Nick Kardahji, Dreaming of Co-Existence: A Brief History of the Bi-National Idea
Nick Kardahji offers an account of the evolution of the concept of a bi-national state as a solution to Zionist and Palestinian territorial claims. He begins by differentiating a bi-national solution (which emphasizes the equal representation of groups) from a one-state solution (which emphasizes the equal representation of individuals). He analyzes the difference between notions of “partition” and the “bi-national” under the British Mandate, exploring the UN Partition Plan of 1947 as well as the motives and interests of both sides for and against separation. He then looks at the differences between cultural and nationalist Zionism and their support for or rejection of a bi-national state (specifically the arguments of Judah Magnes, Arthur Ruppin, Chaim Kalvarisky and organizations such as Hashomer Hatzair and Brit Shalom). Arab advocates of bi-nationalism during the Mandate, he argues, were very marginal and included Ahmed Khalidi, Musa Alami and Fauzi Husseini. He documents the end of the bi-national movement in 1948 with its absolute rejection by the Zionist victors and the dominance of a two-state paradigm by Palestinians after 1988. His paper includes an appendix with detailed information about individuals, movements and proposals that advocated for a bi-national state.
Nick Kardahji was a Palestinian-British researcher at PASSIA (2003-4) and is a graduate of the University of Sheffield.
As’ad Ghanem, The Bi-National Solution for the Israeli-Palestinian Crisis: Conceptual Background and Contemporary Debate
As’ad Ghanem argues in this essay for a bi-national solution that would resolve inter-group conflict through granting equality to all population groups. He begins with a conceptual background of the ways in which group-dominated states deal with their non-dominant groups through extermination and group purification, expulsion and transfer, domination without democratic rights, control by granting partial democratic rights or, alternatively, through the granting of equality for all groups. He ex plores the differences between territorial partition and the elimination of group dominance either through a federation/confederation system or through granting the same freedoms to all individuals. He turns to the particular case of the domination of the Jewish majority over Palestinians in the Occupied Territories and argues that the only viable and realistic solution is a bi-national state given the unlikelihood of the following: full Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank and Gaza, a shift in the Israeli position to grant full independence to a separate Palestinian state, a separation of common resources, dismantling the settlements and integrating them into a separate Palestinian state, resolving the Jerusalem question and the right of return in two separate states, and any territorial compromises by hardliners on either side. He offers a model for Israeli-Palestinian relations in a bi-national system which would equalize relations between Israelis and Palestinians and would require changes in the orientation within the two nationalist movements and towards the international community. A bi-national state would also require, he argues, a broad coalition of both parties, a right to veto on the part of both parties, fair representation of both groups and internal autonomy for each group.
As’ad Ghanem is a political scientist at the University of Haifa.
Gary Sussman, The Viability of the Two-State Solution and Israeli Unilateral Intentions
In this essay, Gary Sussman explores the mounting debate over the viability of the two-state solution. He analyzes the ongoing Israeli settlement expansion, the separation wall, changing democratic trends in favor of the Palestinians, international opinion regarding Israel and the notion of separation, and, finally, the idea of unilateral separation. The focus of his analysis is the impact of Israeli unilateral actions – be it the wall, settlements or disengagement upon Palestinian and international opinion regarding the desirability of a two-state solution. His main argument is that none of these factors alone imperils the two-state outcome, but when combined could have a dramatic impact on Palestinian support for the two-state outcome. He claims that Israeli unilaterialism and a demographic trend that favors Palestinians could trigger a dynamic whereby Palestinians abandon their 15-year long endorsement of the two-state idea. As a result of these demographic trends and the requirement of Palestinian consent for Israeli international and regional legitimacy, he argues that a bi-national solution is the most realistic option to move forward.
Gary Sussman is based at Tel Aviv University.
Salim Tamari, The Dubious Lure of Bi-Nationalism
Salim Tamari argues in this paper that, while at the conceptual level bi-nationalism raises interesting possibilities for examining new dimensions of extraterritorial nationalism and ethnicity, at the level of practical politics the concept can be counterproductive and escapist. He thus proposes a continued struggle for Palestinian independence. He illustrates the drawbacks of the two-state solution and the reasons for its erosion, going on to argue for the structural dependency of Israel and Palestine. However, he claims that the advocates for a bi-national solution have been too simplistic and unrealistic in their approaches, holding their positions without assessing the repercussions of a regime created from two antagonistic national groups with established infrastructures and unbalanced power differentials. Further, those advocates are very marginalized and cannot mobilize a constituency around them, the Palestinians and Israelis themselves. A bi-national solution, he contends, would demand that the Palestinians give up their right to independence without guarantees that Israeli hostility towards them would cease.
