the dream of Jewish supremacy in terms of governance in the long run.[8]

Historical background

The area between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River was controlled by various national groups throughout history. A number of groups, including the Canaanites, the Israelites, the Babylonians, Persians, Greeks, Jews, Romans, Byzantines, Umayyads, Abbasids, Turks, Crusaders, Mamluks, Ottomans, the British and now Israelis have controlled the region at one time or another.[25] From 1516 until the conclusion of World War I, the region was controlled by the Ottoman Empire.[26]

From 1915 to 1916, the British High Commissioner in Egypt, Sir Henry McMahon, corresponded by letters with Sayyid Hussein bin Ali, the father of Pan Arabism. These letters, were later known as the Hussein-McMahon Correspondence. McMahon promised Hussein and his Arab followers the territory of the Ottoman Empire in exchange for assistance in driving out the Ottoman Turks. Hussein interpreted these letters as promising the region of Palestine to the Arabs. McMahon and the Churchill White Paper maintained that Palestine had been excluded from the territorial promises,[27] but minutes of a Cabinet Eastern Committee meeting held on 5 December 1918 confirmed that Palestine had been part of the area that had been pledged to Hussein in 1915.[28]

In 1916, Britain and France signed the Sykes-Picot Agreement, which divided the colonies of the Ottoman Empire between them. Under this agreement, the region of Palestine would be controlled by Britain.[29] In a 1917, letter from Arthur James Balfour to Lord Rothschild, known as the Balfour Declaration of 1917, the British government promised “the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people”, but at the same time required “that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine”.[30]

In 1922, the League of Nations granted Britain a mandate for Palestine. Like all League of Nations Mandates, this mandate derived from article 22 of the League of Nations Covenant, which called for the self-determination of former Ottoman Empire colonies after a transitory period administered by a world power.[31] 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”.[32]

Disagreements over Jewish immigration as well as incitement by Haj Amin Al-Husseini led to an outbreak of Arab-Jewish violence in the Palestine Riots of 1920. Violence erupted again the following year during the Jaffa Riots. In response to these riots, Britain established the Haycraft Commission of Inquiry. The British Mandatory authorites put forward proposals for setting up an elected legislative council in Palestine. In 1924 the issue was raised at a conference held by Ahdut Ha'avodah at Ein Harod. Shlomo Kaplansky, a veteran leader of Poalei Zion, argued that a Parliament, even with an Arab majority, was the way forward. David Ben Gurion, the emerging leader of the Yishuv, succeeded in getting Kaplansky's ideas rejected.[33] Violence erupted again in the form of the 1929 Palestine riots, the 1929 Hebron massacre, and the 1929 Safed massacre. After the violence, the British led another commission of inquiry under Sir Walter Shaw. The report of the Shaw Commission, known as the Shaw Report or Command Paper No 3530, attributed the violence to “the twofold fear of the Arabs that, by Jewish immigration and land purchase, they might be deprived of their livelihood and, in time, pass under the political domination of the Jews”.[34]

How UN members voted on Palestine's partition
  In favour
  Switched to In favor

Violence erupted again during the 1936-1939 Arab revolt in Palestine. The British established the Peel Commission of 1936-1937 in order to put an end to the violence. The Peel Commission concluded that only partition could put an end to the violence, and proposed the Peel Partition Plan. While the Jewish community accepted the concept of partition, not all members endorsed the implementation proposed by the Peel Commission. The Arab community entirely rejected the Peel Partition Plan, which included population transfers, primarily of Arabs. The partition plan was abandoned, and in 1939 Britain issued its White Paper of 1939 clarifying its “unequivocal” position that “it is not part of [Britain's] policy that Palestine should become a Jewish State” and that “The independent State [of Palestine] should be one in which Arabs and Jews share government in such a way as to ensure that the essential interests of each community are safeguarded.”

