Academics call for ‘one state solution’ to Israel-Palestine conflict

Leading Israeli, Palestinian and Jewish academics yesterday called for a new approach to solving the decades old Israel-Palestine conflict. The proposed ‘one state’ solution would see Israeli and Palestinian territories organised under a central government, reminiscent of post-apartheid South Africa.

The speakers were attending a talk on the subject organised by the Irish Anti-War Movement in Dublin's Gresham hotel.

Dr Illan Pappe, an Israeli national and professor of history at the Univeristy of Exeter, discussed the inherent assumptions underlying the advocacy of a two state solution.

“The two state paradigm assumes we have a conflict between two national movements, so seperation seems natural," said Pappe. "That Israeli Jews support this is not surprising, but that Palestinians support is strange - it has as many holes as a good Swiss cheese.”

He stated that the "one state paradigm dictates that it is dealing with a settler colonialist movement, and seeks a post-colonoial solution - a solution that will allow the indigenous population accept the settler population”.
Pappe concluded: “We are told all the time that the solution is just around the corner. It has been around the corner for 40 years. There is no corner.” He also condemned the two state solution as a "diplomatic umbrella" that has allowed Israel to "kill thousands of people".

Richard Boyd-Barrett, chair of the Irish Anti-War Movement, supported Pappe's beliefs. “We feel an obligation to reject the idea that there is only one solution, that solution being the two state solution," said Boyd-Barrett. "[There is] a sense that other solutions are off limits, the products of extremists and idealouges."

He was also highly critical of the two state solution, saying that "a solution based on ethnic or religious segregation is obnoxious”.

John Rose, a British writer, lecturer and activist of Jewish descent, urged the crowd of roughly 200 to “not regard the United States as an honest broker, not even Barack Obama". 

Rose was dismissive of Obama's efforts to deal with the Israel-Palestine conflict. "President Obama has failed the test he set himself to demonstrate his seriousness as he has failed to stop the building of settlements. Netanyahu has said ‘we will go on stealing Arab houses’. Obama has walked away, and has done nothing."

“In the end, the United States would like Israel to be a bit less brazen," he said. "But it is more important for the United States to have this aggresive state [in the Middle East] than to engage in a peace process."

Dr. Ghada Kharmi of the University of Exeter also expressed disappointment at Obama's efforts so far, and alleged that a two state solution would ultimately lead to a punitive settlement and an emaciated Palestinian state. 

“A two state impossible," said Kharmi. "The settlement project looks permanent. If the two state solution proceeds, there is only one result. The West Bank will be linked to Jordan by a land corridor composed of territories that Israel does not want; Gaza will become autonomous or will be linked to Egypt; there will be a token Palestinian presence in Jerusalem and a token recognition of the right of return [for Palestinian refugees]. This is the only possible outcome of the two state solution. No international actors will take measures to remedy this."

Dr. Kharmi conlcuded by claiming that "a Jewish state based on injustice that practices injustice is dangerous and cannot exist. A unitary state is the only way forward”.

Criticism of passport controversy

Speakers also commented briefly on the recent scandal in Dubai, where Israel is believed to have ordered the murder of a senior Hamas official. The assassins, believed to be members of Israel's Mossad, used forged EU passports to gain access to the United Arab Emirates.

Boyd-Barrett described the “flagrant disregard of Israel for sovereign integrity” which was a “dramatic expression of the attitude of the Israeli state”.

Dr. Kharmi contended that “the passport scandal is yet another reminder of how dangerous Israel is”.