Salim Tamari is the Director of the Institute of Jerusalem Studies in Jerusalem.
Fadi Kiblawi, Towards a Sustainable Solution: Alternative Constructions for an Israeli-Palestinian Peace
In his essay, Fadi Kiblawi outlines a method to reach a sustainable final solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict by first examining the limitations of the current situation, suggesting alternatives, assessing the value of constitutional resolution and finally advocating for a bi-national solution. He claims that the two-state solution is not feasible because it would preempt the right of return of refugees, would legitimize population transfers, and would not be able to resolve the problems of the settlements, the separation wall and Jerusalem. He suggests that escaping the current impasse would require a replacement of the Palestinian Authority, a transformation of international consensus on the conflict and a redistribution of the balance of power. He then explores historically and in the contemporary context the process of defining a constitution of a prospective solution which would consider land, border, economic and political issues, including the right to return, land reform and Jerusalem. He finally advocates for a constitutionally defined federal system with distinct separation of powers between executive, legislative and judicial branches within a unitary state.
Fadi Kiblawi is a student at George Washington University Law School in Washington, D.C.
Nasser Abu Farha, Alternative Palestinian Agenda – Proposal for an Alternative Configuration of Palestine/Israel
Nasser Abu Farha offers in this essay an alternative configuration of Palestine/Israel that would consist in a bi-national state of two sovereign states in political and economic union, the Federal Union of Palestine-Israel. He begins by evaluating the relative concerns and aspirations of Israelis and Palestinians and the failure of the two-state solution. He moves on to argue for the necessity of reconfiguring the notion of state hood in Palestine-Israel on a federalist model that is based on the current demographic distribution of both populations and the need to accommodate the Palestinian right to return. Finally, he explores in detail the borders and demographic distribution of the two separate sovereign states while elaborating what their political and economic union would require. He argues that this solution respects the concerns and aspirations of both parties.
Nasser Abu Farha is a Ph.D. candidate in Cultural Anthropology at the University of Wisconsin. He is a native of Jalame in the West Bank.
Sari Hanafi, Finding a Just Solution for the Palestinian Refugee Problem – Toward an Extra-Territorial Nation-State
Sari Hanafi attempts to resolve the problem of the Palestinian refugees’ right of return by reconfiguring the very notion of the nation-state itself and formulating a model for an extra-territorial state. He argues that the current nation-state model, based on the “trinity” of nation-state-territory, is in deep crisis and that a new model of nation-state must be conceptualized based on flexible borders, flexible citizenship and some kind of separation between the nation and the State. This model of the “extra-territorial nation-state” is structural and transitions between a territorially-based nation-state and a ‘de-territorialized’ one. Hanafi distinguishes between residency and citizenship, arguing for the extension of citizenship to Palestinian refugees.
Sari Hanafi is a sociologist and the former Director of the Palestinian Diaspora and Refugee Center (Shaml) in Ramallah. Currently he is a Visiting Associate Professor at the American University of Beirut.
Ian Lustick, Thinking About the Futures of Palestine with the Pasts of Others: Implications for the Settlements in a Two- or One-State Solution
Ian Lustick begins his essay with a theoretical investigation of predictions and future-oriented thinking based on more or less likely outcomes of situations and events. He suggests that we must look at the pasts of other peoples to illuminate possible Palestinian futures, taking as examples the Kurds, Armenians, Jews, Algerians, South Africans and the Irish. He goes on to consider the implications of the settlements in a one- or two-state solution, arguing that one isn’t necessarily more realistic than the other for resolving the issue.
Ian Lustick is a Professor of Political Science at the University of Pennsylvania.
Asher Susser, Confederation Options in the Palestine-Israel Conflict
Asher Susser explores the historical ties and identity-based differences within Israel, Palestine and Jordan and assesses the impact of disengagement of each party on this triangle and possible confederation. He argues that an Israeli-Palestinian-Jordanian confederation is currently impossible, but that this doesn’t preclude a confederation between Palestine and Jordan, a solution that would be dependent solely on Palestinian and Jordanian political will and decision-making.
Asher Susser is the Director and Senior Research Fellow at the Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies and an Associate Professor in the Department of Middle Eastern and African History at Tel Aviv University.
Jeff Halper, Thinking Out of the Box: Towards a Middle East Union
Halper first documents the way in which the Sharon administration captured and controlled the West Bank and East Jerusalem, creating a Jewish-controlled state throughout the “Land of Israel.” He outlines the elements necessary to constitute a just peace: the national expression of two peoples, viability, a just resolution of the refugee issue, regional peace, and mutual security for both parties. He rejects the traditional two-state solution, a two-state solution favoring Israel and a bi-national or one-state solution, advocating instead for a regional confederation. This regional confederation would emerge in two stages: 1) the establishment of an independent Palestinian state alongside Israel, and 2) a regional confederation leading to a wider Middle East Union.
