One, Two or Three States

Map 2

While a one-man one-vote scenario in a single bi-national state would no doubt look good on paper, and possibly even help heal some of the territorial, psychological, and legal wounds dividing the two communities, the lack of a clear pathway for achieving this goal and the seemingly insurmountable obstacles found in its way are such that this idea is often dismissed as utopian or a simple thought experiment at best. Israel’s categorical refusal to even consider a one-state paradigm, given that this would imply an end to the Jewish demographic majority, coupled with the great uncertainty and high risk of violence that would follow an eventual disbanding of the PA or an Israeli physical re-occupation of the West Bank are also matters worth considering. The Gaza Strip, ruled by Hamas as a separate entity from the West Bank since 2007, is another question mark hovering over the one-state paradigm, and the continued division between the Palestinian factions of Hamas and Fatah further complicates not only the one-state but also the two-state formula given that in practice what has been developing on the ground is a three-state reality. Finally, many critics of the one-state framework point to the fact that nationalism and a quest for sovereignty continue to be the major driving forces underpinning the conflict and further that there is no functioning example of a bi-national state in the Middle East. On the contrary, the worrying example of Lebanon’s ethno-religious conflicts is often cited as a case in point.

more from Andrea Dessì at Reset here.