Beyond the Two-State Solution: A Jewish Political Essay
1 Jan 2012
For over two decades, many liberals in Israel have attempted, with wide international support, to implement the two-state solution: Israel and Palestine, partitioned on the basis of the Green Line - that is, the line drawn by the 1949 Armistice Agreements that defined Israel s borders until 1967, before Israel occupied the West Bank and Gaza following the Six-Day War. By going back to Israel s pre-1967 borders, many people hope to restore Israel to what they imagine was its pristine, pre-occupation character and to provide a solid basis for a long-term solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In this original and controversial essay, Yehouda Shenhav argues that this vision is an illusion that ignores historical realities and offers no long-term solution. It fails to see that the real problem is that a state was created in most of Palestine in 1948 in which Jews are the privileged ethnic group, at the expense of the Palestinians - who also must live under a constant state of emergency. The issue will not be resolved by the two-state solution, which will do little for the millions of Palestinian refugees and will also require the uprooting of hundreds of thousands of Jews living across the Green Line. All these obstacles require a bolder rethinking of the issues: the Green Line should be abandoned and a new type of polity created on the complete territory of mandatory Palestine, with a new set of constitutional arrangements that address the rights of both Palestinians and Jews, including the settlers.