Israel’s Deputy Foreign Minister and former ambassador to the US Danny Ayalon discusses a one-state solution to the Israel-Palestinian conflict.
Is a one-state solution a serious idea, or just propaganda by the Palestinians?
It is an idea that has no serious backing from any responsible nation or international institution. The last time this idea was proposed was by Muammar Gadaffi, so we can see how serious and credible the idea is. Israel, the Palestinian Authority, the United Nations, the US, the EU and Russia have all adopted the two states solution as the only way to resolve our conflict.
What are the main reasons, if any, why a one-state solution would be a good idea?
It has no solid foundation in reality. If we look at the international climate of the late twentieth and early twenty-first century it is moving in the opposite direction. The break-down of the Soviet Union, the dissolution of Yugoslavia, the separation of the Czechs and the Slovaks all demonstrate that the international community is moving towards breaking down states into more homogenous entities based on national, ethnic or religious grounds and not forcing bi or multi-national states. If one looks at our region in particular, it is hard to find an example of a bi-national state that has not descended into bloodshed and conflict.
Is there a risk that the international community will adopt the concept of a one-state solution?
No, I don’t think so, we cannot turn back the clock. There are signed agreements and multiple understandings between the parties and the international community, and the two-states for two peoples solution will be the only outcome to our conflict.
In fact, my party, Yisrael Beiteinu, has long advocated a political separation where the Jews have the State of Israel and the Arabs a Palestinian state where the borders should be drawn (note I don’t use the term redrawn, as the “Green Line” at the Arab insistence was never a border) according to demographic realities, where no one is forced from their homes, or to put it another way, where geography meets demography. This is completely in keeping with international law and United Nations resolutions.
What should Israel do to thwart the adoption of a one-state solution by countries and organizations around the world?
Even before it was reestablished, Israel has accepted the premise of a two-state solution and for a few years now has agreed for two states for two people. Israel has always made very generous offers and compromises to make this a reality. However, on every single occasion, since 1937, the Arabs have unequivocally rejected this outcome.
Even now, the Israeli side is waiting at the negotiating table with no preconditions for the Palestinians to arrive, which for three years they have failed to do. If, as many Israelis suspect, the Palestinian leadership is unwilling or unable to end our conflict, then we should turn to the next best thing, and that is a long-term interim solution where Palestinians will enjoy greater sovereignty in exchange for Israeli security.