The White Paper of 1939 sought to accommodate Arab demands regarding Jewish immigration by placing a quota of 10,000 Jewish immigrants per year over a five-year period from 1939 to 1944. The White Paper of 1939 also required Arab consent for further Jewish immigration. The White Paper was seen by the Jewish community as a revocation of the Balfour Declaration of 1917, and due to Jewish persecution in the Holocaust, Jews continued to immigrate illegally in what has become known as Aliyah Bet.[35]

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 its debates, the UN divided its member States into two subcommittees: one to address options for partition and a second to address all other options. The Second Subcommittee, which included all the Arab and Muslim States members, issued a long report arguing that partition was illegal according to the terms of the Mandate and proposing a unitary democratic state that would protect rights of all citizens equally.[36] The General Assembly instead voted for partition and in UN General Assembly Resolution 181 recommended that the Mandate territory of Palestine be partitioned 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 army units from five Arab countries – Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Transjordan, and Egypt – contributed to a united Arab army that attempted to invade the territory, resulting in the 1948 Arab-Israeli War.

The war, known to Israelis as the Independence War of 1948 and to Palestinians as Al-Nakba (meaning “the catastrophe”), resulted in Israel’s establishment as well as the exodus of over 700,000 Palestinians from the territory which became Israel.[37] At the same time, a huge population of Jews living in Arab nations (close to 800,000) left or were expelled from their homes in what became known as the Modern Jewish Exodus and subsequently resettled in the new State of Israel. The former Canadian Minister of Justice, Irwin Cotler, noted, "the Arab countries not only rejected a Palestinian state and went to war to extinguish the nascent Jewish state, but also targeted the Jewish nationals living in their respective countries, thereby creating two refugee populations."[38]

By 1948, in the wake of the Holocaust, Jewish support for partition and a Jewish state had become overwhelming. Nevertheless, some Jewish voices still argued for unification. The International Jewish Labor Bund was against the UN vote on the partition of Palestine and reaffirmed its support for a single binational state that would guarantee equal national rights for Jews and Arabs and would be under the control of superpowers and the UN. The 1948 New York Second world conference of the International Jewish Labor Bund condemned the proclamation of the Jewish state, because the decision exposed the Jews in Palestine to a danger. The conference was in favour of a binational state built on the base of national equality and democratic federalism.[39]

Palestinian support for the binational state

In 1969 the Fatah movement accepted as a fait accompli the presence in Palestine of a large number of Jews. In January 1969 Fatah declared that it was not fighting against Jews, but against Israel as a racist and theocratic entity.

The fifth national council of the Palestine Liberation Organisation in February 1969 passed a resolution confirming that the PLO’s objective was “to establish a free and democratic society in Palestine for all Palestinians whether they are Muslims, Christians or Jews”. The PLO was not successful in building support for the binational solution within Israeli society, however, which lay the groundwork for an eventual re-scoping of the PLO’s aim toward partition into two states.[40]

One-state debate since 1999

Map of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, in 2007. Finding mutually acceptable borders has posed a major difficulty for the two-state solution.

In the last decade, interest has been renewed in binationalism or a unitary democratic state. 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.”[41]

In October 2003, New York University scholar Tony Judt broke ground in his article, "Israel: The Alternative" in the New York Review of Books, in which he argued that Israel is an "anachronism" in sustaining an ethnic identity for the state and that the two-state solution is fundamentally doomed and unworkable.[42] The Judt article engendered a frenzied media blitz in the UK and US and The New York Review of Books received more than 1000 letters per week about the essay. A month later, political scientist Virginia Tilley published "The One-State Solution" in the London Review of Books, arguing that West Bank settlements had made a two-state solution impossible and that the international community must accept a one-state solution as the de facto reality.[43]

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. On the Palestinian side, similar voices were raised. Israeli Prime Minister Olmert argued, in a 2007 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".[44] 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.[45]

Between 2007 and 2010, a series of conferences have promoted the one-state agenda as an academic concern and a popular movement. 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".[46] A scholarly conference, "One State for Palestine/Israel", was hosted at the University of Massachusetts-Boston in March 2009.[47] A more activist conference was convened in Haifa in May 2010 by the organisation al-Awda[48] followed in October 2010 by a conference in Dallas, Texas to launch a popular movement for one democratic state.[49] Most of these events have issued declarations and statements supporting the idea of a unified state: for example, the combined statement of the Madrid and London conferences (noted earlier); the "Boston Declaration";[50] the "Haifa Declaration";[51] and the "Declaration for One Democratic State in Palestine" issued at the Dallas conference.[52]

Antony Lerman has written that a de facto single state already exists, given Israel's complete control of the area.[53] John Mearsheimer, co-director of the Programme on International Security Policy at the University of Chicago, says the binational solution has become inevitable. He has further argued that by allowing Israel's settlements to prevent the formation of a Palestinian state, the United States has helped Israel commit "national suicide" since Palestinians will be the majority group in the binational state. [54]

