Pro/Con One State or Two States

  The below represents the two general reaction statements to the two state solution. They lack details and represent the general reactive position. It is from: Procon I invite reactions and comments.

 PRO Israel and/or CON Palestine Statements





 PRO Palestine and/or CON Israel Statements

1. Two-State Solution

PRO:“Well, there has emerged, over the course of the past ten years at least, a sense that the only way out of the situation in the Middle East is to establish a State of Palestine alongside Israel so that there will be an end of conflict. There is no other solution to end the conflict in reality.There is an international consensus about it as reflected by the so-called Road Map Quartet [the United States, the European Union, Russia and the United Nations], which is after all the whole world. You have the United States, you have Europe, you have the Russians and the United Nations, which is the whole world, and then there is the Arab League, which is twenty-two different states, and there is the previous Palestinian administration, and the Israeli administration, all of them committed to the two-state solution.”

Ziad J. Asali, MD
President and Founder of the American Task Force on Palestine
Interview with Bernard Gwertzman of the Council on Foreign Relations
June 2, 2006

CON:“The paradigm of the Two States will not bring about stability. No! . . . (The Two-State solution) is not relevant. Not relevant . . . (The Palestinian state) will undermine the State of Israel. From there, the confrontation will go on.The State of Israel is ready to give the Palestinians an independent Palestinian state, but the Palestinians are not ready to give us an independent Jewish state . . . Every agreement you make will be the starting point of the next irredenta. The next conflict. The next war.The establishment of a Palestinian state will lead at some stage to war. Such a war can be dangerous to the State of Israel. The idea that it is possible to set up a Palestinian state by 2008 and to achieve stability is disconnected from reality and dangerous.”


Moshe Yaalon
Lieutenant-General and former Chief-of-Staff of the Israel Defense Forces
Quoted by Uri Avnery in “The Bogyman”
May 3, 2005

2. One-State Solution

PRO: “The next diplomatic formula that will replace the ‘two states for two peoples’ will be a civilian formula. All the people between the Jordan and the sea have the same right to equality, justice and freedom.. [T]here is a very reasonable chance that there will be only one state between the Jordan and the sea – neither ours nor theirs but a mutual one. It is likely to be a country with nationalist, racist and religious discrimination and one that is patently not democratic… But it could be something entirely different. An entity with a common basis for at least three players: an ideological right that is prepared to examine its feasibility; a left, part of which is starting to free itself of the illusions of ‘Jewish and democratic’; and a not inconsiderable part of the Palestinian intelligentsia.The conceptual framework will be agreed upon – a democratic state that belongs to all of its citizens. The practicable substance could be fertile ground for arguments and creativity. This is an opportunity worth taking, despite our grand experience of missing every opportunity and accusing everyone else except ourselves.” CON: “Although the one-state approach proposes a united entity between the Jordan and the sea, in fact it represents King Solomon’s original proposal to cut the baby in half. In reality, one state means that Israelis and Palestinians each receive a mutilated and unsustainable version of its national dream. The Palestinians will never get the national self-determination they seek in a Jewish-dominated single state. Jews will achieve neither the democracy and inner harmony they seek (or ought to), nor legitimacy from the world, as long as they obstruct Palestinian rights to national self-expression in their single state – even before Jews become a minority.Finally, this conflict is tragically likely to ignite again over ‘some damn foolish thing in the settlements’ (with apologies to Bismark). A one-state solution not only fails to prevent settlements from ripping into Palestinian land and courting violence, it legitimizes expansion – since there is no border. Sadly, we all need one.”

About Donald Ellis

Professor Emeritus at the University of Hartford.

Posted on September 14, 2012, in Communication and Conflict Resolution, Israel and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Thanks for posting this interesting pro/con and inviting comments.

    One problem with this approach is that there appears (to me at least) to be a false binary here. In a very important way, the Pro and Con excerpts can be harmonized by readers wishing to do so, by saying that many if not most actors agree about the emergence of an independent state called Palestine alongside Israel, and the “con” argument might well agree as well, as long as the Palestinian state was prepared to recognize Israel as a Jewish State and to live in peace and harmony. In fact, the “two state solution” as usually articulated at least includes the peace and harmony idea, and it might be said that this argument for or against the “two states” boils down not to whether there should be a State of Palestine but whether the issues raised by the “con” side can be solved, and whether the “two state solution” can solve them.

    In my humble opinion, the nomenclature may be part of the problem rather than part of the solution of the problem. It seems to me that we should distinguish between a “two state result” and a “two state solution.” I think there is sufficient evidence to suggest that the mere creation of a sovereign state does not alone solve all the problems it was meant to” solve. One must only look at such entities as the Weimar Republic or post-colonial states or Southern Sudan or Israel as the solution of the Jewish Problem as envisioned by Herzl. The “Two State Result” or some other nomenclature which implies that a “solution” is not automatically implied strikes me as the better approach.

    As for the false binary: it’s false because this debate is between slogans or broad ideas–not really an “up or down” between specific propositions. Menachem Kellner used to talk about the great distinction between “belief in” and “belief that” and this debate often seems to me to have the problems attendant to the “belief in” paradigm.

    To conclude: I am not sure that the arguments pro and con for “a two state solution” or “a one state solution” are really ever put forward as binary choices about one or another very specific plan, rather than tests of belief in a concept. Moreover, there have been many years of discussing all sorts of two state solutions and plans, perhaps this suggests that a “two state result” may be the outcome–rather than the solution–and this indeed may be part of the problem.

%d bloggers like this: