Is the "one-state solution" to be feared?  I don''t think so.  As Jacqueline Rose discovered - and published in 2006 - even those of the Jabotinsky camp within the Zionist movement accept Arabs as citizens and reject their transfer elsewhere.  Essentially, the autonomy proposals of Menachem Begin over 30 years ago followed this paradigm.

The key, however, is whether the Arabs themselves wish to fuse themselves into Israel, a state which is the Jewish state, which seeks to preserve its geography, heritage and identity as the expression Jewish nationhood.  The onus of coexistence lies on their shoulders.  Fusion, it is accepted, is not a forced conversion; nor is it a rejection of the religious, cultural and ethnic reality of the Arab and, in any case, is more relevant to the Muslim Arab.  Druze and Beduin, for the most part, have succeeded in this socialization process.  

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An outright refusal to integrate into a Jewish state surely is the right of any individual with the state still obligated to provide, as the Balfour declaration saw fit to emphasize over 90 years ago, not to “prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities” - and it is significant that the term for ''others'' is not "Arabs" but simply "non-Jews".  The recent loyalty oath issue notwithstanding, no country can tolerate an active destabilizing population.  Recent demands for recognition as an institutional autonomous ethnic community, that is, replacing the Knesset and its laws, can only be viewed as pursuing war by other means, and this cannot be tolerated.  The state cannot but defend itself through full pursuit of democratic safeguards, no less than other states, although I cannot see a burqa ban being applied.


Acceptance by Arabs of a non-majority status, unlike their status in some two-dozen other states, is the key. There is, too, another one-state principal: there must be at least an agreement that the Jews have the right, indeed the obligation as a nation, to maintain their one state.  If, however, we witness a continued and accelerated growth of Islamic fundamentalism, a Palestinianation of Israel’s Arabs, the non-acceptance of the state’s Zionist character of Israel in addition to the Arab refusal to enter national service programs and to continue to maintain extremely low tax payment levels, for example, then there is only one conclusion: the Arabs do not want a Jewish state.

Moreover, if Arabs presume they can take advantage of a one-state reality to achieve their desire for a supposed “right of return”, which is in truth the demographic demise of Israel, that is not an agenda item.  Ethnic allegiance cannot countervail obligations to the state at present and as it was conceived.  There is no citizenship on condition. Attempts to transform Israel into a “state of all its citizens” are intended transparently to rearrange the balance of history as well as decisions anchored in international law and can only result in Jews losing rights, foremost among them the right of self-determination.  The League of Nations enshrined the concept of “a national home for the Jewish people” predicated on “the historical connection of the Jewish people with Palestine” in 1922 for the express purpose to “secure the establishment of the Jewish national home”.  In 1947, the United Nations resolved that a “Jewish State…shall come into existence”.   We have nothing to apologize for in insisting on our identity, unique as it is.

Nevertheless, no one can ignore that prior to 1967, when no “occupation” existed nor did any Jewish communities beyond the Green Line, Arab terror, of the fedayeen or Fatah variety, was rampant and this indicates a deep-rooted Arab hostility that must be overcome.  The “Palestine” that was to be liberated was none other than Israel.  In seeking a ‘Palestinian’ identity, the only conclusion is that local Arab national expression is not defined by any positive imperative – cultural, religious, lingual or spiritual – but rather by its negative thrust: simply to deny Jews their state and their sovereignty.  In this sense, if Arabs understand the one-state solution as a meld of the two populations, then there is a misunderstanding.   

As Jabotinsky, in his “The Arab Angle – Undramatized” referred to above, makes clear, we cannot ignore the reality of the Middle East and the Arabs surely cannot.  As he wrote:


"There is only one circumstance in which it is a tragedy to constitute a minority; it is the case of the people which is only a minority everywhere and always a minority, dispersed among alien races, with no corner of the earth to call its own, and no home in which to find refuge. Such is not the position of the Arabs."


The Arabs have an obligation to realize that in this specific territory is the one place in the Middle East where their claims are unequal to those of the Jews.

For sure, civic discrimination of the Arab minority cannot be tolerated and must be removed.  One-state, however, is not bi-nationalism, to be clear.  

On the other hand, a two-state solution in the territory west of the Jordan River, which means two Arab states in the former area of the Mandate as opposed to one Jewish state in but 23% in the original boundaries, will only subject Israel to an intolerable security threat as well as rewarding Arab aggression.  Israel cannot survive alongside an independent Arab Palestine state.  It cannot work.

(This is an expanded version of an “Analysis” contribution to The Jewish Chronicle.)

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