Tel Aviv has witnessed a sea of picket signs bearing the face of Obama thousands of miles away from his own homeland, with a new, yet notorious slogan that has been on loop out of Israeli independent radio stations – Yes We Ken. ‘Ken’ being a transliteration of ‘Yes’ in the Hebrew language. Left wing demonstrators, have taken the streets in Rabin Square, pressuring President Netanyahu’s to accept US President Obama’s outline for peace talks.
Both Israeli’s and Palestinians, affiliated with different political organisations and parties, such as the Hadash, Meretz Peace Now, the Sheikh Jarrah Solidarity Movement, the Geneva initiative as well as the Labor and Kadima parties. This harmonious unity has been unarguably overdue, especially in such an explicit manner towards the current Israeli administration – “Bibi and Barak, peace isn’t a game”, said one protestor. The main aim of this manifestation has been primarily a two state solution, two states, for two people along the 1967 Armistice lines. This optimism, is admirable, and definitely a step in the correct direction. However, from a critical stance, this poses two questions; is the creation of a two state solution feasible? Perhaps. Will it eradicate the Arab-Israeli conflict all together?
The first issue a two state solution poses is actually drawing up the lines of two states, along the 1967 lines, this would mean something along the lines of 97% of both the West Bank and Gaza to the Palestinians whilst preserving a few Jewish Settlements in these respective areas such as Ariel and Ma’aretz. This all seems very simple to visualize however, from a modern perspective, most geographers and social architects would suggest an extra-territorial corridor linking Gaza to the West Bank. This is where it gets tricky. The road from Gaza to the West Bank, is scattered with both Jewish and Palestinian communities. Thus, it would involve the mass deracination of communities, to ensure that they are placed on the “right side”. It is unfeasible to forcibly move mass communities from one place to another – after all that was one of the more docile tactics of Ben Guiron towards the Palestinians during the 1940s and 1950s. Moreover, if things get truly out of hand, it could lead to genocide on similar lines that occurred in Bosnia towards the Bosniaks in the 1980s and 1990s. It’s a huge risk that architects of a two state solution would be undertaking.
The second issue poses itself in what is known as the “Old Testament Prophecy”. In other words, a mutual crusade into the historic land of Palestine, where both ethnic groups will battle over Jerusalem, a reverence in the sentiments of both the Jews, Muslims and Christians living in the region. It need not even necessary to reach the heights of the Holy city, the fundamentalist Zionist Israelis revere all of historic Palestine, the Sinai, parts of Lebanon and north of Saudi Arabia. They will clearly not agree to partition the mythical land of their forefathers, a stance that has been repeated continuously by Netanyahu on several occasions. Moreover, there are also other Palestinians who feel it is even inappropriate that they should be denied claims to all of historic Palestine, both socially and politically. It is these extremist views that will cause a disruption in the final ‘end game’ of moderates who propose a two state solution.
The alternative? One state. If we follow up the successes of consociational agreements in both Northern Ireland, and perhaps more fittingly, South Africa, we can see with the correct framework, a one state solution is probably most favorable and feasible in the long run. Palestinians will be protected domestically under the Israeli Declaration of Independence, there will be freedom of movement, and if political bodies in government emerge representing both Palestinians and Israelis à la Lebanon, perhaps a more solid foundation for peace may be forged.
Views expressed in articles are the author’s and do not represent Comment Middle East
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