Speaking to the UN General Assembly today, President Obama reaffirmed his country’s commitment to what has become over time the world’s only strategy for achieving peace in the Middle East: “Last year, I pledged my best efforts to support the goal of two states, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security, as part of a comprehensive peace between Israel and all of its neighbors.”
Yet the so-called “two-state solution” is not the only possible way forward, much as it appeals (on our good days) to a belief that the Palestinians deserve their own state, or (on our bad days) to a pessimism about humanity that sees physical separation as the only permanent solution to a conflict between peoples. Human rights lawyer (and former candidate for the presidency of Lebanon) Chibli Mallat argues in the Law page of Beirut’s Daily Star that, by contrast, a one-state solution involving a federation of Israel and Palestine offers the best chance for a stable peace under the rule of law. His essay is the first part of a recent speech, the second half of which can be found here.
The moral argument is more powerful: who says that Palestinians want to live with Palestinians only, and Jews with Jews only? Who says that the ethnic, religious or national identity is superior to the human one, molded for a century as it has uniquely been, by common suffering inside that civil war?