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One State Solution

A group of mourners arrived to express their condolences and support for the family of Mohammed Abu Khdeir, who was killed in revenge for the death of three Israeli teens. But they were not family or even friends – they weren’t necessarily welcome. They were Israelis reaching out to perform their own “Tikkun Olam”, or fixing the world. When asked if it was hard,  one offered her reason for beig there.  “Maybe,” she said. But, she added, “I think the peace will come from the people, not from our leaders.”

This may be more than just a gesture of grace. It may be the start of something bigger, something even more than the peace sought by the mourners. A lasting peace means a permanent arrangement that promotes peace – justice, order, respect, and cooperation. It may be different than anyone has contemplated in a long time.

Palestine has always been built on hope.

Palestine has always been built on hope.

The latest war in Gaza might be showing that the way forward isn’t what the world has been trying vainly to impose for a generation. As frustration grows with the dead-end hopes of peace, more and more people are looking for a different solution – one state, neither Israeli nor Palestinian but both together. It seems like a longshot, but the notion of two states is fading so rapidly that the “One State Solution” is looking more reasonable every day.

The latest conflict is about much more than the murder of three Israeli teens spun out of control by revenge killings. It escalated into mortar attacks out of Gaza largely because such action is a proven diversion from the simple fact that Hamas is largely incapable of governing – because of their own inability to organize, their lack of external support, and their desperate isolation by Israel all at once. Palestine, as a part of the “Two State Solution,” is fading fast.

There is also geography. Here is a map of territory under Palestinian control, nominal or otherwise, through the last century:


Without a functioning Palestine there is only chaos in the hunt for a Two State Solution. If anything, it’s starting to seem a lot like South Africa under Apartheid, when “homelands” were created for various African groups the white government wanted to isolate. That proposed solution collapsed there about the time it became the most touted solution for the Israel/Palestine situation.

Europe had to go through a period of endless war before true unity was found to be the only way.

Europe had to go through a period of endless war before true unity was found to be the only way.

Then again, the entire region is beginning to look like Europe during the Thirty Years War (1618-1648). This was a period that is rarely taught adequately, but it is when Europe emerged from the Middle Ages and soaked itself in genocide and scorched earth, all in the name of religion. After the warriors exhausted the people and land, the solution at that time was the development of what became the “Nation State” as we know it. It took 300 years and much more blood before the obvious real solution, the extra-national European Union, moved forward.

That’s why there is a growing chorus for a new interest in the One State Solution. Even before this recent conflict, Caroline Glick of the Jerusalem Post wrote a book outlining why this may be the only way forward. Her reasoning? The main argument against a greater Israel that includes Arabic and other people in a pluralistic society is that Jews would would be outnumbered. That’s not true anymore. The population of Jews and their higher birthrate assures that they will be a majority for a long time, at least. As the only established force for security and order, Israel is the only viable option at the moment. The issues then become a matter of proper development of civil rights and free expression for the Arab minority.

That’s not a small matter, of course, but before this conflict a majority of Palestinian Arabs expressed a strong desire for peace and a continuation of the conflict only through peaceful, civil means. Only a tiny minority, 11%, expressed support for a true One State Solution, but they do exist.

Grief looks about the same no matter who has been killed.

Grief looks about the same no matter who has been killed.

With both “governments” flaring up the war it’s hard to imagine how this might work. But consider what some people, at least, are trying to do beyond their government’s launching of mortar fire or bullets. The only thing that can bring peace is a unity among the peaceful people on both sides, which has to grow and flourish despite the blood spilled all around them. It won’t be easy.

But if they can unite and work together to create peace, why should they then go their separate ways? The premise of the Two State Solution starts to seem illogical when mourners come to bridge the gaps that governments flare up in blood spilled in violence and blood rising in hatred. Only through unity can there be respect and justice. Only through respect and justice can there be peace. Achieving so much together would make a stronger foundation for a new nation, a new “Israel”, than just about any nation-state around today.

It starts with Tikkun Olam. Hopefully, it ends with a world that is fixed and healed. Such a world may be hard to imagine, but it also may be a lot different from what most imagine today.

