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A solution for the Israeli-Palestine conflict

By David Fisher - posted Thursday, 16 September 2010

There will eventually be one state in Israel-Palestine. There are at least two ways it can come about.

Some propose that breaking up Israel-Palestine into two states is a solution to the current conflict. That is one way to start the process that will end up in one state.

This has been tried in a similar case.


The split of independent India into India and Pakistan was the result of a large Muslim minority from India forming a new state. It resembles Israel-Palestine with Pakistan starting out as two separate enclaves much as the proposed Palestinian state is now divided into the West Bank and Gaza. A war between the two parts of Pakistan ended with East Pakistan becoming Bangladesh. A fanatical Hindu party, the BJP, is prominent in Indian politics and responsible for massacres of Muslims. Pakistan and India have fought four wars.

After or during separation, if it occurs, Israel will try to trade its Palestinian enclaves for keeping the settlements. If successful this will remove Israeli citizens who are not Jewish from their country. This is inadmissible ethnic cleansing. Palestine will resent the continuation of settlements as making legal what was illegal. International law does not allow permanent civilian settlements on territory acquired by war regardless of the circumstances that brought on the war. The new state of Palestine will be dominated by Islamists. No Jews will be allowed to settle there. Christians will be discriminated against and many of them will leave. This has already been happening under the Palestine authority on the West Bank and Hamas in Gaza.

Like Pakistan the new Palestinian state will be in two parts one under Hamas in Gaza and the other under the Palestinian authority on the West Bank. Like Pakistan they will be in conflict. They already are in conflict. Either they will split fragmenting an already tiny state or one will conquer the other leaving resentment and a restive population.

Israel will become more of a garrison state as it will feel threatened by this new neighbour which will be free to arm itself and allow sympathetic Arab armies to enter preparatory to attacking Israel. Palestine will probably become a fundamentalist theocracy. Palestinians will keep shooting rockets into Israel, and displaced settlers will agitate for a greater Israel. Extremists from both sides will commit terrorist acts.

Eventually full scale war will break out. Unlike India and Pakistan there will not be four wars. Neither state will be in condition to continue over four wars the way India and Pakistan have done. Either Israel will reoccupy the Palestinian state or Israel will disappear as Palestine and its Arab allies will win. If Israel reoccupies the Palestinian state we will be back where we are now. If Israel is wiped out it will be the end of a nation that has risen from the ashes of a people.

The above scenario may not be followed to the letter, but two states will create a situation more unstable than the present one. It may end in one state by a different route, but it will eventually end in one state. The area concerned is too small to contain two states at each other’s throats.


One cannot ignore the actual attitudes. There is hate, distrust and suspicion. With two states these attitudes will remain, fester and get worse. The stage will be set for more war. It will happen, and it will end in one oppressive state.

That might have happened in South Africa had the Afrikaaners and Zulus separated from the new South Africa. They were not allowed self-determination. As it was South Africa stayed together and is trying to change people’s attitudes.

There are a number of examples of partitions of one state into two in the post World War II world. North and South Korea, North and South Vietnam, East and West Germany and India and Pakistan are four examples of creating two states from one. None of them have brought peace, and there is no reason to think it will be different in Israel/Palestine. Of the four examples two have ended in reunification - in Vietnam after a long war - and the other two are in continuing conflict. India is a democratic, pluralistic society, and Pakistan is an authoritarian, Islamist society. North Korea is a totalitarian dictatorship, and South Korea is a democracy. The conflict is heightened by the disparate social systems in the two countries.

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About the Author

David Fisher is an old man fascinated by the ecological implications of language, sex and mathematics.

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