Gaza As the Palestinian State Is Not an Acceptable Two-State Solution

The two-state solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is not dead. On the 25th anniversary of the Oslo Accords, Israel is implementing an unjust “two-state” solution by making Gaza the Palestinian rump state on 1.76% of historical Palestine. Israel is moving toward permanent annexation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem. They de-facto control much of the fractured territory already. Israel may “generously” throw in some desert lands near Gaza so that Gazans can have a better airport. This “two-state” solution will give Jews a 60-40% demographic majority in “Israel” and at least for a few generations ensure Jewish electoral domination particularly with a sustained ethnic cleansing program.

The original two-state solution envisioned by the Oslo Accords based on the 1967 borders is dead. Israel has continued to flood Jewish citizens into the West Bank and East Jerusalam and has never agreed to a peace deal along the 1967 borders. Israel only offers unfair 1-to-1 land swaps and will not share Jerusalem.

The delusion of a traditional two-state solution by well-meaning people lives on for a number of historic reasons:

1) Palestinian economic and political elites are dependent on the two-state solution framework in order to maintain what little they gained from the Oslo peace process;

2) Many Israelis and supporters prefer a two-state option precisely because it addresses the demographic fear and allows for maintenance of a majority Jewish Zionist nation-state that they can claim to be a democracy;

3)The United Nation’s 1948 mandate, international law, and many governments support a two-state solution;

4)The supposed lack of an easy one-state or other solution.

Many Palestinians don’t see the feasibility of a fragmented Palestinian state. The permanent Israeli settlements on the West Bank and East Jerusalem burden Palestinians with Bantustan-like areas that are not viable politically or economically. Gazans effectively live in an open air prison with restricted caloric intake and mostly undrinkable water. Palestinian-Israelis live in an apartheid state as second class citizens. Palestinians also see that Jewish people no longer make up a majority between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea. Although Palestinians’ historical commitment to democratic rule is tepid, majority rule through a democratic state is looking much more attractive than any of the two-state solutions that Israel puts forward.

Many Israeli Jews reject the democratic one-state solution because 1- Sharing power could result in losing their exclusive and rich society; and 2- Fear of the “other.” Israelis can learn from the experience of South Africa Whites who have maintained much of their privilege and heritage while affording other South Africans the democratic and human rights to which they are entitled. There is still much healing and progress to be made. Unlike South Africa, Israel has already a Palestinian population in its 1967 borders that is not seen by many Israeli Jews as an existential threat and there is more interaction and exchange with them than between whites and blacks in South Africa even today. One-person-one vote is not a threat to any group if a process of restoration, healing, building trust and a common future vision are part of the process.

Most Israelis believe that a two-state solution is needed. The Oslo Accords did not produce a Palestinian state in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza. Israel is moving towards imposing on Palestinians its own solution of Gaza as the rump Palestinian state. Israelis and the international community must wake-up and resist where the two-state “solution” is headed, and take a more serious look at better one-state alternatives.

Sami Awad is the Executive Director of Holy Land Trust. At a young age, Sami was influenced by the teaching of his uncle Mubarak Awad, the Palestinian activist who promoted nonviolent resistance to the occupation during the first Intifadah (popular uprising) and was arrested and deported for his peaceful/nonviolent activists by the Israeli government. Since his return and establishment of HLT, Sami has engaged himself locally, through promoting and engaging in nonviolence, healing and transformation work and globally through visiting and speaking in different countries, communities, political and religious organizations.

Michael Beer has been the Executive Director of Nonviolence International since 1998. Michael is a global activist for human rights, minority rights and argues against war and casino capitalism.  He has trained activists in many countries, including Myanmar, Kosovo, Tibet, Indonesia, Thailand, Cambodia, India, Zimbabwe, and the United States. He is a frequent public speaker on nonviolence and has been broadcast on CSPAN, CNN,  and other major media outlets.

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