The one-state solution debate is picking up steam and media coverage in the wake of Israeli journalist Noam Sheizaf’s Ha’aretz article on prominent right-wing calls for the incorporation of the West Bank into Israel. For more on the significance of Sheizaf’s article and the growing calls from the right for some type of one-state solution, I would recommend reading Ali Abunimah’s analysis here.
Now the Los Angeles Times–the best national newspaper on Middle East issues by far–has a blog post up that reports that “a poll on the Palestinian Ma’an news website that ended Monday showed that more than 56% of Palestinians support a former Israeli defense minister’s idea to annex the West Bank and grant Israeli citizenship to its 2.5 million residents.”
The L.A. Times goes on and says:
Apparently, Arens’ idea seems to have struck a chord among Palestinians. What the poll indicates is that a slim majority of Palestinians in the occupied territories have given up on the idea of two states – Israel and Palestine — living side by side in peace and security. Many now prefer the one-state solution, which means Israel would incorporate the remaining parts of historic Palestine, excluding the Gaza Strip, which Arens seems to have ignored.
However, the Palestinians’ reasoning for their decision is totally different from that of Arens, a right-wing Israeli politician. While Arens dismisses the general Israeli concern that granting West Bank Palestinians Israeli citizenship would change the demographic and Jewish structure of Israel, Palestinians believe they would eventually become a majority in Israel in light of their higher birth rate, which means they could eventually take control through democratic and peaceful means.
The idea of a one-state solution has been gradually gaining Palestinian support as the Oslo process, started in 1993, has failed to bring about an independent state for the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Strong advocates of the two-states idea are also now talking about one state. Recently, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas suggested the one-state solution if negotiations to bring about an independent state fail.
The Ma’an poll, while not very scientific, reflects the general Palestinian mood in the occupied territories after efforts to give them a state have stalled and hopes pinned on the Obama administration faded. Palestinians still carry the one card that can either make or break peace in the Middle East: their presence on the land. Israel will have to deal with that reality sooner or later.
This is important–a Palestinian movement for equal rights and citizenship in one-state will change the game in Israel/Palestine. Once it picks up to a critical mass, the fundamentally flawed “peace process” will die and Israel, as Ehud Olmert and Ehud Barak have said before, will have to deal with the simple call for respecting the human rights of the Palestinian people, including the millions of refugees who long to return to their villages. That means the end of Zionism.