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Virginia Tilley. The One-State Solution: A Breakthrough for Peace in the Israeli Palestinian Deadlock.

Virginia Tilley. The One-State Solution: A Breakthrough for Peace in the Israeli Palestinian Deadlock. Ann Arbor, MI: The University of Michigan Press, 2005. Paper $27.95.

Tilley's The One-State Solution embarks on the debate regarding the failure of the two-state solution and the one-state proposal. The author agues that the two-state solution has been eliminated as a practical solution due to illegal expansion of Jewish settlements that dismembered the West Bank rendering it unfit for a viable and stable state. As a result of the failure of the two-state solution, the author mentions three alternatives, dismissing the first two. First is the alternative of expulsion of Palestinians. The author dismisses such an alternative as being a solution from the past that cannot escape the scrutiny of international community. However, Israel's practices--most notably since the 2000 Intifada--clearly demonstrated sheer indifference to international law and views of the international community. It also demonstrates unwillingness on the part of the international community to act in the face of Israeli violation on International law. The threat of expelling the Palestinians has been an integral feature of Israel's policies since its inception.

The second alternative is the "Jordanian Option," which is also dismissed by the author for colorful reasons, but hardly enlightening about a complex political struggle. The problem with the Jordanian option is not, among other things mentioned by the author, the cultural diversity within the Arab world. After all, the numerical majority in Jordan is Palestinian and the West Bank has been part of Jordan between (1948-1967). Neither can the impracticality of such a solution be used as evidence against the reasonableness of Arab unity. It is a failure because it is simply not a solution to the colonial character of Israel that led to the rise of the contemporary Palestinian revolution while the West Bank was under the Jordanian administration.

The Third alternative and arguably the most practical is the One-State Solution. Most serious intellectuals and Middle Eastern specialist have come to realize and agree with the author's conclusion. The book includes reviews of the notion of the one state solution in some details demonstrating that such proposal is not really new but dates back to the beginning of the conflict. It is important, however, at this point in time to consider this solution since Israeli policies (e.g., settlements, fence) led to the failure of the two-state solution and a deadlock in negotiations.

The book is enlightening and breaks away from many myths surrounding the nature of the Arab-Israeli conflict. However, a deeper attention to the state form and its various social implications might be useful. The One-State becoming synonymous with bi-nationalism only overlooks the limits of bi-nationalism that could become apartheid within a single territory instead of apartheid across borders as the two-state solution might become. Dismantling colonial relations that appear as national conflict is a pre-requisite to this only viable solution. It is true that Israeli racism is a serious obstacle to achieving such a solution, but the two-state solution proved to be a historical myopia.
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Publication:Arab Studies Quarterly (ASQ)
Article Type:Book review
Date:Jan 1, 2006
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