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Khaled Abu Toameh: The Practical Three-State Solution


Tzipi Livni, Israel's de facto 'peace process minister,' with former PA negotiator Ahmed Qureia in July 2010

Tzipi Livni, Israel's de facto 'peace process minister,' with former PA negotiator Ahmed Qureia in July 2010
Photo Credit: Kobi Gideon/Flash90

Ahmed Qurei [aka: Abu Ala], one of the major architects of the failed Oslo Accords that were signed between Israel and the PLO in 1993, is now advocating a “one-state solution” for Jews and Arabs. According to Qurei, the “two-state solution” is no longer realistic and should therefore be abandoned in favor of a democratic and open country where all Jews and Arabs live together under one government.

Of course Qurei blames Israel for the failure of the two-state concept because of construction in West Bank settlements and Jewish neighborhood in Jerusalem. He says that in light of the new facts on the ground that Israel has created, especially over the past two decades, the two-state solution, which he once strongly supported, has become infeasible.

However, the idea of creating one state for Israelis and Palestinians is also infeasible, not to mention unrealisitic.

A majority of both Palestinians and Israelis, according to public opinion polls, are opposed to the idea.

The last thing Israel wants is to turn millions of Palestinians living in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and refugee camps in the Arab world into Israeli citizens. For Israelis, that would mean the end of Israel as a homeland for Jews.

Most Palestinians are also opposed to the “one state solution”: they want to be separated from, and not integrated into, Israel. For decades, the Palestinians have been struggling for independence,

The Palestinian Authority leadership in the West Bank has repeatedly come out against the idea of “one state for two peoples.” Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has emphasized again and again in the last few years that the “two-state solution” remains the “number one, two and three and only option” for the Palestinians.

Yet despite the massive opposition on both sides, a few Israelis and Palestinians have launched a campaign to promote the the establishment of one state. The campaign, according to Palestinian sources, is organized by some EU-funded non-governmental organizations in Israel and the Palestinian territories.

In the past few weeks, large, expensive-looking posters advocating the “one-state solution” have been appearing on billboards in major Palestinian cities in the West Bank, drawing sharp condemnations from many Palestinians. On instructions from the Palestinian leadership, the posters were torn down and the organizers were rebuked and warned not to repeat the “provocation.”

Qurei and those who are working to promote the “one-state solution” are ignoring the facts on the ground: namely that the Palestinians already have two separate “states” next to Israel – one in the West Bank and the other in the Gaza Strip.

They are also ignoring the reality that the two Palestinian entities have been at war with each other since 2007, when Hamas seized control over the Gaza Strip and threw out the Palestinian Authority.

If the Palestinians cannot live together in peace in one country, how can they be expected to live in peace with Jews in one state?

The three-state solution is, for now, the only, and best, option on the table. The two-state solution should be put on hold until the Palestinians reunite and start speaking in one voice. Meanwhile, those who are trying to promote a one-state solution are just wasting their time and the time of most Israelis and Palestinians.

 

Originally published by Gatestone Institute http://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/

About the Author: Khaled Abu Toameh, an Arab Muslim, is a veteran award-winning journalist who has been covering Palestinian affairs for nearly three decades.


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