Thursday, January 15, 2009

One State?

A New York Times item has asked whether there could be a one-state solution in Israel/Palestine.

The two-state solution is what has been officially pursued since 1948 after the British allowed massive Jewish immigration to its Palestine teritory after World War I. The 1948 solution of the creation of an independent state of Israel was meant to solve the problem, and to salve the consciences of all those European leaders who had been complicit in the Holocaust by not believing what Hitler wrote in Mein Kampf and hence did not act earlier (or worse, actually shared his anti-semitism).

The concept of the "nation state" was a creation of mid 19th century Europe. Most of the world has at some time or other been incorporated in some way into someone else's empire. It got impetus post World War I as a part of the unwinding of the empires of the losing side (German, Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman), though some territories merely transferred to other (especially the British) empire.

In practical reality most of the planet is made up of people of mixed nationality including mixed religions living together. The genius of the European renaissance was the creation of the secular state.

Policy makers and commentators need to move on from outdated notions of "nations" and promote instead the concept of peaceful co-existence, the secular state, and religious tolerance. Bring on the independent state of Israel-Palestine!

No comments: