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The debate over the issue has become so lively that in November an International Herald Tribune editorial was moved to comment that a shared state’s code for the end of Israel and must be strenuously opposed.
Such sentiments would be widely shared by Zionists. Many prominent Palestinians are also unhappy with the idea, but this is not reason enough to dismiss it. The two-state solution is neither feasible nor desirable.
Israel’s progressive colonisation of Palestinian land has made a Palestinian state impossible. A glance at the map of the West Bank, with its colonies, bypass roads and separation wall, affirms this reality.
The West Bank now houses 400,000 Jewish settlers (excluding the 200,000 Israelis in East Jerusalem), and 80 per cent of its water has been siphoned off to Israel. When the wall is completed about 40 per cent of the land will be left in uncontiguous parts incapable of being formed into a state. Awareness of these facts has prompted calls from Europe and the US for Israel to remove the settlements and abandon the wall – so far to no avail.
Israeli colonisation of Palestinian land has been pursued relentlessly by every Israeli government since 1967, and has defied every effort to create a Palestinian state. It is no wonder that increasing numbers of Palestinians – and some Israelis – are starting to reconsider the one-state option.
Some Israelis are beginning to fear for the moral and existential future of the Jewish state. Most are Zionists who argue that Israeli society is corrupted by oppressing another people, and that hatred of Israel may one day lead to its destruction – its victims will not always be so weak.
They now speak of a bi-national state, with Arabs and Jews sharing the same land. Though this would limit Zionist territorial ambitions, it would help preserve a Jewish homeland. For Palestinians who see no logistical possibility of a separate Palestinian state, such a solution also provides a base for Palestinian self-determination and nationhood.
Even if it was logistically possible, a two-state solution would involve an inequitable division of the land (the occupied territories comprise 22 per cent of original Palestine) and could not accommodate all the refugees claiming a right to return.
Supporters of the Zionist project need to understand that Zionism was an idea forced on the Palestinians. Israel was created on Palestinian land, at the Palestinians’ expense – for reasons that have nothing to do with them. Hence, the survival of Israel as a Jewish state is not the problem of the Palestinians but of those who supported the Zionist project.
The Palestinian goals of regaining their lost land, repatriating their refugees and building a normal society cannot be realised while Israel, as a Zionist, exclusivist state, remains.
The only humane, just and practical outcome is sharing the land between the Israelis and Palestinians already there, and allowing those who were displaced to return. I would argue for a secular, democratic state on the model of the Western liberal democracies.
Numerous objections will be raised, most of which boil down to current realpolitik. Israelis will resist the dismantling of their dreams, and the balance of power favours them. But the moral force of this solution remains and, like all issues of principle, will outlive the vagaries and shifts of politics and history. To abandon it because it is too difficult to implement today is to cede victory even before battle begins.Dr Ghada Karmi is a research fellow at the University of Exeter and the author of In Search of Fatima: a Palestinian memoir (Verso). She is currently working on a book about the one-state solution scheduled for publication next summer.
The Spanish state is seizing ballot papers and raiding meetings, write Ignasi Bernat and David Whyte – but it is being met with united resistance
The crunch executive meeting ahead of Labour conference agreed some welcome changes, writes Michael Calderbank, but there is still much further to go
Dipesh Pandya speaks to documentary film-maker Sanjay Kak, who for 30 years has been working outside the mainstream to tell a story rooted in the struggles of those excluded by India’s militarism and its narrative of neoliberal growth
Jeremy Gilbert on how radical Labour politics can be inspired by the utopianism of the counterculture
Disasters have unequal impacts – it's the poor and marginalised who suffer most. David Harvey writes on Hurricane Harvey
Survivors of the fire are still relying on thousands of community volunteers, writes Dan Renwick - but the failed council is plotting a comeback
What if it's not us who are sick, asks Rod Tweedy, but a system at odds with who we are as social beings?
The people could reach a democratic and non-violent solution if they were freed from US meddling, argues Boaventura de Sousa Santos
A decade after the start of the crash, economic power is in our hands – we must take it, writes Ann Pettifor
Flooding the cradle of civilisation: A 12,000 year old town in Kurdistan battles for survival
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New model activism: Putting Labour in office and the people in power
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What is ‘free movement plus’?
