One state, two state, three state, four!
The current “politically correct” option for the Israel/Palestine problem is the “two state solution”. This calls for two separate and independent nation-states in the Palestine/Israel area. One, Israel, all ready exists, and and proven itself quite capable of defending and expanding it’s borders. The other, based on the area of the West Bank and Gaza that isn’t occupied and settled by Israel, would become the second, “Palestine”. This is a bad option for the Arabic Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza, as Israel has shown time and time again that they won’t be happy with the current borders, and will continue to defend and support settlers. Any Palestine state will be given the worst parts of the West Bank. I believe that this is opposed by the Israeli government because it would give even more ammo to calls for them to stop the settlers. The Israeli government aim is a single Jewish state in the entire area. Moreover, the Israeli government continues to attach conditions to its recognition of a Palestinian state. These include “The Palestinian state would have to be demilitarized, with international guarantees that it remain so; it would have to cede control of its airspace to Israel; and it could be created only if the Palestinians recognize Israel as the Jewish homeland.” (Schneider 2010)
The other option normally tossed around is the “one state solution”. This calls for a single, democratic, secular and liberal country in the entire area of Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza, the entire former Palestine Mandate. This “solution” seems to be as unlikely, if not just because the Israeli government won’t want to give Arabs a majority in any such state. Any “one state solution” is likely to result in rather than a democratic and secular country, a quite un-democratic and Jewish state. If things continue as they have been, the settlers will continue to push into the West Bank, and gradually there will be a one state, but it will be “ethnically cleansed” of Arabs. In so far as statehood and nationhood is accepted, a single, democratic, secular and liberal country is by far better than the “two state solution”. But, the more likely one state is worse…
But, considering that states and borders are generally arbitrary, why not a “three state solution”? Or a “four state solution”? Before starting to research this piece, I didn’t know that there was even seriously suggested that there be a “three state solution”. But there is, Israel, Gaza to Egypt and the West Bank to Jordan. All things considered, this is no worse than the “two state solution”, in that the Palestinians will still have their land taken away gradually by settlers, and the Israeli government will still be continuing the occupation. The term is apparently also used for Gaza and West Bank as independent states, along with Israel. The “four state solution” is also used, this time, drawing a line between two sorts of Israeli, in addition to the Gaza and the West Bank. This, and proposed “five state solution” ideas on the same theme are generally not meant to be taken seriously. At least, I don’t think so.
A Palestinian state
This week people from the Palestinian Authority are going to the UN to try and gain full membership. This attempt is likely to fail, because to join the UN as a full member, the Security Council needs to approve. The USA has indicated that it will use its veto to stop this from happening. If the PA were to be happy with merely observer status (something the PLO already has), they would only need a two thirds majority of the General Assembly. Something they could get easily. The question is though, why do they need UN recognition to become a “real” state? They don’t. They are already recognised by about 126 countries from around the world. Moreover, there are a number of de facto states that have better control over their borders and security, that are not recognised as such by the UN, and are still recognised as real states by various other states. These include Taiwan, South Ossetia, Northern_Cyprus, Transnistria, and Kosovo.
Much has been written about Israel being a state founded on genocide and displacement of peoples. Why is this a reason to reject recognition of it as a legitimate state? After all, many other states were founded on the same basis, including the USA and Australia. The difference seems to be one of time, Israel was created within living memory of many, unlike most other states. As far as legitimacy goes Israel is no less, or more, legitimate than any other state. Which is to say, it is not at all legitimate.
The no state solution
So, the point of this article is to suggest, once again, that the best option for peace and freedom in the Israel/Palestine area is the “no-state solution”. The “no state solution” is the anarchist solution, calling for a network of independent autonomous communities working under a federated banner. The anarchist solution doesn’t come with complicated blueprints, or propose land-swaps or borders. Instead, it proposes that people live their lives freely and independently, without interference.
The proposal says that no state is legitimate, and therefore, all should be abolished. It is not just a solution for conflict in the Palestinian area, but also for all wars between states. If Morocco was merely a geographical region, rather than a state with an army, there wouldn’t be fighting over who controlled the West Sahraa. If India and Pakistan were dissolved as states, the people of Kashmir could live their lives without having to worry about the army (whichever one) accidentally (or otherwise) shelling their houses.
References and further reading
(Being included here is not an indication of endorsement of the work by the author.)
Howard Schneider (2009-06-15) Israel’s Netanyahu Endorses Creation of Palestinian State but Attaches Conditions
Wikipedia One-state solution
Danny Danon (2011-09-16) The Time Is Now for a Three-State Solution to End the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
Wikipedia Three-state solution
A Palestinian state
Mark R. Crovelli Wipe The State Of Israel Off The Map–And Every Other State, Too!
No state solution
Ryan Chiang McCarthy (2002-02-12) Anarchists And Palestine: Class Struggle Or Popular Front?
Anarchist Federation (2009) No state solution in Gaza
James Herod (2009-02) Palestine: The No-State Solution
Melbourne Anarchist Communist Group (2010-08) Palestine: No State Solution
Randall Amster (2011-06-28) Can the Israel-Palestine Conflict Provide a Path to Peace?
Ilan Shalif Israel / Palestine is not a nice place to live in – it is a war zone
Lamis Andoni (2010) Jordan is not Palestine
Cameron Hunt (2010-10-17) The No-State Alternative – Cameron Hunt
Joseph Massad (2011-09-15) State of recognition