Two-State Solution for Palestine: Etzioni's Communitarian Letter #33

I have several fundamental problems with the two-state solution in the Palestinian/Israeli area. To begin with, I am not sure that the notion of a one-religion and one-ethnicity state is fundamentally supportable in the modern world. Given the large amount of asylum seekers, our nations and communities must be more flexible. Let’s suppose that modern Germany suddenly decided to rid itself of its Muslim minority and to permit only ethnic Germans in the country. I do not even have to wonder what the reaction would be; I KNOW what the reaction would be. And yet, no one seems to raise an eyebrow when Israel claims a right to its own nation with one religion and, essentially, one ethnic group. A fundamental right of displaced persons, such as the Palestinian refugees, is to return to their property. A general amnesty, according to Immanuel Kant, should follow any bellicose action. A general amnesty should also provide for the return of Palestinians to their places of former residence within what is now called Israel.

The other point that is being illustrated in that region is the ius post bellum problem. If, after a war, not both vanquished and victor have fundamentally the feeling that, despite some setbacks and problems, overall the state of affairs is not entirely bad, then one may assume that the end of the war has been just. For example, after the second world-war, many Germans were evicted from their homes in the eastern parts of Germany and found new homes in what then was West Germany. For a goodly number of years, there were advocate groups for a return to the old places of residence in what then became Poland. The Federation of Displaced Germans, for example, was a formidable political force then. Meanwhile, the economic recovery took hold, and many people found themselves relatively better off than they had been in those areas where they had fled from. Despite parental nostalgia, their offspring felt at home where they were, and the general pleasure with the economic condition let people get over feelings of having been wronged. A similar development might have happened in Palestine if the economic recovery of the Palestinians had not been so brutally repressed by the Israeli state…

So, where to go? I do believe that the international community must remind Israel of its obligation to accommodate all the citizens of its territory. Separation of church and state as well as accommodation of all ethnic groups is fundamental to responsible living in community. The two-state solution is too much of an appeasement in placating an obviously expansionist state with very strong commitments to value-ranked people: its own as a dominating chosen group and others as riff-raff and dregs.
            Reinhold Schlieper
          Associate Professor of Humanities
            Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University