Encountering Peace: One-state reality – not viable
There are millions of people living on the same land as us who are not Jewish, are not part of our state and do not want to be part of our state.
E1 area linking Jerusalem and Ma’aleh Adumim Photo: Tovah Lazaroff
The Land of Israel belongs to the Jewish people – all of it, from the Jordan
River to the Mediterranean Sea. The Jewish people have rights to the land, and
not just inside the Green Line. All of Judea and Samaria belong to us. The
cradle of our civilization, the land of the Prophets of the Torah is there – in
the heart of the mountains and valleys of Judea and Samaria. The miracle of
1967: In six days, facing annihilation, Israel battled with brains and with
brawn, with technology and determination and extended our borders erasing the
armistice lines of 1949 and giving renewed life to our young state.
conquered territories that had been annexed by Jordan, illegally against
international law, after being attacked by the Hashemite Kingdom. If King
Hussein had not ordered his forces to shoot at us, Israel would have focused its
battle against Egypt in the south and Syria in the north and east Jerusalem and
the West Bank would have remained in Jordanian (illegal) control. Gaza was never
annexed to Egypt, which rather kept the narrow strip under the control of its
military and encouraged Palestinians to raid Israel from territory under its
Occupation? What occupation? We returned to our ancient
homeland, to our historic capital, for 3,000 years the center of Jewish
existence. There has never been a Palestinian state. Jerusalem was never a
Palestinian capital. The West Bank was not under any legal sovereignty before
How could it be occupied by us, by the Jewish people, by the State
of Israel? That is the argument I faced a few days ago after I lectured to a
group up north. Yes, I can also claim that the Land of Israel is ours; that we
have rights to it all. Yes, Jerusalem is the center of our existence, and we
have been facing Jerusalem in prayer for thousands of years. Yes, it is true
that there was no legal sovereign in the West Bank (as there is no legal
sovereign there today).
All of this does not change the fact that there
are millions of people living on the land who are not Jewish, are not part of
our state and do not want to be part of our state.
So what do we do?
Expel them? Round them up and kill them? Deny them their basic human and
political rights? Keep them in cantons and control their movement and their
lives? Honestly, those of you who want it all, what do you propose? There are
those with the phony “solutions,” such as “Jordan is Palestine” – the Arabs in
Judea and Samaria can stay where they are but will have their national
expression in Jordan. Or, the Palestinian Authority provides them with their
democratic rights under Israeli sovereignty. Or, there is no Palestinian people,
there never has been and there never will be. Or maybe if we just continue to
build and build they will get the message and simply go away.
I HAVE yet
to find someone who claims that we must exercise our rights over all of the land
who also has a real, practical answer regarding what to do with “the other”
people living there. None of them has a solution that will end the conflict and
allow us to live in peace.
The best they can come up with are proposals
for managing the conflict, but while they’re busy managing it, they continue
with their building drives, exacerbating the tension, weakening those on the
other side who want peace and empowering all of the extremists who will drive us
back to violence.
I want to know who will face the families of the next
round of victims of this conflict? Will our leaders tell us that another few
hundred housing units on a hill are worth the lives of tens of innocent Israeli
citizens? How many Israelis will pay with their lives so that we can claim our
rights? If they have no solution to offer they are promising us another round of
Why doesn’t the right-leaning electorate ask their leaders
these questions? There is no ideal solution, but there is a solution. The
Palestinians will agree to a state of their own on 22 percent of the land
between the river and the sea. They will agree to a non-militarized state. They
will agree to security arrangements that will enable Israel to defend itself
without denying Palestinians the right of sovereignty. It will be possible to
keep all of Jewish Jerusalem under Israeli sovereignty while Arab Jerusalem is
under Palestinian sovereignty, and for Jerusalem to remain an open
There is a solution to the refugee issue that will not turn Israel
into a binational state and whereby most of the Palestinian refugees who want to
return home will return to the State of Palestine. There is a possibility for
Jews who wish to live in the territory of the State of Palestine to do
All of the issues can be on the table and solutions can be found.
There is even a possibility that in the end of the process, the Palestinians
will acknowledge that Israel is the nation-state of the Jewish people, as long
as we guarantee the full equality of the Palestinian Arab citizens of our
Even if we believe that it is all ours, we simply cannot have it
all. There is no possibility that one day the Palestinian people will simply go
away, or that they will acquiesce to our rule over them, or that we will
convince them to give up what they believe is their basic right. There is no way
we can remain the democratic nation-state of the Jewish people and suppress the
Palestinian rights for freedom and liberty. There is no way that we as Jews can
do that and there is no way that the world will allow us to do that much
While many people are saying that we have come to the end of the
viability of the two-state solution, I say that we have come to the end of the
viability of a onestate reality.
The writer is the co-chairman of IPCRI –
the Israel Palestine Center for Research and Information, a columnist for The
Jerusalem Post and the initiator and negotiator of the secret back channel for
the release of Gilad Schalit.