Friday, December 13, 2013

While a One State solution has its problems, the Two State solution would be a disaster for Israel’s survival

Josh Hasten
The entire 30 minute fascinating lecture (in English) was videotaped and can be found by clicking on the link at the bottom of the article.

In regard to ‘The One State Solution’ “the bottom line,” according to comments made by Professor Eugene Kontorovich, Professor at the Northwestern University School of Law and a Senior Fellow at the Kohelet Policy Forum  is that “while a One State solution has its problems, the Two State solution would be  a disaster for Israel’s survival”

He says that “their singular demand is not just for an independent state, but a state without any Jews”. This type of demand which calls for the establishment of a State ethnically cleansed of a certain group of people “has never been made in any context anywhere else around the world.”

Kontorovich who made Aliyah this past summer with his family from Chicago, shared his thoughts on Jewish sovereignty over Judea and Samaria in front of a crowd of 150 people at a December 6, 2013 talk titled “Who is afraid of the One State Solution,” as part of the Friday Morning Lecture Series, organized by the Women in Green Organization. The weekly lectures are held at the refurbished Shdema Military Base located atop a strategic junction overlooking the road between Jerusalem and Gush Etzion.
Kontorovich opened his remarks by stating that while “most Israelis now realize that the notion of ‘land for peace’ has almost disappeared,” certain Israeli leaders and Obama administration officials are capitulating to Palestinian threats that if Israel doesn’t give into Palestinian demands, “they [the Arabs] will impose a One State Solution,” which [they threaten] will eliminate the Jewish majority in the Land of Israel.
“This is the argument that Minister [Tzipi] Livni, and [President] Obama make,” said Kontorovich. “They are saying that you have to do this [make land concessions to the Palestinians], and if not they will demand to become citizens of the state of Israel, and that is a disaster. This helps explain why the Palestinian demands are so great.”
Kontorovich says that the One State Solution threat is being exploited by the Arabs “as if it was a nuclear bomb or if guns were being held to our heads. Those who believe [in the threat] are willing to give more, and the greater the extent to which Israeli leaders are willing to make concessions, the demands [of the Arabs] will only increase.”
Kontorovich says that he believes that while many of those who are in favor of the Two-State Solution are sincerely afraid of the One State Solution based on the argument of demographics – that one day there will be more Arabs than Jews in Israel, he says that in reality it is “the Palestinians who should be afraid of the One State Solution since while for us [Israel] it will be costly, for the Palestinians it would be a disaster, an impossibility” which is the reason they haven’t tried to implement it, despite “threatening this forever.”
Perhaps suggests Kontorovich “while we [Israelis] are told they [the Arabs] have this Ninjutsu move which is dangerous for us,” they haven’t used it because “that move is not such dynamite as it would seem.”
He elaborates that “the notion that the Palestinians would embrace a One State Solution is based on the myth that we are ruling over them and subjecting them to our will. If that were the case, then surely for them being a minority in a democratic Israel would be acceptable. But in reality, they have their own government, and they have a (sort of) democratically elected leadership – with a seat at the UN, diplomatic immunity, television stations, banks, their own civil service, etc. And they receive billions from the EU (European Union) in financial aid to support them, so for them [to embrace a One State Solution] they would go from being 100% decision makers down to 40% [based on their new demographic reality being citizens of the State of

“Most importantly,” says Kontorovich, “The PA leaders would go from being leaders of a ‘country’ flying around the world, handshaking at the EU… to Abbas being like the Mayor of Ramallah, with only 40,000 people under him.” In other words, their power and governance would actually be reduced, and that is why they have not demanded the One State Solution, and want to maintain the status quo.
Israel however says Kontorovich approaches the issue backwards, letting itself be threatened with something that is worse for them than it is for us.
Instead, Kontorovich recommends “we [Israel] should be using the threat of implementing a One State Solution as diplomatic leverage – as a credible strategy, because the terms of the deal would be a lot better if we don’t think [and act] that we have a gun to our heads. We should say “if you don’t give us what we want, we’ll give you the One State Solution," and our bargaining range increases.
He says that turning the One State threat around is a good idea “whether one likes the idea of a One State Solution or not”.
In a one-state solution, Palestinian citizens would presumably vote in Israeli elections and participate in national decisions. But what is less discussed is that the Jewish majority would also decide major issues in Palestinian life, as the majority does for all citizens - school curriculum, army service, and so forth. The Palestinians might soon prefer a formalization of the status quo, where the govern their affairs without Israeli legislative control, and themselves not vote in national elections.
There are certainly precedents for such permanent autonomy arrangements, Kontorovich points out. The US has several non-state territories, including Puerto Rico - an ambiguous entity under US sovereignty whose residents are citizens but do not  vote in elections for the federal government. (In compensation for not voting, they have various special tax breaks.) Other territories with similar status says Kontorovich, include the US Virgin Islands, Guam, and Samoa as well as UK controlled territories such as the Cayman Islands and Gibraltar.
While in 2012, a referendum was held in Puerto Rico in which 54% of its residents indicated that they did not want to continue as a non-state colony under US control, those demands were ignored by the international community including the US.

He concluded his remarks by suggesting that Israel must implement certain electoral reforms if a One-State Solution were to be implemented thereby causing the country’s Arab population to rise to 40%.Those reforms include absentee ballet voting, the elimination of proportional representation and implementation of geographic representation, which would lead to a system by which elected officials would be held accountable by their voting constituencies.
During the question and answer session Kontorovich admitted that while a One State solution has its problems, the Two State solution would be a disaster for Israel. Rockets would be flying from the Palestinian State aimed at Tel Aviv, Jews with foreign visas would be fleeing en masse.

More on Prof. Kontorovich’s talk will be posted in the Sovereignty Journal issue number 2 to be published very soon please G-d.

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