July 30, 2009

Rethinking the Two-State Solution

Is the two-state solution really a solution after all?

Will it really benefit Israelis -- or will it merely create a Hamastan, resulting in more terrorism?

And will a Palestinian state really benefit the Palestinians -- or will it merely create an Islamic government as oppressive as most other Islamic governments? (Thanks to Justin Raimondo for the links.)

These, I think, are good questions to ask, and ones which I haven’t seriously considered until recently. Seeing how the Israeli government has brutalized the Palestinian people, I’ve long thought that the Palestinians deserved a government of their own. Though I’m a voluntarist, I’ve thought that a Palestinian state would be, not ideal, but at least better than the current situation. But recent developments have left me feeling more and more unsure of this.

First, as IPS journalist Mel Frykberg reports:

What remains of Palestinian civil rights is rapidly being eroded by the dictatorial Palestinian governments that respectively control the divided Palestinian territories.

Palestinian civilians are paying the price as the Islamic resistance movement Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, and the Fatah-affiliated and western-backed Palestinian Authority (PA), which rules the West Bank, continue to target their political opponents as part of their bitter power struggle.

"We don’t have a police state here in Palestine. We have two police states. One in Gaza and one in the West Bank," says Rabie Latifah from the Palestinian human rights organization Al Haq.

"The abuse of Palestinian civilians by both Fatah and Hamas security forces has become systematic and is no longer the exception to the rule," Latifah told IPS.

Mysterious bomb blasts, assassinations by masked gunmen, detainees denied access to their lawyers, torture and death in detention, the random arrest of critical journalists, and the banning of peaceful demonstrations are but a few of the human rights violations sweeping the Palestinian territories.

While armed men are being arrested, politically motivated arrest campaigns are also targeting citizens suspected of merely sympathizing with the opposition.

And second, as Avi Issacharoff reports in Ha’aretz:

Senior Hamas officials had claimed, in the wake of Hamas' June 2007 Gaza takeover, that the organization did not have any intention to turn the Sharia, Islamic religious law into official state regulations. Two years later, however, it seems that the Hamas government is slowly introducing more and more
regulations in the spirit of the Islamic decrees.

The London-based newspaper Al-Quds al-Arabi reported that the organization's Gaza government had recently approved a series of laws, a Muslim code of conduct of sorts, meant to guard Muslim religion and morals. These guidelines join an increasing amount of reports from Gaza residents saying that modesty patrols were forcing women to wear head coverings, especially at Gaza's beaches, and that they were inspecting isolated cars in order to prevent unmarried couples being alone together.

Now I’m not defending the occupation. I’ll be the first to agree that Israel's occupation over the past forty years has been completely brutal and immoral. Nonetheless, these recent stories, along with Justin Raimondo’s latest column, have made me wonder whether a two-state solution is such a panacea after all.

The best solution, I believe, would be liberty—the No-State Solution—allowing everyone, Jew and Muslim alike, to live free from coercion. In the absence of that, I’m just not sure there’s a good option.

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