One-State, Two-States, Bi-National State: Mandated Imaginations In A Regional Void

Moshe Behar in Middle East Studies Online Journal:

In all cases of Palestine/Israel‘s bordering states/societies, difficulties in consolidating a unitary secular-democratic state are evident notwithstanding that – in contrast to the territory comprising Mandatory Palestine – they do not include a sizeable (or miniscule) community of Jews (Zionist or anti-Zionist) who not only differ culturally, linguistically, religiously and (partially) ethnically but who are also (i) rabid anti-Arab Eurocentrics, let alone (ii) happen to think of themselves as a separate group possessing a right of national self-determination in their own state in the post-Holocaust world. Put differently, if Arab societies/states find it hard to amass secular-democratic entities even without the nationalist/statist presence of avidly-Eurocentric Zionists in their midst – what real material prospects are there for such a project to first evolve successfully in Palestine/Israel (while somehow circumventing societal complexities typifying such bi-national or bi-ethnic entities as Belgium, Sri Lanka, or the former Yugoslavia)?

In striking contrast to post-1967 Marxists – effectively all post-1993 tracts advocating for a secular-democratic or bi-national state are devoid of anything existing – or empirically taking place – beyond the (mandated) borders of their otherwise hopeful projection, i.e., a European-like secular-democratic-villa-state in a unified Israel/Palestine. Contemporary One-State scholars hypothesize that the secular-democratic island-state will ripen somehow within the surrounding ―womb‖ of neighboring states, all of which are neither secular nor democratic. For materialist readings of historical and contemporary affairs, such mandated imaginations in a regional void are bewildering: if the diagnosis is largely off the mark, then the corresponding prognosis runs the risk of becoming das Opium des Volkes.