Settlements and the One State Solution

I’m already pretty firmly on the record that the continued expansion of the settlements poses a massive threat to the viability of the two-state solution of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. The longer the settlements stay up, many argue, the more entrenched they will become — eventually, they will be so dug in that evacuating them will become impossible, and suddenly there is no two-state solution. At that point, the only alternatives will be ethnic cleansing, outright apartheid, or a binational, one-state solution.

This is bad enough for me, because the former two options are morally intolerable and the last I consider to be pretty awful as well. But I was doing some thinking, and it occurred to me that the settlements are near-equally threatening to a one-state solution as they are to a two. There are a few Palestinian advocates who are publicly nonchalant about the settlements precisely because they signify that “the egg is already scrambled” — that is, Israel is inexorably on the path to one-state. But the reasons that the settlements would need to be evacuated won’t go away in a one-state climate. It’s not as if it will suddenly be okay for Jews to be living in Ariel or Hebron just because the territories have unified.

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3 Responses to Settlements and the One State Solution

  1. 1
    Jake says:

    “[T]he last I consider to be pretty awful as well. ”


  2. 2
    David Schraub says:

    I’m pessimistic that a binational state would be particularly liberal or even stable (going off the example of other polyglot nations with histories of ethnic conflict); I also think it would end up replicating Jewish alienation as a strange and otherized minority, and I finally am pretty confident it would cease being a haven for Jews fleeing oppression elsewhere.

  3. 3
    Eurosabra says:

    The thing is, people don’t consider the social micro-partitions that existed even under Ottoman sovereignty, and how an incredibly divided society still functioned as an organic, squabbling whole, or how geographical micro-partitions (like between Musrara and the Old City of Jerusalem in ’49-’67) functioned. It’s true that the Mandelbaum Gate is NOT much better than the Berlin Wall as a legacy, but from ’47-’67 (and especially after the Jordanian cession of ’50-’51) the land was divided in an ungainly, haphazard fashion, dividing communities, subsuming some Palestinians in Jordan rather than Israel, producing a “hard” military border traversed in some places only by bullets and shells. So it’s hard to see how a re-partition with some settlement inclusion could be much worse, assuming that peace leads to a removal of the Fence in areas where it DOES separate farmers from their land.

    There is a tendency to treat the Holy Land as a whole which has its origin in the British Mandate, not in the previous social and administrative division and confusion which obtained even under nominal suzerainty of various powers. Historically, the 1923/1949 border distinction in the Galilee provides a precedent, there is no reason why the non-return of the Golan necessarily means that all of Israel passes to Syria as a unitary state, nor why the return of the Golan implies the 1923 or 1949 border per se. The idea that some “critical mass” makes re-partition impossible is a red herring. Actually, it is Palestine’s infrastructural dependence on Israel and Israel’s water dependence on the West Bank aquifier that make it less likely.