The only hope for peace is a single, bi-national state, eliminating the Jewish State of Israel.

Simon Wiesenthal Centre response

The “One-State Solution”, promoted by academics, is a non-starter because it would eliminate the Jewish homeland. However, the current pressures on Israel are equally dangerous. In effect, the world is demanding that Israel, the size of New Jersey, shrink further by accepting a three-state solution: a PA state on the West Bank and a Hamas terrorist state controlling 1.5 million Palestinians in Gaza. All this, as Hezbollah, Iran’s proxy in Lebanon, stockpiles 50,000 rockets, threatening northern and central Israel’s main population centres. In 2010, most Middle East experts believe that the only hope for enduring peace is two states with defined final borders. But too many diplomats, pundits, academics and church leaders ignore the fact that current polls show that while most Israelis favour a two-state solution, most Palestinians continue to oppose it.

Israel’s dilemma

The two-state formula is based on the proposition that the root cause of the Palestinian conflict is Israel’s unwillingness to surrender sufficient lands to the Palestinians rather than the Palestinian’s rejection of Israel’s right to exist and their continued commitment to its destruction. For over twenty years, US presidents have determined that their presidency would be marked by successful negotiations to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Over the same period, US Middle East policy has become more and more hostile to Israel. Successive US administrations have pushed Israel for more and more concessions without holding Palestinian leaders accountable to previous undertakings. Between 1970 and 2013, the US has presented to the Israelis and Palestinians nine peace plans but with each failure, the Middle East has become less stable, more violent and more radicalised.

The “One-State Solution”

Virginia Tilley, an academic and Chief Research Specialist in the Democracy and Governance Division of the Human Resources Council in Cape Town, South Africa, first wrote, in 2005 (reprinted in 2008), the One–State Solution. In her book, she subscribes to the view that since the Six Day War in 1967, when Israel took possession of the West Bank and East Jerusalem, Israel has created an apartheid state where Jews enjoy privileges not available to Palestinians. She further alleges that Israeli intransigence and deliberate delay in negotiating a two-state solution has enabled Israel to build a grid of Jewish settlements throughout the West Bank. This grid, she says, is now so extensive it has sabotaged any idea of a two-state resolution and it would now be all but impossible to force a withdrawal of Jewish settlers.

Further, she maintains, the economies of the “occupied territories” are too interdependent to be separated from Israel. This, together with the problem of sharing scarce water resources means that it would be impractical to have separate Palestinian and Jewish states.

Palestinian violence, Tilley says, is a reaction to the fact that they have been denied a state of their own. In her view and in the view of a significant number of left- wing Israelis, the only solution that would eliminate both the current injustices to the Palestinian people and the corruption of the Palestinian leadership is to replace the Jewish State with a bi-national democratic secular state. According to this view, the Jews will be forced into this situation because they will soon be in the minority because the Palestinian population is growing at a faster rate than that of the Jews.

One of Israel’s founding principles was that it should be a refuge and a national home for the Jewish people; all Jews throughout the world should have the “right of return”. In a bi-national democratic state where Israel was in the minority it would be impossible to maintain this principle, particularly where there would also be Palestinian pressure for the “right of return” to be extended to Palestinian refugees in neighboring Arab countries.

Tilley glosses over how such a state would be negotiated with the Palestinians and how the safety of Jews in such a state could be maintained.

“The Israeli Solution”

In response to Israel’s dilemma over its failure to negotiate a two-state solution and the apparent demographic time bomb confronting them, Caroline Glick has responded in 2014 with a book entitled, The Israeli Solution, which addresses the Simon Wiesenthal Centre’s concerns with the one-state solution. Caroline Glick is Deputy Managing Editor of the Jerusalem Post, Director of the Israeli Security Project at the David Horowitz Freedom Centre in Los Angeles and is a senior fellow for Middle Eastern Affairs at the Centre for Security Policy in Washington D.C. From 1994 to 1996, Glick was a core member of the Israeli team negotiating with the Palestinians.

According to Glick, the fear of the Palestinian population overwhelming the Jewish population is groundless and is based on fraudulent data provided by the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS). The 1997 Palestinian census conducted by the PCBS found that there were 2.86 million Palestinians living in Judea and Samaria and that by 2015 the number would grow to 5.81 million. In 2012, the Jewish population stood at 5.9 million (6.1 if ethnic Jews are included). At the time, neither the US government nor the Israeli government conducted an independent assessment of the 1997 census.

In 2005, however, an American by the name of Dan Zimmerman assembled a team of Israeli and American researchers, including academic experts in forecasting models, demographics and history. Members of the team called themselves the American-Israel Demographic Research Group (AIRDG) and pored over Palestinian census data. They compared it to Palestinian population data compiled each year by the civil administration from 1967 through to 1996, to Palestinian Ministry of Health data, to data published by the Palestinian Central Elections Commission ahead of the 1997 and 2005 elections and to immigration records. Their investigations revealed that the Palestinian population had been overstated by 50% or 1.34 million people. All told, the PCBS census claimed that the compound annual growth of the Palestinian population in Judea, Samaria and Gaza was 4.75%, the highest population growth in the world.

The falsified data had, over the years, put pressure on Israeli decision makers, particularly as they tried to negotiate a two-state agreement. Olmert, while he was prime minister said, “If the day comes when the two-state solution collapses and we face a South African-style struggle for equal rights (including the Palestinians in the territories) then as soon as that happens, the State of Israel is finished.” The population threat was part of the reason that Ariel Sharon completely withdrew from Gaza.

Glick argues that Israel should forget the failed policy of a two-state solution and apply Israeli law over Judea and Samaria in the same way that Israel has already done in the Golan Heights and East Jerusalem. She examines in considerable detail the likely effects of this policy economically and politically but believes that all of the effects are manageable and in the long term the benefits will out weigh the disadvantages of the status quo.

Biblical perspective

It is impossible to say exactly what will happen in the short term regarding the West Bank but as we have mentioned before in this series. Ezekiel 38:8 requires that Israel should maintain control over the mountains of Israel (or the West Bank) at the time when the Gogian confederacy invades Israel. Ezekiel 38 also mentions that at that time Israel shall be at rest (v11) and shall dwell safely (v8,11,14). This implies that there will be some resolution of the Israeli–Palestinian conflict.

If Israel should take over responsibility for the West Bank as Glick suggests, this would most probably end any further discussions about any part of Jerusalem being under the control of the Palestinians or even under international control as recommended by the UN Partition Plan for Palestine. This would no doubt in turn fuel a violent reaction from Europe, the Vatican and Russia in continued fulfilment of the prophecy of God to make “Jerusalem a burdensome stone” (Zech 12:3).

We look forward to the time when “the LORD shall be king over all the earth” and when there shall be true peace.