The One State Solution / Pinhas Inbari

26 December 2011
Recently, Fatah’s East Jerusalem arm successfully undercut a conference on a potential Israeli-Palestinian confederation based on a two-state solution and a Palestinian capital in East Jerusalem.

Fatah’s Tanzim activists demonstrated outside and inside the Ambassador hotel, forcing the management to cancel the event. They explained that the movement could not allow "political anarchy" to take place, and that everyone must yield to the formal policy set in Ramallah in line with the existing two-state solution. The Tanzim further emphasized that the movement would not allow any additional "normalization" meetings between Israeli and Palestinian academics, whether in East Jerusalem or inside Israel proper.
Seri Nusseiba, president of al-Quds University, Shlomo Ben Ami, and the pro-PLO peace activist, Uri Avneri, were scheduled to participate in the conference. It is noteworthy that Ben Ami served as foreign minister in Ehud Barak's government and participated in the 2000 Camp David summit with then PLO leader Yasser Arafat, which failed to conclude in an agreement on the two states formula.

Nusseiba reacted to Fatah's accusations on al-Quds University’s website, stating that he was not among the organizers of the conference, but was invited to participate as a guest. He added that the idea of a confederation frightens the Israelis because it comes closer to the notion of a one-state solution that effectively annuls the Jewish state.
In another article on Ma’an news’ website, Prof. Nusseiba suggested that a confederated solution would end the occupation.

The conference and its fallout served as a testing ground for the feasibility of the one-state solution. Fatah’s assertive rejection of the effort raises the question whether pursuing this avenue could ever be practical.

During the Annapolis peace process, Israel’s Kadima government explained that deep concessions on Israel’s part were needed in order to save the Jewish nature of Israel and avoid the "one-state solution". Similarly, the Palestinians, including senior leader and main negotiator, Sa'eb Erekat, used to threaten their people that in case the negotiations failed, other options would fill the void, including that of the one-state solution.

Accordingly, with no movement on the negotiation track, it is natural that alternative ideas begin to float in academic circles. Yet, surprisingly, Fatah was the first to reject the smallest possibility of a joint academic session that would review a potential political partnership between the Israelis and the Palestinians.

Fatah’s radical change of heart could be explained by the increased influence of Islamist dogmas in East Jerusalem, which do not recognize any form of potential political partnership with Israel, and the aspiration to gain Hamas support in a future election campaign. Despite senior Fatah activists’ conviction that an election would not take place, they do not wish be caught off-guard in case it does. Fatah’s cadres also fear that Prof. Nusseiba, who was the head of Jerusalem’s Tanzim during the first intifada, may be preparing to run for president under the banner of a one-state solution, which can result in a split in Fatah's ranks, giving a leg up to a Hamas candidate.

For its part, Hamas stands strongly opposed to the two-state solution as well as the one-state solution, as it sees no other goal except for the complete “liberation” of Palestine. Khaled Mash'al's recent approval of the 1967 borders only gives the PLO permission to liberate the part of Palestine demarcated by the 1967 lines through negotiations, leaving the rest of Palestine to be liberated at a later date.

The possibility of the fast-approaching elections in the Palestinian Authority, whether or not they actually take place, along with the decline in support for the one-state solution, serves to reinforce Hamas and raise its profile among the Palestinians.

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