DOESN’T 50 YEARS of Israeli military occupation call for abandoning the two-state solution and adopting the one-state solution in order to threaten Israeli society into facing the implications of maintaining the Occupation? Not only is this question being asked much more frequently by younger Palestinians, but versions of it have emerged from the editorial board of The New York Times and even the former Obama White House itself.
The one versus two states debate has recently received increasing media focus and academic input, particularly in light of the seemingly impossible-to-achieve two-state solution that has, rightly or wrongly, long been considered the internationally-approved mantra for the resolution of the historic conflict between Palestinian nationalism and Zionism.
I do not subscribe to the notion that Palestinians should be using “threats” to articulate a strategic goal. I believe that such an approach weakens our ability to mobilize political alliances, solidarity communities, and most importantly, to mobilize our own people around a clear political goal. We do not need to drop our demand for independent statehood to use the one-state argument to shock Israelis into acting differently. The Israeli side has given us ideal tools for evoking such leverage. For example, when Israel evokes an existential fear of demographics—non-Jews exceeding the number of Jews between the Mediterranean Sea and Jordan River—and their need—70 years after the establishment of Israel—for Palestinians to confirm Israel’s “right to exist,” in other words, issue them a birth certificate, what Israel is actually introducing into the political discourse are showstoppers, knowing very well that what they are demanding from Palestinians has not been requested from any other country and will not be forthcoming from the people whose ruins Israel was built upon. Israel defines all of this as the need for a “Jewish state” or “nation state of Jews” or the like. Palestinians can use these Israeli-invented political levers to reframe the argument to highlight where continued military occupation and expansion will lead Israel, without explicitly changing our strategic goal of statehood.
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Tikkun 2017 Volume 32, Number 2:46-47