Israel-Palestine: Suppose a Confederation

Seyla Benhabib makes a proposal for Israel-Palestine:

Suppose there was a confederation in Israel-Palestine. Suppose the neutralization of groups like Hamas and Hizbollah which do not recognize the existence of the state of Israel was a goal common to Palestinians as well as other Arab nations but that in the event Hamas would recognize Israel’s right to exist it would have a seat at the table; suppose that there were common air, maritime and water controls jointly exercised by an Israeli-Palestinian authority, suppose that there was a common currency and regulated settlement rights for each ethnic group in certain parts of the common territory. Israel would not have to face civil war against the fanatic settlers in Hebron and the West Bank who would then either have to live under a regional municipal Palestinian authority or would have to return to Israel. But Israel would not have to defend their land grabs through incursions into Palestinian territory; the Palestinians would not have to pretend that the Bantustan of Gaza could in any sense be part of a Palestinian state; instead Gaza would be an autonomous region in a joint Israeli-Palestinian confederation. Gaza and the West Bank would hold elections for municipal and regional administration and governments, under some clearly defined power-sharing agreement with each other and with Israel.

A confederation would not mean the disappearance of the national collective polity and identity of each people: within some version of the pre-1967 territories, that is the Green line, Israel would remain a Jewish state, with its language, and holidays and elections; but it would share power in military, security, intelligence, currency and trade matters with the Palestinian state. Likewise the Palestinians would have their own language, holidays and elections, but the two peoples would develop some form of joint school curricula particularly in the teaching of history which did justice to historical truths and to the suffering of both peoples. Children of a new generation would learn to have empathy rather than hatred for each other. There would be some equalization of socio-economic and welfare rights in this confederation so that everyone would not want move into the wealthier Israeli provinces; religious pluralism and liberal civil rights would be respected equally for all Jews, Muslims, Christians and all people of other faiths. For the religiously observant who would want to have their personal affairs to be administered by religious authorities there would be optional religious courts but there would also be a shared Bill of Rights for all peoples which would guarantee equal civil and political rights.