A New Horizon for Peace: An Israel-Palestine Union

In light of the total deadlock on the question of Palestine, a group of Israelis and Palestinians is developing an original vision of peace, which under the current circumstance is becoming more relevant than ever: “two states, one homeland.”

Children hold a sign demanding peace.

Children of the bilingual, binational Wahat al-Salaam–Neve Shalom community hold a sign demanding peace. Founded in 1969, this oasis of peace offers proof that harmonious coexistence is possible. Credit: Wahat al-Salaam–Neve Shalom.

Following Netanyahu’s return to power, a sense of despair engulfed the peace camp in Israel, Palestine, and beyond. Indeed, the Likud Party’s policy of strongly supporting Jewish colonization of the West Bank and recent vicious Israeli attacks on Gaza make peace based on the two-state solution seem like a disappearing mirage. Deep divisions among the Palestinians and waves of Hamas-inspired violence against Israeli civilians further this impression.

Moreover, even if a Palestinian state is miraculously established in the near future, it is likely to become a small “ghetto state” with severely limited sovereignty and a source of constant grievance. Further, the “divorce” model between Israel and Palestine is likely to heighten conflict over core issues such as Jerusalem (to be redivided), settlements (to be mostly forcefully removed, causing havoc in Jewish society), the Palestinian right of return (to be ignored, causing major tensions in Palestinian society), and the status of the Palestinians in Israel (to remain dangerously marginal). Hence, even if an agreement is achieved, there remains high likelihood of new eruptions between two disgruntled ethnocratic states.

Some people believe that the failure of the two-state solution will “naturally” lead to a one-state solution. But these calls, increasingly popular among Palestinians, appear to be simplistic, expressing wishful thinking for possibilities outside the political field.

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Professor Oren Yiftachel teaches political geography at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. He has been active in several human rights organizations and served as chair of the board of B’Tselem. His opinions do not represent the policies of any of the above organizations.
 

Source Citation

Yiftachel, Oren. 2015. A New Horizon for Peace: An Israel-Palestine Union. Tikkun 30(4): 36.

tags: Israel/Palestine   
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