A poll conducted in 2010 by Israel Democracy Institute suggested that 15% of right-wing Jewish Israelis and 16% of left-wing Jewish Israelis support a binational state solution over a two states solution based '67 lines. However, according to the same poll, 66% of Jewish Israelis preferred the two-state solution.[55]

Arguments for and against

Proponents of a one-state solution argue that it ensures the equal rights of all ethnicities in the greater Palestine area (Israel, West Bank, Gaza), by abiding in the rights granted to all people found in the original Israeli Declaration of Independence: will foster the development of the country for the benefit of all its inhabitants; it will be based on freedom, justice and peace as envisaged by the prophets of Israel; it will ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or sex; it will guarantee freedom of religion, conscience, language, education and culture; it will safeguard the Holy Places of all religions; and it will be faithful to the principles of the Charter of the United Nations.[56]

Other arguments for a one-state solution include that it would unite all people of Palestine into a powerful, secular state similar to Turkey. It would remove the whole Palestine area from the criticism and ostracism of the modern world.[57]

Critics[who?] primarily point to the fact that it would make Israeli Jews an ethnic minority[58] in what they consider to be their own nation. The high fertility rate among Palestinians[citation needed], who already comprise almost half of the population in Israel and the occupied territories[citation needed], accompanied by a possible return of Palestinian refugees, would quickly render Jews a minority. They[who?] have also argued that Jews, like any other nation, have the right to self-determination, and that due to still existing antisemitism, there is a need for a Jewish national home.[citation needed] Ethnically homogeneous nation-states are common around the world[citation needed], especially in Europe. They[who?] also argue that most of the Arab World is composed of entirely Arab and Muslim states, with no equality for ethnic or religious minorities.[citation needed]

The Reut Institute expands on these concerns of many Israeli Jews and points out that a one-state scenario without any institutional safeguards would negate Israel's status as a homeland for the Jewish people.[4] When proposed as a political solution by non-Israelis, the assumption is that the idea is probably being put forward by those who are politically motivated to harm Israel and, by extension, Israeli Jews.[4] They argue that the absorption of millions of Palestinians, along with a right of return for Palestinian refugees, and the generally high birthrate among Palestinians would quickly render Jews an ethnic minority and eliminate their rights to self-determination.[4] The destruction of Israel as a Jewish state is seen by some critics as a threat to Jews who live in Israel, as it would require assimilation with what they fear would be an extremely hostile Muslim population, who would become the ruling majority.[4]

Proponents[who?] of a one-state solution counter that unification is the only way to preserve a Jewish national home in the territory in the long run, by finally eliminating threats to Israel's security and solving the Scylla and Charybdis problem of military occupation or apartheid. They[who?] as well point to European examples of multinational states like Belgium, Bosnia and Switzerland where the institutional layout effectively prevents disfranchisement of an ethnic minority.[citation needed] Israeli Jews would have greater freedom and security in such a state, which would be at peace with its own citizens and its neighbors, than they do now in a state that is eternally at risk of war and facing a domestic situation of apartheid.[citation needed]

Critics argue that a one-state solution would destroy Israel as a Jewish national home, as the Arab population in the Palestinian territories and Israel is already almost equivalent to the Jewish population, and would soon outnumber it due to their higher birthrate.

Some critics[who?] argue that unification cannot happen without damaging or destroying Israel's democracy. Most Israeli Jews as well as Israeli Druze, some Israeli Bedouin, many Israeli Christan Arabs and even some Israeli Muslim Arabs fear the consequences of amalgamation with the mostly Muslim Palestinian population in the occupied territories, which they perceive as more religious and conservative. (Israeli Druze and Bedouin serve in the Israel Defense Forces and there are sometimes rifts between these groups and Palestinians.[59]) One poll found that, in a future Palestinian state, 23% of Palestinians want civil law only, 35% want both Islamic and civil law, and 38% want Islamic law only.[60] (Currently Israeli law is a combination of civil and religious, including Islamic, law.[61]) This negative view of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza prompts some critics argue that the existing level of rights and equality for all Israeli citizens would be put in jeopardy with unification.[62]

One-state proponents[who?] counter that this argument is implicitly or explicitly racist in assuming that Palestinians are not as capable of true democracy as Jews are. They[who?] argue that the conservative social values in the occupied territories are partly a result of occupation itself, that Palestinians have always sustained strong democratic values in their politics, and that the collapse of democracy in the Palestinian Authority is one reason it has lost credibility. They[who?] also point out that, because real surveys of Palestinian and Arab opinion on the risks of unification are lacking, assertions about such views are mere speculation.

