Not All one-State Solutions are equal!

Moshe Arens, the former Israeli minister of defense and foreign minister called for the creation of a binational state which includes the West Bank but excludes the Gaza Strip for ending the conflict with the Palestinians. In a lecture he gave last Thirsday in Israel, he urged the Israeli government to destroy the apartheid wall erected by Israel in 2003 in the West Bank ostensibly to put an end to Palestinian sucide bombings. This wall did not prevent any bombing, what stopped the Palestinian suicide bombers is the cooperation between Israel and the Palestinian police, he said. He described the wall as a scar on Israel’s face and tarnishes its reputation around the world. Israel is already a binational state, he added. with more than 20% of its inhabitants are non-Jews. He suggested granting the approximately 2.5 million Palestinians currently living in the occupied West Bank Israeli citizenship and allowing them to become Israeli citizens in a binational state under Jewish sovereignty.

The one state solution idea to the Palestinian Israeli conflict is not new. Hadn’t it been to Arens’ status as a former right wing politician who held high political positions in the cabinets Of Menachem Begin and Yitzhak Shamir and Netanyahu, his views would have not been given the light of day in the Israeli media. Various Palestinian political factions and intellectuals often proposed a one state solution where Muslims, Christians and Jews could live together in a progressive secular democratic state with full equality in all of the British Mandated Palestine. Their proposals fell on deaf ears in Israel. Zionism since its advent insisted on the creation of an exclusively Jewish state by the Jews and for the Jews only.

Secular inthusiasts of the one state solution to the Palestinian Israeli conflict must not get excited. Arens’ ideas epitomize the racist spirit inherent in Zionist thought. Three major defects in his views are immediately apparent: First, He excluded from his proposed state the Gaza Strip and its approximately 1.8 million Palestinians the majority of whom are from the victims of the creation of the state of Israel and their descendants. Secondly, He relegated the Palestinian Muslim and Christian population to a nationality of an inferior status under Jewish sovereignty. Finally, he made no references to the most troubling aspects of Zionist racism embodied in two Israeli basic laws, the Law of Return and the Land Law. The Law of Return of 1949 allows any Jew from anywhere in the world to go to Israel and immediately become an Israeli citizen, while the original inhabitants and owners of Palestine are denied the right of return and have been living in the most retched conditions. There is an estimate of approximately seven million Palestinians living in the diaspora, among them almost four millions living in refugee camps in Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon. Those refugees are also excluded from Arens binational state. The Israeli Land Law of 1953 is one of the most discriminatory of the Israeli Basic Laws. It is comprised of the various Israeli ad hoc legislations pertaining to the properties of the Palestinian refugees between 1948 and 1953 put together in one law. This makes all the confiscated Palestinian land and properties the ownership of the Jewish nation, nontransferable to nonJews. Unless these Basic Laws are abolished, Arens’ binational state is meaningless.

What did Moshe Arens have in mind when he reiterated his old views on the solution to the Palestinian Israeli conflict in a one binational state for the Arabs and the Jews? Clearly he wanted to fire a mercy bullet at the already dying two-state-solution often talked about by the United States and Europe for ending the conflict between Israel and the Arab states. Various Israeli cabinets have paid lip service to their acceptance of the two-state-solution, but in reality have done everything to continuously change facts on the ground to undermine it. As a right wing Israeli politician he wants to open up the Palestinian towns and villages in the West Bank for further Israeli conquests and colonial settlements. He clearly aims at preserving the Palestinian territories occupied by Israel in 1948 and those occupied in 1967 under Israeli control. Henceforth, not all one-state-solutions to the conflict over Palestine are equal. While the Palestinian vision of a one state solution will guarantee equality among Muslim, Christian and Jews, Arens’ ideas remain loyal to the racism inherent in Zionism and to an apartheid state.