One Country, Two States

By

Leonard Zwelling

I owe this idea to the Beautiful Wife.

She is essentially proposing that Israel become like the United States. That would make it one country with two states: pre-1967 Israel would be one state. The second state would be all of the rest of that which was Palestine since 1918 and is now disputed, occupied, Arab or what ever you want to call it, but not including modern day Jordan. How about calling it the West Bank? Israel can be West Beach. The West Bank and West Beach would constitute the country of Israel. Tel Aviv would be the capital of West Beach. Ramallah would be the capital of West Bank. They would be like Austin and Albany. Jerusalem would be the capital of Israel, like Washington, DC here.

It is important to keep in mind that there is an Arab state in the land that was carved out of what was formerly Palestine. It’s called Jordan but it is not run by the traditional Sunni Arabs or even by Christians, but by the Hashemite descendants of King Hussein since 1946. As you remember, Jordan fought with Israel in 1948 over what became the West Bank. Jordan had it. In 1967 they lost it to Israel after having attacked Israel. The so-called Palestinians are the Arabs in the current West Bank and Jordan who warred with the Hashemites and were thrown out of Jordan in 1970. And here we are.

The latest maneuvers by the Trump Administration to move the American Embassy to Jerusalem, to break the nuclear deal with Iran, to declare the Revolutionary Guard a terrorist organization, and to recognize the Golan Heights as Israeli sovereign territory have just about crippled any chance for a two state solution where one state is Israel and one PLO-led Palestine. So why not get it over with?

Declare Arab Palestine a state of Israel and make it all one country with equal rights for everyone. Everyone gets to vote. Every one is in the parliament (The Knesset). There will need to be two leaders of the states (governors?), who do not report to the prime minister, but to the legislature as a whole. Each state will have to draw up a state constitution and can have its own governing bodies, just like Montana and South Dakota. Why the heck not? The down side is that Israel would be less Jewish, but more democratic. If you want both Jewish and democratic, a two country solution is required. Trump is undermining that.

The point recently made by Tom Freidman is that this American President has co-opted any chance for the lazy, corrupt and altogether useless Palestinian leadership to form a government or conduct reasonable business with the Israelis with the hope of becoming a separate country. It’s not going to happen.

I know, I know soon enough there would be a civil war like ours in 1861 if the West Bank and West Beach were the states of Israel. Let’s hope not. The reason it would not be is that it is in the Israelis’ best interest to see a successful state arise next door that is not hostile. After all, they would be countrymen with the Palestinians under this arrangement.

It would take a lot of negotiation to get to this point with the current leadership in both the West Bank and in Israel. But neither Abu Abbas nor Benjamin Netanyahu will live forever. Netanyahu may not even get first crack at forming a government after the April 9 elections. It’s that close. Perhaps the millennial generation in both places will come to its senses and see that it is everyone’s best interest to end this conflict that has been going on forever.

It took the Irish a long time to end the Troubles. Maybe the Arabs and the Israelis can end their strife by becoming one country. If you go there today, it is amazing how much cooperation there already is. It wouldn’t take much to make it official. Just vision and will.

Gaza is another story.

Leonard Zwelling