Critics argue that it is racist to deny Jews self-determination as an ethnic and religious group, a right which all peoples are entitled to according to the United Nations Charter. They argue that Jews have an inherent right to rule themselves in their ancestral homeland, that they would lose a safe haven from anti-Semitism and persecution.

Imagining what might ensue with unification, some critics[who?] of the one-state model point to violence during the British Mandate, such as in 1920, 1921, 1929, and 1936-1939. In this view, violence between Palestinian Arabs and Israeli Jews is inevitable and can only be forestalled by partition. These critics also cite the 1937 Peel Commission which recommended partition as the only means of ending the ongoing conflict.[63] Critics also cite supposedly bi-national arrangements in Yugoslavia, Lebanon, and Pakistan, which failed and resulted in further internal conflicts. Similar criticisms appear in The Case for Peace.[64] Rather than a powerful secular democracy, critics[who?] fear that the high Palestinian birthrate and the return of millions of refugees will give the land a majority of religiously observant Muslims, many with deep anti-Semitic feelings.

One-state proponents[who?] counter that violence during the Mandate was triggered by Palestinian rejection of partition and Jewish statehood, which re-unification into one state would reverse and resolve. As for comparisons to Yugoslavia, Lebanon and Pakistan, these cases may offer useful lessons but taking them as proof that unification is wrong for Israel-Palestine is simplistic and omits important differences regarding history and politics.[says who?] Yugoslavia is a very complicated case that warns mostly[citation needed] against creating states by gluing together historically distinct areas to serve great-power geopolitics and allowing continued ethnic supremacy (such as the dominance of Serbia). Pakistan is an example of lasting tensions created by partition, not the dangers of unification.[citation needed] Lebanon is a case of sectarian politics that shows the risks of linking identities mechanically to political representation[citation needed], and so might warn against creating a binational state in Israel-Palestine rather than unitary state. One-state proponents[who?] point instead to the transition of South Africa from apartheid to democracy as a closer and more useful analogy.

Critics, however, point to the highly anti-Semitic sentiment within the Palestinian territories and the Arab and Muslim world in general, as evidence that a joint Arab-Jewish state is not a viable option. They also point out that while initially secular, the binational state could quickly turn into an Islamist one. Both Hamas and the Palestinian Authority base their legal systems on Sharia, or Islamic law. This, together with constant racial incitement against Jews in the medias of both the Hamas and Palestinian Authority-run territories, suggesting that Jews would be relegated to the status of a beleaguered minority in an Arab-Muslim state.[65]

Students of the Middle East, including former New historian Benny Morris, have argued that the one-state solution is not viable because of Arab unwillingness to accept a Jewish national presence in the Middle East.[66] In his book One State, Two States, Morris wrote that a one-state solution would probably cause a mass exodus of Israeli Jews to the West, arguing that most would prefer life as a minority in the West, where they would enjoy its relative freedoms and openness, to the "stifling darkness, intolerance, authoritarianism, and insularity of the Arab world and its treatment of minority populations". He argued that most Israelis would flee, leaving behind only those incapable of finding new homes and ultra-Orthodox Jews "bound to the land out of deep religious conviction".

Proponents[who?] point to Arab expressions of willingness to share the region with Jews, including the Arab Peace Initiative of 2002. However, this debate may be confused by different ideas about what is meant by "Jewish national presence". If it simply means a Jewish "home" where Jewish citizens of a unified state can pursue a Jewish cultural life, sustaining the Hebrew-language culture already developed in Israel, most one-state proponents[who?] would consider this normal and acceptable.[citation needed] If it involves exclusively "Jewish-national" control of territory and resources, and policies to exclude non-Jewish citizens from residence in Jewish areas, as is the case in Israel today, this is seen[says who?] as discriminatory and unacceptable.

