a better, stronger country?



“As a 2-State Solution Loses Steam, a 1-State Plan Gains Traction”

By David M. Halbfinger

The New York Times

January 5, 2018


The article states:

The Israeli right, emboldened by President Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, is not the only faction arguing for a single state between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea.

The Palestine Liberation Organization has also begun to ask whether that might not be such a bad idea, though it has a radically different view of what that state would look like.

As momentum ebbs for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, both sides are taking another look at the one-state idea. But that solution has long been problematic for both sides.

For the Israelis, absorbing three million West Bank Palestinians means either giving up on democracy or accepting the end of the Jewish state. The Palestinians, unwilling to live under apartheid-like conditions or military occupation, have also seen two states as their best hope. …

Palestinian supporters envision one state with equal rights for Palestinians and Jews. Palestinians would have proportionate political power and, given demographic trends, would before long be a majority, spelling the end of the Zionist project. …

Under that idea, the Palestinian movement would shift to a struggle for equal civil rights, including the freedoms of movement, assembly and speech, and the right to vote in national elections.



As noted in a Wikipedia entry, “Israel defines itself as a Jewish and democratic [italics added] state. Israel is a representative democracy with a parliamentary system, proportional representation and universal suffrage.”



I am not well informed about Arab-Israeli issues. But, perhaps one might say (although I would disagree) that the so called “Palestinian territories” and “occupied Palestinian territories” — i.e., the West Bank (including East Jerusalem) and the Gaza Strip — since they are occupied or otherwise under the control of Israel, should perhaps be “talked about separately” in this context, meaning, yes, Israel is a democracy, etc., but political issues and solutions with respect to the occupied territories are not the same as those applying to the Jewish state. But, to explain what I mean by “this context,” it seems to me to be worth noting that Palestinians are struggling for (in the words of the Times article) “equal civil rights, including the freedoms of movement, assembly and speech, and the right to vote in national elections.”

Isn’t that what the Civil Rights movement in the US was about? Yes, blacks already had such rights under the US Constitution, but they were struggling to be allowed to exercise and be granted them de facto.

I have — politically naive as I am — been harboring a thought. As follows: That if Israel absorbed the population of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip and became a true democracy, notwithstanding the fact that Arabs would predominate population-wise, something miraculous would happen. (I have a dream, one might say.) A better, stronger country would eventually emerge. I feel intuitively that diversity is always better. It is what has made the US such a great country, which, sadly, President Trump does not realize.


— Roger W. Smith

   January 7, 2018

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