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A Closer Look At Benny Morris' One State, Two States

1017 words - 5 pages

With an uncanny ability to convey his argument in a concise and precise manner, Benny Morris’s book One State, Two States quite comprehensively discredits the belief that a so-called ‘One State’ solution may bring peace to the region between the Mediterranean and the Jordan. As an academic and a professor of history at the Ben-Gurion University in Israel, one should be able to hold Morris’s text in high regard for his academic integrity. Unfortunately, it could be argued that to do so would be a staunch mistake, as he strongly evokes subjectivity and bias in his narrative. With a primary focus on the perspective of his own nation, Morris draws on a large number of source material and quotes, but appears to have left strong Arab Palestinian ones out of the picture. This basic element to Morris’s precariously tainted views displayed in his book, should raise red flags to any critical reader, and ought to lead many to ask whether or not the unbalanced picture he has created, can be portrayed as an accurate account of the Israel/Palestine conflict.
For decades, the question of how the Jewish population and the mainly Muslim Arab Palestinians, would come to coexist together in the small tract of land that now constitutes the territory between the Jordan River, and the Mediterranean has been subjected to constant controversy. Traditionally, two possible alternatives have been put forward. The first is a ‘One State’ solution, which proposes that all of the contested area would be governed by a single state, either Jewish or Arab. For this to transpire, both populates would need to agree to share the territory and to live under the a shared state, or as Morris bluntly put it, “the two simplest and most logical variants of a one state solution are an Arab state without any troublesome Jews and a Jewish state without any troublesome Arabs. We are talking here about expulsion” (Morris, 2009, 25). The second solution is that of the ‘Two State’ variety. In this universe, the current state of Israel would continue to exist and known as a Jewish state, but would settle with Palestine on an agreed upon border, which would most likely include the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
The simple objective of Morris’s book is to argue that Arab rejectionism is so deeply entrenched in the psyche of Arabs, that only the most ignorant and unrealistic of minds could believe that Palestinians would ever concede to a state consisting merely of the Gaza and the West Bank. According to Morris, this is partly due to the mutual exclusivity in the mindsets and value systems of the Israeli Jewish society and that of the Palestinian Muslim Society. However, instead of placing blame for the rejectionist sentiment on both Jews and Muslims alike, Morris appears to pin the blame mostly on the latter’s ability to compromise. He says, “The idea of sharing Palestine either through a division of the country into two states, one Jewish, the Other Arab, or through a unitary binational...

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