One-state critics[who?] argue that while Israel is, according to its own laws, a Jewish state, Arab citizens of Israel enjoy greater legal rights and a higher standard of living than anywhere throughout the Arab world, proving that preserving the Jewish state would not necessarily mean that its Arab minority would suffer discrimination.[citation needed] It has also been argued[citation needed] that the Arab Peace Plan of 2002 was meant to destroy Israel, as it demands a withdrawal to borders considered by many Israelis[who?] to be dangerous, and demands the return of millions of Palestinian refugees, reversing the Jewish demographic majority within Israel.[citation needed] It has also been argued by some politicians such as Avigdor Lieberman that the majority of Israeli-Arab communities are situated on the Palestinian border, and can easily be transferred to a Palestinian state, which would give Israel a manageable Arab minority which could continue to enjoy what they call full equality without threatening Israel's Jewish character.

Alternatively, a solution similar to the Benelux model would combine the advantages of both two-state solution and one-state solution while avoiding their disadvantages and psychological barriers.[citation needed]

Prominent supporters

Some Israeli politicians, including former defense minister Moshe Arens, current Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin, and the Knesset member Tzipi Hotovely have voiced support for a binational state through the supposition that this is in fact the current nominal situation within Israel-Palestine.[67] [68] Another prominent supporter is Palestinian-American journalist Ali Abunimah.

Joe Walsh (Illinois politician) and 30 co-sponsors have introduced a motion in the United States House of Representatives to merge the Palestinian territories into Israel.[69]

See also

Centralised archive

  • Democratic Secular State for Israel/Palestine This is an extensive and up-to-date bibliography on the one-state debate, including articles and books pro and con and links to discussion forums. Citations below suggest sample literature.

