One State, Two States by Benny Morris


reviewed by Marc Schulman

Benny Morris in his new book One State, Two States focuses his years of scholarship to analyze the various peace plans put forth to resolve the Israeli Palestinian conflict. If you want to be depressed, then read this book. The two prevailing conflicting plans to settle the Israeli Palestinian conflict have been the mainstream, two state solution that is the official policy of the both the Israeli government, much of the world community and the Palestinian Authority. An alternative plan that has recently gained credence among some is the concept of a one state solution, one integrated Arab/ Jewish state.

Morris takes care of the arguments for a one state solution quickly. He shows that although there were significant elements within the Jewish community who supported a bi-national state, such Keren Shalom, there never were any counterparts among the Palestinians for such a solution. He quotes the official paper presented to UNSCOP (United Nations Special Committee on Palestine called the future of Palestine. It stated, "All responsible Arab organizations oppose binationalism uncompromisingly. The reason for this is clear all these plans contravene the right of the majority to live under a government of their own choosing. Such plans are impracticable because a binational state of this sort cannot exist unless underlying the national differences there is a deep sense of common interest and common loyalty, which will determine the political actions of both national groups in moments of crisis. Morris of course makes notes of the fact that both the authors of the Peel plan and the commissioners of UNSCOP rejected a binational state for partition. In July 1938 the Peel Commission wrote" About 1,000,000 Arabs are in strife, open and latent with some 400,000 Jews. There is no common ground between them" In the subsequent 70 years it is hard to think that anything has gotten any better.

Morris goes about questioning the viability of a two state solution. First by showing that the Palestinians have never accepted the concept of a two state solution. Even the apparent change of the PLO charter did not amount to any more then a tactical move. According to Morrison Arafat was unable to an agreement with Barak at Camp David, because he was unable to bring and end of the conflict based on a two state solution. Morris also shows the various geographic and demographic impediments to the creation of two states. After getting through 97% of the book Morris finally presents his solution- a confederation between Jordan and the Palestinians. Somehow Morris thinks that it is possible to recreate this option- I am rather skeptical

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