Jeff Halper is an anthropologist and Coordinator of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions.
Arie Lova Elia, Isfalur (Israel, Falastin, and Urdun) – A Benelux Scheme
Arie Lova Elia argues for a complete withdrawal of Israeli forces to the pre-1967 borders of Palestine. Further, he contends that the three states – Israel, Palestine, and Jordan – will slowly merge into a consolidated or confederative relationship with one another called Isfalur. Isfalur would have four regional enterprises – the Northern Water Project, the Jordan Rift Project, the Dead Sea Project and the Arava Project – which would make consolidation economically beneficial for the three countries.
Arie Lova Elia is a former MK and General Secretary of the Israeli Labor Party.
Yehoshua Ben-Arieh, Trilateral Land Exchange between Israel, the Palestinian Authority and Egypt: A Solution for Promoting Peace between Israel and the Palestinians
In his paper, Yehashua Ben-Arieh proposes a three-way exchange of territory between Israel, Palestine and Egypt as a way of resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The article first outlines the basic premises of this plan as well as the pros and cons for each of the three parties. Ben-Arieh then discusses the basic principles underlying the plan. He concludes by offering a draft agreement for the land swap to be signed by the three parties and representatives of the international community, primarily the United States, the European Union and the United Na tions.
Yehashua Ben-Arieh is a Professor of Geography at the Truman Institute at Hebrew University, Jerusalem.
Mousa Burayzat, Federation versus Confederation in Jordanian-Palestinian Politics
Burayzat’s paper takes a historical approach to Palestinian-Jordanian relations, evaluating the effects of Jordan’s previous attempts to broker peace, the regional context and Jordanian disengagement from Palestinian affairs in 1988 on current and future relations. He assesses the merits and demerits of a confederal approach to solving the Palestinian question over and against a Jordanian-Palestinian federal approach, encouraging more close cooperation between Palestine and Jordan and the abandonment of a reliance on an Arab confederal structure. However, he claims, it is crucial that genuine collaboration and cooperation be es tablished between Arab states on the Palestinian question, and that federal and confederal solutions to the problem should be explored more fully.
Mousa Burayzat is the Jordanian Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Geneva.
Ahmad Abu Lafi, Islam and the Bi-National State
Abu Lafi gives an historical account of Islamic governance, turning to the early foundation of the Islamic state in Medina and defining more broadly the nature of the Islamic state based on the Islamic creed. The constitution and laws of such a state would be derived, he contends, from the Qur’an, the Sunnah, and what they have referred to: reasoning by analogy (Qiyas) and recognized consensus on the part of scholars (Ijma’). He describes the Islamic state as a unified system under the authority of an individual Muslim ruler and which extends to all residents of the state equal rights. For this reason, a bi-national state would only conform to Islamic law if it was unified, Muslims and non-Muslims living equally under one Muslime ruler and abiding by Islamic laws.
Ahmad Abu Lafi is a Lecturer at Al-Quds University in Jerusalem.
Thomas G. Fraser, Partition as a Solution to Political Division: The Cases of Ireland, India and Palestine
Fraser’s essay contextualizes the partition of Palestine historically with the partitions of Ireland and India, respectively, as a British Imperial solution to political division. He explores the evolution of Irish nationalism and the key factors which motivated partition as well as the details of the partition agreements finally outlined. Moving to the Indian context, he examines the ideas of Muhammad Ali Jinnah and the gradual support for Muslim self-determination in a separate state, an idea which motivated and followed through the partition of India and Pakistan. He finally looks at proposals under the British Mandate and UNSCOP to partition Palestine into separate Arab and Jewish states.
Thomas G. Fraser is Provost at the University of Ulster.
Jan de Jong, The End of the Two-State Solution – A Geo-Political Analysis
De Jong’s looks at the geographical effects of the Separation Barrier Israel is currently erecting in the West Bank and argues that its construction of the ‘Barrier’ – along with the ongoing settlement policy - will fatally prejudice all remaining prospects for viable Palestinian statehood. He explores the Israeli disengagement plan and its system of segregating Palestinian land and infrastructure from Israeli-controlled land and infrastructure, particularly in relation to the Israeli system of roads and tunnels in the West Bank, the expansion of settlements and outposts, the annexation of Jerusalem from Palestinian control and their combined effect on the economic viability of a separate Palestinian state and creation of a Bantustan-like structure for Palestinian cities. He then outlines what would be necessary for an economically viable Palestinian state and the possibilities of a Labor-Likud compromise on that state. The text also contains eight colored maps.
Jan de Jong is a Geographer and Land Planning Expert .