Sample articles advocating the one-state solution

Sample articles criticizing the one-state solution


  1. ^ a b c d e Qadaffi, Muammar (2009-01-21 (online)/2009-01-22 (print edition)). "The One-State Solution". The New York Times: p. A33. Retrieved 22 January 2009. 
  2. ^ FELICE FRIEDSON, "One-state or two-state solution", Jerusalem Post, 07/21/2010
  3. ^ George Bisharat (3 September 2010). "Israel and Palestine: A true one-state solution". Israel and Palestine: A true one-state solution. Washington Post. Retrieved 7 February 2011. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "One state threat". One State Threat. Reut Institute. 2004. Retrieved 25 January 2011. 
  5. ^ a b "Haifa Declaration". The Haifa Declaration. Arab Center for Applied Social Research. 2007. Retrieved 25 January 2011. 
  6. ^ "Palestinians in statehood warning". BBC News. 4 November 2009. Retrieved 3 September 2011. 
  7. ^ a b c d e "Palestinians in Israel". The Future Vision of the Palestinian Arabs in Israel. Reut Institute. 2006. Retrieved 25 January 2011. 
  8. ^ a b "Haifa Declaration". The Haifa Declaration. Arab Center for Applied Social Research. 2007. Retrieved 25 January 2011. 
  9. ^ "NEC poll". NEC General Monthly Survey. Near East Consulting. 2007. Retrieved 25 January 2011. 
  10. ^ "NEC poll 2". NEC General Monthly Survey. Near East Consulting. 2007. Retrieved 25 January 2011. 
  11. ^ a b Joffe-Walt, Benjamin (22 March 2010). "Palestinians increasingly back 1-state". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 3 September 2011. 
  12. ^ a b "Jerusalem Media Poll". Poll No. 70, April 2010 - Governance and US policy. Jerusalem Media and Communications Centre. 2010. Retrieved 25 January 2011. 
  13. ^ Mohammed Assadi (2009). "Saeb Erekat and the One state solution". Palestinian state may have to be abandoned - Erekat. Reuters. Retrieved 25 January 2011. 
  14. ^ Olmert to Haaretz: Two-state solution, or Israel is done for, HaAretz, Nov. 29, 2007.
  15. ^ "Palestinian PM's 'one state' call". BBC News. January 9, 2004. Retrieved May 5, 2010. 
  16. ^ [1]
  17. ^ [2]
  18. ^ [3]
  19. ^ [4]
  20. ^ "Two-State Solution Sells Palestine Short," CounterPunch, January 31-February 1, 2004 [5]
  21. ^ Makdisi, Saree (May 11, 2008). "Forget the two-state solution". Los Angeles Times.,0,7862060.story. Retrieved May 5, 2010. 
  22. ^ Al Gathafi, Muammar (2003). White Book (ISRATIN). Retrieved 2008-04-16. 
  23. ^ Michael Tarazi (2004). "Equality is Important". Two Peoples, One State. New York Times. Retrieved 25 January 2011. 
  24. ^ Arab News | World | One-state solution gains supporters
  25. ^ Facts about Israel: Historical Highlights by MFA
  26. ^ Ottoman Rule of Palestine by Encyclopedia Britannica
  27. ^ The Hussein-McMahon Correspondence by Mitchell Bard on Jewish Virtual Library
  28. ^ UK National Archives, PRO CAB 27/24, reprinted in 'Palestine Papers, 1917-1922', by Doreen Ingrams, George Braziller Edition, 1973, page 48.
  29. ^ Sykes-Picot Agreement of 1916 from the Yale Avalon Project
  30. ^ Balfour Declaration of 1917 from the Yale Avalon Project
  31. ^ The Covenant of the League of Nations from the Yale Avalon Project
  32. ^ The Palestine Mandate from the Yale Avalon Project
  33. ^ Teveth, Shabtai (1985) Ben-Gurion and the Palestinian Arabs. From Peace to War. Oxford University Pres. ISBN 0 19 503562 3. Pages 66-70
  34. ^ League of Nations: Minutes of the Seventeenth Session
  35. ^ British White Paper of 1939 from the Yale Avalon Project
  36. ^ A/AC. 14/32 and Add. I of 11 November 1947. See full text in Walid Khalidi, From Haven to Conquest: Readings in Zionism and the Palestine Problem until 1948 (Washington: Institute for Palestine Studies, 1987), #63 “Binationalism Not Partition”, pp. 645–701.
  37. ^ Myth and Fact: Did Arab Leaders Encourage Palestinians to Flee in 1948? (Mitchell G. Bard)
  38. ^ The double Nakba (Irwin Cotler, June 30, 2008)
  39. ^ Grabsky, August (August 10, 2005). "The Anti-Zionism of the Bund (1947-1972)". Workers' Liberty. Retrieved 2009-11-10. 
  40. ^ A history of conflict between opposing ideals (Le Monde Diplomatique, Oct. 2010)
  41. ^ Edward Said, ”Truth and Reconciliation,” Al-Ahram Weekly, 14 January 1999
  42. ^ Tony Judt, "Israel: The Alternative," The New York Review of Books (October 23, 2003)
  43. ^ [6]
  44. ^ Olmert to Haaretz: Two-state solution, or Israel is done for, HaAretz, Nov. 29, 2007.
  45. ^ "Palestinian PM's 'one state' call". BBC News. January 9, 2004. Retrieved May 20, 2010. 
  46. ^ The One State Declaration, The Electronic Intifada, November 29, 2007. Accessed December 1, 2007
  47. ^
  48. ^ Conference website:
  49. ^ Conference and Movement information at:
  50. ^ Available in English, Arabic and Hebrew at:
  51. ^ Available at:
  52. ^ Available at:
  53. ^ Lerman, Antony "Israel-Palestine is already a de facto single state." Guardian News, 29 April 2009
  54. ^ Dead Peace Process Could be "National Suicide" for Israel (Inter Press Service, Feb 16, 2011)
  55. ^ [7]
  56. ^ The Declaration of the Establishment of the State of Israel Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  57. ^ Record of vote,
  58. ^ a b Shenhav, 2006, p. 191.
  59. ^ Grant, Linda (March 17, 2004). "Tales of Tel Aviv". The Guardian (London). Retrieved May 5, 2010. 
  60. ^
  61. ^
  62. ^,7340,L-3329865,00.html
  63. ^ "Partition of Palestine". London: The Guardian. July 8, 1937.,,980135,00.html. Retrieved May 5, 2010. 
  64. ^ Dershowitz, 28
  65. ^
  66. ^ No Common Ground,By JEFFREY GOLDBERG, New York Times, May 20, 2009,
  67. ^ FELICE FRIEDSON, "One-state or two-state solution", Jerusalem Post, 07/21/2010
  68. ^ Zrahiya, Zvi (2010). "Israel official: Accepting Palestinians into Israel better than two states". Retrieved 12 Feb 2011. 
  69. ^ Mozgovaya, Natasha. "U.S. Republicans submit resolution supporting Israel's right to annex West Bank." Haaretz Newspaper, 19 September 2011.


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