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The World Transformed: Red Pepper’s pick of the festival
Red Pepper is proud to be part of organising The World Transformed, in Brighton from 23-26 September. Here are our highlights from the programme
Working class theatre: Save Our Steel takes the stage
A new play inspired by Port Talbot’s ‘Save Our Steel’ campaign asks questions about the working class leaders of today. Adam Johannes talks to co-director Rhiannon White about the project, the people and the politics behind it
The dawn of commons politics
As supporters of the new 'commons politics' win office in a variety of European cities, Stacco Troncoso and Ann Marie Utratel chart where this movement came from – and where it may be going
A very social economist
Hilary Wainwright says the ideas of Robin Murray, who died in June, offer a practical alternative to neoliberalism
Art the Arms Fair: making art not war
Amy Corcoran on organising artistic resistance to the weapons dealers’ London showcase
Beware the automated landlord
Tenants of the automated landlord are effectively paying two rents: one in money, the other in information for data harvesting, writes Desiree Fields
Black Journalism Fund – Open Editorial Meeting
3-5pm Saturday 23rd September at The World Transformed in Brighton
Immigration detention: How the government is breaking its own rules
Detention is being used to punish ex-prisoners all over again, writes Annahita Moradi
A better way to regenerate a community
Gilbert Jassey describes a pioneering project that is bringing migrants and local people together to repopulate a village in rural Spain
Fast food workers stand up for themselves and #McStrike – we’re loving it!
McDonald's workers are striking for the first time ever in Britain, reports Michael Calderbank
Two years of broken promises: how the UK has failed refugees
Stefan Schmid investigates the ways Syrian refugees have been treated since the media spotlight faded
West Papua’s silent genocide
The brutal occupation of West Papua is under-reported - but UK and US corporations are profiting from the violence, write Eliza Egret and Tom Anderson
Activate, the new ‘Tory Momentum’, is 100% astroturf
The Conservatives’ effort at a grassroots youth movement is embarrassingly inept, writes Samantha Stevens
Peer-to-peer production and the partner state
Michel Bauwens and Vasilis Kostakis argue that we need to move to a commons-centric society – with a state fit for the digital age
Imagining a future free of oppression
Writer, artist and organiser Ama Josephine Budge says holding on to our imagination of tomorrow helps create a different understanding today
The ‘alt-right’ is an unstable coalition – with one thing holding it together
Mike Isaacson argues that efforts to define the alt-right are in danger of missing its central component: eugenics
Fighting for Peace: the battles that inspired generations of anti-war campaigners
Now the threat of nuclear war looms nearer again, we share the experience of eighty-year-old activist Ernest Rodker, whose work is displayed at The Imperial War Museum. With Jane Shallice and Jenny Nelson he discussed a recent history of the anti-war movement.
Put public purpose at the heart of government
Victoria Chick stresses the need to restore the public good to economic decision-making
Don’t let the world’s biggest arms fair turn 20
Eliza Egret talks to activists involved in almost two decades of protest against London’s DSEI arms show
The new municipalism is part of a proud radical history
Molly Conisbee reflects on the history of citizens taking collective control of local services
With the rise of Corbyn, is there still a place for the Green Party?
Former Green principal speaker Derek Wall says the party may struggle in the battle for votes, but can still be important in the battle of ideas
Fearless Cities: the new urban movements
A wave of new municipalist movements has been experimenting with how to take – and transform – power in cities large and small. Bertie Russell and Oscar Reyes report on the growing success of radical urban politics around the world
A musical fightback against school arts cuts
Elliot Clay on why his new musical turns the spotlight on the damage austerity has done to arts education, through the story of one school band's battle
Neoliberalism: the break-up tour
Sarah Woods and Andrew Simms ask why, given the trail of destruction it has left, we are still dancing to the neoliberal tune
Cat Smith MP: ‘Jeremy Corbyn has authenticity. You can’t fake that’
Cat Smith, shadow minister for voter engagement and youth affairs and one of the original parliamentary backers of Corbyn’s leadership, speaks to Ashish Ghadiali
To stop the BBC interviewing climate deniers, we need to make climate change less boring
To stop cranks like Lord Lawson getting airtime, we need to provoke more interesting debates around climate change than whether it's real or not, writes Leo Barasi
Tory Glastonbury? Money can’t buy you cultural relevance
Adam Peggs on why the left has more fun