The Muslim Times Presenting Some Food for Thought for One State Solution

Epigraph:

So show your love for the stranger or foreigner, for you were foreigner in the land of Egypt. (Deuteronomy 10:19)

dome_of_the_rock__temple_mount_02

Dome of the rock. First built in 688–692, expanded 820s, restored 1020s, 1545–1566, 1721/2, 1817, 1874/5, 1959–1962 and 1993. It is on the Temple mount, which is 35 acres in size, enough space for the Jews, the Muslims and the Christians to pray to our shared God of peace and harmony. See all the trees around the Dome of the rock that is the space I am talking about

Written and collected by Zia H Shah MD, Chief Editor of the Muslim Times

With the two state solution losing traction, at least in the US and Israel governments, is there a possible one state solution?

If every Palestinian in the occupied territories is given equal rights by incorporating the West Bank and Gaza into Israel, the country would become an Arab majority country and lose its Jewish character, a reality not acceptable to most of the Jewish citizens of Israel.

As he stood on the podium next to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, U.S. President Donald Trump said he was open to new ideas that would bring Middle East peace. With that, he opened the door to a whole new maze of complexity and risk.

By uttering the phrase “one-state” – rather than a two-state solution to the conflict, the bedrock of international diplomacy for two decades – he went where past presidents and most leaders feared to tread, knowing the loaded implications.

The creation of a binational or single state that encompasses both Israel and Palestinian territories is not a viable option for most Israelis and Palestinians for religious, political and demographic reasons.

“So I’m looking at two-state and one-state, and I like the one that both parties like,” Trump said with an almost offhand air, emphasizing that for him the main aim was “to see a deal.”

“I’m very happy with the one that both parties like. I can live with either one.”

Reuters news agency reported that Israel’s central bureau of statistics released new population figures in 2015, as it does every year before the Jewish holidays, showing that the number of people in Israel has risen 1.9 percent in the past 12 months to 8.4 million.

Israeli newspapers were full of upbeat headlines about the 168,000 babies born and a 35 percent increase in Jewish immigration, particularly from France, Russia and Ukraine.

But behind the figures lie profound questions about demography and Israel’s ability to remain democratic and Jewish, as set out in its declaration of independence.

The numbers show that while 74.9 percent of Israel’s population is Jewish (6.3 million people), 20.7 percent (1.75 million) are Arab, both Muslims and Christians, made up of Palestinians who remained in Israel after its founding in 1948. The remainder are mostly non-Arab Christians.

This leaves Jews with a clear demographic edge, even if Arab population growth is slightly higher.

But the picture gets complicated when Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem is taken into account, as well as its relationship with Gaza, which was occupied until 2005 and remains tightly controlled.

The Palestinian population of the West Bank and East Jerusalem was 2.79 million in 2014, according to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics. In Gaza, it was 1.76 million. That gives a total of 4.55 million in the areas that the Palestinians seek for their own independent state.

Coupled with the 1.75 million Arabs in Israel, that is 6.3 million people of Palestinian origin in Israel and the Palestinian territories – the same number as there are Jews. Given that the Palestinian figures are a year old, the number of Arabs may well already exceed that of Jews.

So, here is the Muslim Times proposed solution to this mind boggling dilemma.

The secret to make one state solution a success may lie in the example of the Declaration of Independence in USA from July 4, 1776 that has brought all Americans together over the last 240 years. If Israel’s constitution defines some characteristics of it being a Jewish state that are pleasing to the majority of the Jews and also defines reasonable rights for the Arabs and Palestinians that it is a step up for them, may be enough of them will buy into it.

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America from July 4, 1776 read:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

When the Declaration said that we hold these truths to be self-evident,  ‘that all men are created equal,’ it was not immediately and precisely true, blacks and women did not have the rights to vote, for a long time to follow, but, it did set a high and an agreeable ideal, which gradually became a reality over decades and centuries. The ideals may not be perfectly true in practical life, even today, if you ask any of citizens who belong to the minority of being African American, Hispanics or Asian Americans, yet there is enough momentum in the positive direction, so that almost every one can buy into the Declaration and the eventual constitution that flowed from it.

If the new Israel constitution cannot be changed without 60-70% support in the Knesset (legislating body) in future, in this way those with strong Jewish sentiments can feel reassured about the future and can also become resigned to the possibility that if the support of their ideas erodes in future, their future generations will find peace and hope in the new realities and it will be a source of prosperity for every one in the holy land, whether a Jew, a Christian, a Muslim, an agnostic or an atheist.

Once such an agreed upon document is created, all Jews and Arabs within the present Israel territories, who are already citizens, will have voting rights and those in the occupied territory, who will sign onto this document, will begin to get voting and additional rights as defined in the constitution, for the citizens.

Those Palestinians in the occupied territories who do not sign on will have some basic rights, like the green card holders in USA, but if they sign on their situation becomes significantly better, as they become citizens.

Gradually, more and more Palestinians will sign on and we will have a peaceful one state solution. The state of Israel will provide security and peace for citizens as well as those, who will have a status equivalent to green card holders, with an easy pass to citizenship, by signing the new constitution of Israel.

Suggested Reading to find a suitable one state solution by understanding Judaism and Islam better

True Fasting: A Message of Compassion and Love from the Old Testament

Jewish Perspective on the Rights of Neighbors

Book Review: Shlomo Sand: ‘I wish to resign and cease considering myself a Jew’

The Muslim Times’ Collection to Show, Islam or the Holy Quran are Not Anti-Semitic

Why Did Muhammad Fly to Jerusalem?

Two Hundred Verses about Compassionate Living in the Quran

As a young Jew, the news coming out of Israel makes me feel hopeless about ending the Occupation

Influence of Arabic and Islamic Philosophy on Judaic Thought

According to the Qur’an, Can Jews and Christians ‘Partake in the Blessings of Heaven and Earth?’

Jewish-Palestinian author embodies conflicting identities

The Rights of Neighbors in the light of the sayings of the Holy Prophet Muhammad

Categories: Highlight, Israel, Palestine, The Muslim Times

Tagged as:

1 reply

  1. The name of the game since the early 20th century for the Zionist movement is to have a Jewish state. Having a Jewish state with a majority of non-Jews cannot exist in a democratic society. Such a state can only exist as an autocratic society. Giving non-Jews equal citizen rights with Jews would immediately transform Israeli society into any other Western nation.

    This is utterly unacceptable to the zionist leadership and indeed, to the majority of Israelis and Jews living around the world.

    1947 saw the beginning of an ethnic cleansing operation by Zionist paramilitary forces, that resulted in the ejection of around 750,000 Palestinians from their homes and the destruction of around 500 villages. Since then we have seen land-grabbing in the 1967 war, and with settlements thereafter. To imagine that the zionist leadership has any desire whatsoever to reverse an ethnic cleansing operation that has existed for 70 years by giving Palestinians equal rights in a single state is entirely unrealistic, to put it mildly.

    Much more likely is that this announcement of the one state precedes the planned annexation of the West Bank. To do so will require the formal dismantlement of the notion of Palestinian statehood (as if it is not in tatters already). The Israeli government will likely give the Palestinians a temporary national identity cards for a year, fail to renew them, then boot them out the country, taking the land in one fell swoop.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s