Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Part 1: Problems with the Two-state Solution of Palestine and Israel

Political rhetoric is constantly used by politicians, diplomats and those that maintain neutrality in regards to Israel's occupation of Palestine. People opposed to the occupation give the two-state solution, a separate Palestinian state and a separate Jewish state, as the only plausible answer to this +60 year problem. However, when you break down this solution, it is really not plausible at all when looking at it through the lenses of justice and equality. Omar Barghouti, educator, activist and scholar, has made it even clearer to me that a two-state solution may be a solution of ease and practicality but is also one that perpetuates the injustice and inequality that Palestinians face today. A two-state solutions proposes two states, one for Palestinians and one for the Jewish population. I say Jewish and not Israeli because according to Israel, there is no Israeli nationality, the only nationality that exists is the Jewish nationality. The borders of Palestine would be the borders that were placed upon Palestinians in 1949 before Israel violated international law in 1967 and thereafter- Palestine would consist of West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem (future capital). There are a few key problems with this "solution":

1. The size of land relative to the population of Palestinians is disproportionate even using the international-consensus borders of 1949.
-- West Bank: 2,178 square miles; 1,102 people per square mile
-- Gaza: 139 square miles; 10,791 people per square mile
-- Israel: 8,019 square miles; 885 people per square mile

As the numbers show, land distribution relative to the size of the population is grossly disproportional.

2. Palestinians right to return, which refers to the Palestinians in the diaspora right to return back to their homeland, within the confines of the 1949 will only exacerbate the land and population issues mentioned in #1. Presently, there are over 6 million Palestinians in exile that cannot return to their homeland.

3. Adhering to the 1949 borders poses another problem in regards to geography because of the Jewish settlements in Gaza and East Jerusalem (again, using the word Jewish due to Israel's idea of its national identity being Jewish, not due to Antisemitism). The Jewish settlements that have been built and are still being built (note: violation of international law) have been built strategically, so that they divide Palestinian villages and towns from one another. Another reason they have been built in such a way is to make it so that when it comes time during a "peace process" to figure out the exact borders of Palestine and Israel, it will be impossible to make a concrete Palestinian state. If the settlements maintain their presence in a two-state solution, Palestinians would have to go through Israel in order to reach another Palestinian town/village. This is just a twist to the checkpoints that Palestinians have to go through today.

Obviously, it is much easier to spew critiques, rather than pose a solution. The next blog piece will discuss the one-state solution and the BDS movement (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) which Omar Barghouti founded in order to achieve the one-state goal.

1 comment:

izork said...

885 people per square mile vs 10,971 per sq mile-- that's absurd!