Those gosh-darn liberal, anti-Israel, anti-Semitic, Palestinian-loving Likkudniks.
In aÂ bizarreÂ turn of events, members of the Israeli right-wing are now endorsing an answer to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that was once the purview of the Israeli far left and the intellectual circles of Europe and the US: the one-state solution.Â An article in the JTA reported today that Knesset speaker Reuven Rivlin and new MK Tzipi Hotovely, among others, are pushing for Israel to annex the West Bank, giving full citizenship and rights to the Palestinians there:
“The single state they envision includes only Israel and the West Bank — an area of about 5.8 million Jews and 3.8 million Arabs. Without Gaza’s estimated 1.5 million Palestinians, the Jews would constitute a 60 percent majority in that territory — enough to preserve an enlarged Israel as a Jewish majority state for the foreseeable future.
As these proponents see it, there are several advantages to this solution: The settler movement would be able to keep intact its West Bank settlements; Israel would not have to withdraw from territory and expose itself to the sort of rocket fire it has seen from Gaza; and the international community would not be able to paint Israel as an apartheid state… perhaps putting Israel out of its international isolation in a single stroke.”
In a sense, I respect these people for understanding that if they want some kind of Greater Israel, this is what they’re going to get–something that Menachem Begin understood when he suggested annexation at the end of the Six Day War. And annexation would at least give civic rights to the Palestinians in the West Bank, something they’ve never had.
In every other sense, this is a bad idea. In Israel itself, the population will never accept this. The right wing (really anyone but the far left there) will run away from anythingÂ resemblingÂ a one-state solution, and the left wing will not support a policy of annexing the West Bank and the settlements. Furthermore, this is a shortsighted policy on theÂ partÂ of its proponents if they mean to preserve Jewish sovereignty: while Jews would constitute a 20% majority in the area in 2010, demographic trends indicate that the Palestinian population would outnumber the Jewish population in a matter of decades. I know that “a matter of decades” is a long time in the scope of Israeli history, but it’s still something of which these MK’s should be conscious.
Most importantly, the Palestinians and the international community will never support this policy. This may have been possible in 1967, but the narrative of Palestinian statehood and sovereignty, not to mention suffering at the hands of Israel, has gained far too much traction for anyone to accept the absorption of the West Bank into the Jewish state. When Israel annexed East Jerusalem in 1980, no one recognized it, and I doubt they would recognize this. The Palestinians, who have been inundated with propaganda depicting the Zionists as the sworn enemy–and many of whom have experienced pain directly from Israeli policy–would never accept citizenship in Israel. The policy also ignores Gaza, a place that most West Bank Palestinians consider to be connected to their home.
So while the idea is an interesting one, and while it unites, in a way, the post-Zionists with the right-wing hawks–it should not, and probably will not, go anywhere.