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Palestine: the bi-national state that can work

By David Singer - posted Thursday, 4 July 2013

It is a pity that US Secretary for State John Kerry still believes that a two-state solution is possible after 20 years of failed negotiations between Israel and the PLO to achieve such a result under the Oslo Accords and the Bush Roadmap.

While in Kuwait on26 June - Kerry called on IsraelandPLOto renew talksto advance such an outcomebefore it was too late:

The time is getting near where we need to make some judgments. Last time I was here, I said it's time for leaders to make some hard decisions.That stands. It is time. Why is it urgent? It's urgent because time is the enemy of a peace process.


This fatuous statement sounds very hollow when considering virtually the same pronouncement made in 2007 by Jordan's King Abdullah:

We have a finite amount of time. Physically, there may not be a chance for a future Palestinian state.This is why the urgency is now. Is the situation ideal? Far from it. But we have our backs against the wall and I believe that time is running out. Arabs and Muslimsrealised that this is our last chance. I think it is beginning to dawn on Israelis and Palestinians. They need to reach out to their brothers and sisters and say, 'We need to take one step back because if this continues we may lose our final opportunity.'

Rather than repeating these pointless prognostications of imminent doom - surely it would be better to examine alternatives to the failed two-state solution - which cannot possibly happen because of the entrenched positions of the protagonists to the 130 years old long running Jewish-Arab conflict.

One alternative proposed by the Arabs is the "bi-national State" - one in which the West Bank and Israel are merged into one territorial unit where all its citizens - Jews and Arabs - enjoy equal rights within the one State and rights of each national group are respected and protected.

Such a proposal was rejected this week by Israel's President - Shimon Peres:

Peace is a moral foundation of Judaism; it is an existential need of the Jewish state. A binational state contradicts the vision of Herzl; it endangers the Jewish and democratic state of Israel.


President Peres's rejection is understandable - given that it would signal the inevitable end of the Jewish National Home prescribed in 1922 by the Mandate for Palestine and preserved in 1945 by article 80 of the United Nations Charter.

Indeed it would mean a return to the pre-1948 days of violent confrontation between Arabs and Jews that had led to the Peel Commission in 1937 and the United Nations in 1947 recommending partition of Palestine into one Jewish State and one Arab state - proposals rejected on both occasions by the Arabs.

Anyone believing this proposal to restore the territorial status quo existing before 1948 can happen again in 2013 must have rocks in his head.

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About the Author

David Singer is an Australian Lawyer, a Foundation Member of the International Analyst Network and Convenor of Jordan is Palestine International - an organisation calling for sovereignty of the West Bank and Gaza to be allocated between Israel and Jordan as the two successor States to the Mandate for Palestine. Previous articles written by him can be found at

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All articles by David Singer

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

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