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Occupation magazine - Commentary

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What Comes Next: A one-state reality and a two-state discourse
Noam Sheizaf

The two-state solution wont be dead as long as both societies are on the ground. The Palestinians and the Israelis are dominated by the political forces supporting them, even if the support is done more and more for rhetorical reasons, and not as part of a real political agenda. Given the option between one state and two states, most Israelis will take the latter; all major Palestinian political parties are yet to give up the desire for their own nation-state. Even if international pressure on Israelis reaches the levels it did on South Africans in the mid 1980s, at their moment of truth, Israelis are more likely to prefer another partial withdrawal to annexing the West Bank and Gaza and giving equal rights to the Palestinians. One could say that as long as nationalism lives, the idea of two separate nation-states between the sea and the river will live.

Implementing a real two-state solution, on the other hand, seems more and more unlikely. Right now, every sixth person east of the Green Line is a Jew. Under the current political circumstances, a more limited Israeli withdrawal to the separation barrierwhich would force the evacuation of thousands of settlers and still wont leave the Palestinians with sufficient contiguous territory in order to form a viable stateseems just as unlikely. And sure enough, this wont be a solution: even if such a withdrawal is accompanied by an agreement between Israeli and Palestinian representatives; even if Israeli leaders can implement this agreement in good faith; even if Israel survives the inevitable internal battle that will ensueall we are likely to end up with is an enhanced Palestinian Authority. Sooner or later, hostilities would erupt again.

We are left with a one-state reality and a two-state political discourse. The Green Line is all but meaningless: the populations are totally mixed. A separation mechanisma nationalistic debate in both societies and the Jewish de facto sovereignty over the entire land is preventing the implementation of a just political mechanism, one which would be in sync with the geographic and demographic reality. This problem is likely to bring much more pain and sorrow on both Jews and Palestinians.

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