T. Klug: ‘Unitary state’ is unfeasible & implausible

T. Klug: ‘Unitary state’ is unfeasible & implausible

Tony Klug is a British-Jewish researcher and writer on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.  I’ve noticed that he often writes for Tikkun, a venue that I’ve also been contributing to of late.  Sometimes I disagree with him on nuance or tone, but not with this article in “Open Democracy,” based on a talk he gave at the Israel Society of the London School of Economics:

The two-state solution: where next?
… in my view, there is a fundamental flaw at the heart of [a one-state] proposal, for it is predicated on the notion that what, at root, is a historical clash of two national movements can, hey presto, be turned into a struggle for civil rights.
… [But] it is not possible to resolve this conflict without satisfying the common, minimum, irreducible aspirations of both peoples for self-determination in at least part of the land that each has regarded as its own. … In other words, a unitary state is not just unfeasible but implausible. …

So, if the one-unitary-state idea fails the plausibility test, how does the two-state idea fare with the feasibility test? I would say less-and-less well, day-by-day. The principal obstacle is that the state that already has its independence has for years been chiselling away at the territory of the putative other, bit-by-bit eroding the practicability of the only solution that has ever made sense. …
When I first advocated two states in the early 1970s in a Young Fabian pamphlet, ‘A Tale of Two Peoples’, there were fewer than 5,000 Israeli settlers in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Today there are in excess of 500,000…. To paraphrase, this project must be one of the longest state-suicide notes in history. …

Klug’s conclusion:

… Israel now faces a stark choice: freeze all further settlement growth in preparation for swift and focused negotiations based on the pre-June 1967 boundaries with equitable land swaps, or prepare for permanent conflict and indefinite pariah status – not quite what its founders had in mind! I suspect their advice, at this point in time, would be to follow the biblical injunction to ‘seek peace and pursue it’.

This argument is fleshed out further online.

By | 2011-11-23T16:48:00-05:00 November 23rd, 2011|Blog|0 Comments

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