17 thoughts on “One State Solution

  1. I never understood how a separate Palestinian nation was supposed to work. Gaza down in the corner isn’t connected with the rest of it and it seems to be the source of all the trouble. How would they manage that? If it can’t be its own nation then what happens with Israel? Don’t they have Jewish laws and so on that the moslems would not want to live under? And they would have to give up their own nation and flag and all the things they have worked towards. I don’t see it happening, but as you say the other solutions don’t seem to be happening.

    • Exactly, there are no good solutions. So what might work best? The fact that this old idea is back on the table is a sign of desperation – but it’s also a sign that people are willing to consider anything to bring peace. It’s both good and bad.

  2. I’m following the recent news and still cannot understand how it is possible that Israeli crimes are continuing to be justified by other people. I think that the map speaks for itself. Israelis stole lands from Palestinians with heavy support from the ‘free world’. Nowadays, Palestinians are facing a huge humanitarian catastrophe, yet they are being accused of terrorism. I sincerely believe that it is the last thing they think about. It is time to stop this madness. We should be supporting house building for the poor and for the refugees, instead of talking about how to prevent them from getting their lands back. And what is the major cause of this conflict? It is religion. Without having to argue about Jerusalem, things woudl be much easier.

    • I don’t want to accuse anyone of anything. I’m not a fan of Israel, but I can’t imagine sitting by while Jerusalem is shelled by mortars. The way the land has been partitioned is horrible, but it’s hard to undo that at this point – so where do we go from here? How is peace created? That’s all I really care about.

  3. You said “a tiny majority of 11%”, I think you mean minority. Otherwise a very interesting blog.

  4. When the sun is wrapped up [in darkness]

    And when the stars fall, dispersing,

    And when the mountains are removed

    And when full-term she-camels are neglected

    And when the wild beasts are gathered

    And when the seas are filled with flame

    And when the souls are paired

    And when the girl [who was] buried alive is asked

    For what sin she was killed

    And when the pages are made public

    And when the sky is stripped away

    And when Hellfire is set ablaze

    And when Paradise is brought near,

    A soul will [then] know what it has brought [with it].

    So I swear by the retreating stars –

    Those that run [their courses] and disappear –

    And by the night as it closes in

    And by the dawn when it breathes

    [That] indeed, the Qur’an is a word [conveyed by] a noble messenger

    [Who is] possessed of power and with the Owner of the Throne, secure [in position],

    Obeyed there [in the heavens] and trustworthy.

    And your companion is not [at all] mad.

    And he has already seen Gabriel in the clear horizon.

    And Muhammad is not a withholder of [knowledge of] the unseen.

    And the Qur’an is not the word of a devil, expelled [from the heavens].

    So where are you going?

    It is not except a reminder to the worlds

    For whoever wills among you to take a right course.

    And you do not will except that Allah wills – Lord of the worlds.

    • I think that is likely – which is why I referred to the 30 Years’ War, which collapsed into a cynical chaos before it did burn out. That phase may be coming shortly, or we may be in it. This may be burning out because there is nothing to gain while the people and the land are exhausted.

  5. I always find it interesting when people talk about “stolen” Palestinian land that very few know there never was a Palestinian state governed by Arab Palestinians. They never seem to talk about how some of the problems we see today were created by the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire and the British Mandate.

    Countries like Jordan were created out of nothing.

    The ’47 partition plan would have given the Arabs more but they rejected it. So from ’48-67 we saw Gaza being controlled by Egypt and East Jerusalem and the West Bank controlled by Jordan.

    Never in that time was there a discussion of a Palestinian state. In the years that have passed we have seen Palestinians massacred and exploited by Arab nations over and over again but that is almost never discussed because it is easy to point the finger at Israel.

    Easy to ignore that the leaders of Fatah and Hamas send their families to Israeli hospitals while simultaneously condemning Israel for a multitude of crimes.

    To be clear, Israel has made plenty of mistakes and there is ample room for criticism as there is for any country. All I want to see is balanced criticism and that doesn’t exist.

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