After fifteen years as the consensus solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, the two state solution is no longer the only game in town. The Sharon government is working towards the one-and-half-state solution of “unilateral disengagement”, in which Israel keeps most of the occupied Palestinian land but “disengages” from the Palestinian people who are to be confined by walls and fences to isolated islands on the parts of the Territories not annexed to Israel. At the other end of the spectrum, the idea of a one state solution is gaining supporters among Palestinians and Israelis.
In the current issue of Middle East Report, Gary Sussman of Tel Aviv University explains why the two state solution is losing popularity, and the one state solution is increasingly in vogue. He identifies who is backing the one state solution (and why), and describes the possible models a united Israel/Palestine could follow: whether it be a form of bi-national state in which two distinct peoples share power in confederation (the Northern Ireland solution), or a single, secular democracy which does not institutionally distinguish between citizens on the basis of religion or race (the post-apartheid South African model).
The Challenge to the Two-State Solution is an excellent, comprehensive survey of the possibilities for the one-state solution. Read the full article online here.