The One State Solution
by Dan Juster, Director, Tikkun Ministries International

In early December, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called for new elections to be held on March 17. He could no longer tolerate the behavior of his parliamentary coalition partners. Those on the right criticized him for yielding to the Palestinians. Those on the left criticized him for not yielding to gain peace with the Palestinians. Even Netanyahu's closest allied partner in this government, Avigdor Lieberman, was very critical of his Gaza war policy. There is no other country I know of where the cabinet ministers publicly criticize the head of government! Ah, the uniqueness of Israel.

Evaluating Netanyahu

Without going into the details, I think the Prime Minister was correct in his policy during the latest round of combat in Gaza, to defeat Hamas but not to re-conquer and govern Gaza. However, there are also urgent unsolved social problems in Israel, especially the price of housing and welfare costs for the ultra Orthodox (many of whom are given taxpayer money to study and not work). These issues cause great division within Israeli society. I think the Prime Minister has been weak on dealing with these issues. His call for elections will probably not produce a better coalition, even if he wins, which now seems to be in question. Public opinion, admittedly a very fickle indicator of the actual outcome, seems to have swung away from Netanyahu since the election announcement.

Views on the Issue of the Palestinian State Debated Today

Former ministers in Netanyahu's coalition, Tzipi Livni and Yair Lapid, support a two state solution - a Palestinian State formed from Judea and Samaria, next to a smaller Jewish state. Other former coalition ministers are calling for different ways forward with the Palestinians. The Modern Orthodox nationalists under Naftali Bennett are calling for annexing large parts of the West Bank while giving the Palestinians greater autonomy in local government. Avigdor Lieberman is proposing a two state solution that includes land swaps, giving some Arab villages on the border to the new Palestinian state in exchange for the retention of the larger blocks of Israeli settlement such as Ma'alei Adumim. This last proposal has been very controversial.

What of Jerusalem? It is interesting to note that the world somehow considers East Jerusalem as belonging to the Palestinians. There is no good reason for this since the Jewish people were historically settled in East Jerusalem. Such institutions as the synagogues of the Old City, the Hebrew University and Hadassah Hospital - both on Mt. Scopus - were established well before the '48 War when the Jewish areas were forcefully evacuated due to advances of the Jordanian army. The U. N. partition plan envisioned an internationalization of the city with the Jewish areas of East Jerusalem not being evacuated! Now since 1967, these areas have been resettled by Jewish people. Dividing Jerusalem, as well as the rest of the Land that now includes large Jewish towns, seems impossible. The evacuation from Gush Katif (northern Gaza) ten years ago - a much smaller number of people and land area - created significant emotional and physical trauma within Israeli society that is still unresolved today.

The Call for a One State Solution

There is also a growing movement for a new one state solution promoted by conservative author and former government official Carolyn Glick. It is described in her book, The Israeli Solution: A One-State Plan for Peace in the Middle East, published in March last year and widely available on-line. I think it is good for our readers to know her arguments, especially since the leading Messianic Jew who works in the field of human rights is supporting her position. So here is the argument.

  1. The population of the Palestinians on the West Bank is not nearly as high as claimed. The true numbers are such that without Gaza in the picture, they could be given citizenship in one state. The refugees who are not in the land of Israel from the 1948 war would have to be settled elsewhere except for very limited family reunion possibilities.

  2. Only by having one state can the Arab educational system, currently using international funds to teach intolerance and hatred, be brought under control, to end incitement and to promote harmony.

  3. In a one state solution like this, the Jewish population would still be two thirds of the total. The statistics of population growth now favor the Jewish people, both due to aliyah and by the number of children born to Jewish couples in Israel, which is more than 3 per couple.

  4. The Arab/Palestinians would be offered full citizenship in return for support of the state. They would also then have freedom of movement to live in any Israeli city.

  5. This would greatly improve the economic and social condition of the Arabs in the Land.

  6. Gaza would be released to Egypt or to independence as a city state.

  7. By unifying police and security throughout the one newly expanded state, terrorism would be significantly reduced, if not largely eliminated, and security would improve for all residents.

  8. This solution would end the possibility of Hamas coming to power in the West Bank. (Hamas coming to power there is a likely outcome of a two state solution.)

  9. The Jewish settlements of the West Bank would remain and be a source of economic development and prosperity for the whole territory.

The Response to the One State Solution

More and more people are embracing this as the best solution, while others oppose it strongly. Leaders in the Messianic Jewish community have many different positions on the issues.

It is not presently realistic to think this will happen, and it would certainly involve significant risk. Yet none of the alternatives look good. Today, the level of world opinion against Israel is shocking. Israel is more vilified than those killing thousands and hundreds of thousands in the Muslim Arab world and in other countries where Muslims are committing genocide. (Compare the number of U. N. resolutions and E. U. resolutions).

For Messianic Jews the imperative of the Gospel for Arabs and Jews remains the greater priority, but we are also citizens and are called to consider how to vote in regard to the policy positions of our nation. Please pray for us and our nation that this election campaign will be honest and reveal the true positions of the various parties and candidates. We know that "there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God" (Romans 13:1). May we see God's government operating in the Land of Israel, soon and in our days.

© Copyright Tikkun International Ministries. All rights reserved.