OPINION: Single democratic state needed for long-term peace

Nov 10, 2023 | OP-ED, Opinion

Calls for a ceasefire echo across the globe amid the continued bombardment of Gaza by the Israeli military.

More than 25,000 tons of explosives, equivalent to two nuclear bombs, have already been dropped on what is one of the most densely populated places on earth.

More than 10,000 people have been killed, including about 4,000 of them children, in Gaza since Oct. 7.

Without a doubt, an immediate ceasefire is necessary to end the senseless death of innocent civilians, something that the UN and many global leaders have been urging.

However, any long-form solutions to the apartheid remain notably absent from Western discourse.

The occupation of Palestine is against international law and stands in contrast to the 1947 UN Resolution that proposed the creation of two states. Today, Gaza is an open-air prison with militarized walls surrounding about 2.2 million Palestinians, more than half of them children.

In the West Bank, illegal Israeli settlements continue to spread while the Palestinian population is denied equal rights.

This kind of situation has a name, apartheid. Human rights organizations such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch say the situation more than meets the criteria.

The two-state solution is dead and it has been that way for a long time.

Even if the 1967 borders were to be miraculously restored, should the creation of ethno-states really be the goal in 2023?

The Holy Land, which stands at the intersection of three continents, is sacred to all the Abrahamic religions, not only Judaism, Islam and Christianity, but also lesser-known religions such as the Druze, Samaritans, and several others.

Ethno-states divide people into sectarian lines and facilitate the rise of authoritarianism, such as right-wing Israeli president Benjamin Netanyahu, the militant organization Hamas or even groups like Hezbollah in Lebanon.

Would a single democratic secular state with equal rights for all peoples not be preferable?

Common narratives like to claim that would not be possible, but their arguments are intellectually lazy at best and viciously racist at worst.

Firstly, neither people nor religions are monolithic. There exists a multitude of interpretations and variations.

For example, I would argue the socialist Israelis of the Kibbutz and socialist Palestinians in the West Bank have more in common with each other than with the colonialist Israeli settlers of the West Bank or the militants of Hamas in Gaza.

Debates over the right of return for the Palestinian diaspora are nothing more than thinly veiled racism disguised as concern over demographic makeup. The idea that a particular group must constitute the majority is racist and has no place in modern society.

A single state gives the full spectrum of thoughts and ideas the best chance at representation.

The two-state solution is nothing more than a foolish colonial Western construct by nations who have long drawn borders for personal gain only to later forsake their responsibilities to the people they exploited.

I would go as far as to say that Western nations owe some reparations. If there is to be a single state, the West should provide the funding to build the necessary infrastructure and facilitate peace.

After all, there has been no shortage of money to fund infinite arms to fight forever wars. We have been directly complicit in this conflict and we must take responsibility.

In the words of South African anti-apartheid activist Archbishop Desmond Tutu: “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.”