The One State Federalist Solution to the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

Muammar Qaddafi’s proposal for a one-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will of course be dismissed as a demographic death sentence for the idea of a Jewish state. But the vision he fashions in his NY Times op-ed of the mutual benefits the two peoples can offer each other is a noble one. I’ve defended it often, despite charges of being naive, because I’d rather be naive in defense of a noble vision than realistic in defense of a bankrupt one.

Beyond that, the piece is full of things I never expected to hear coming from the leader of an Arab Muslim nation in my lifetime (although I might have simply missed it if he’s not the first):

The basis for the modern State of Israel is the persecution of the Jewish people, which is undeniable. . . . The Jewish people want and deserve their homeland. . . .

It is a fact that Palestinians inhabited the land and owned farms andhomes there until recently, fleeing in fear of violence at the hands ofJews after 1948 — violence that did not occur, but rumors of which ledto a mass exodus. It is important to note that the Jews did notforcibly expel Palestinians. They were never “un-welcomed.” (Emphasis added.)

I don’t know if these were forced on him by the Times editorial board, but the fact that they’re in the piece give the lie to the idea that nothing has changed in the Middle East.

As for the name, Isratine, it has the unfortunate ring of a powdered laxative product, but that might be appropriate to a conflict that has taken on all the appearances of an emotional constipation.

On a more serious note, I’m surprised to have never seen the idea of a one-state/federalist solution floated, with a limited federal jurisdiction and most power devolved onto the two component states. Palestinians could enjoy the right of return while exercising their political rights in the Palestinian Territories, and vice versa for a more limited Israeli settlement movement in the Territories. The fact that both federal states would have inhabitants from the other would serve as a natural deterrent against discrimination and repression, which would in any event be outlawed by the federal constitution.

There, I’ve solved the Middle East. Where’s my Nobel Peace Prize?

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