Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Israel and Palestine: A true one-state solution

by Paul Woodward, War in Context, September 3, 2010

Israel should adapt to the 21st century. Is that really a utopian idea?

As Tony Judt succinctly distilled the issue a few years ago: “The very idea of a ‘Jewish state’ — a state in which Jews and the Jewish religion have exclusive privileges from which non-Jewish citizens are forever excluded — is rooted in another time and place. Israel, in short, is an anachronism.”

President Obama’s “bold” departure from the position of his predecessor is that he has repeatedly asserted — as he did again on Wednesday — that “the status quo is unsustainable — for Israelis, for Palestinians, for the region and for the world.”

An occupation that has continued for 43 years has certainly proved very durable — sufficient reason for half a million Israelis to defy the claim that the status quo is unsustainable as they carry on living in the West Bank.

The focus of skepticism should in fact be focused less on the sustainability of the status quo than on the realistic prospects for a two-state solution. Such a resolution appears no more imminent now than it did when it was first proposed 73 years ago. In that period whole empires have risen and fallen and yet we’re still supposed to imagine that a Palestinian state is lurking just over the horizon?

As the Zionists have understood all along, it is the facts on the ground that shape the future and none of these facts point towards a partition of land upon which two people’s lives are now so deeply intertwined.

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