Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Rick Santorum proposes a One State Solution

Foreign Policy's online blog has published an entry responding to video of Republican presidential hopeful Rick Santorum arguing that the turmoil between Israelis and Palestinians can be settled with a one state solution.

As the blogger for Foreign Policy notes, this is an issue that the Israeli government has been actively avoiding (political participation of Palestineans in the governance of Israel), but does not pursue the pro's and con's of this concept. The comment section does not discuss the issue much, either, which is regrettable because I rarely see this position debated in "serious policy circles". While the Palestinians naturally have a right to pursue their own state, isn't it reasonable as well to argue (without denying Palestinian identity, as Santorum does in the video linked above) that Palestinians should have some voice in Israeli policy until they get their own state? Why should Palestinian influence only extend to the Occupied Territories when the Israeli government regularly makes decisions that effect Palestinian lives, from curfews to embargoes, to travel restrictions and more? It is a basic axiom of modern democracy that parties who are subject to the impact of decisions should play a role in decisionmaking.

As a corollary, where the Taliban was accused of subjugating women in Afghanistan, the United States advocates for (and attained) an inclusion in the new Afghan constitution that required women to hold a certain percentage of the seats in the Afghan legislature. Yet who would argue that a certain number of seats in the Knesset should be reserved for Palestinians, who do not share the same rights as Israeli citizens within territory Israel controls? Short of this, shouldn't Palestinians be able to vote for who should serve in the Knesset when laws passed therein inevitably affect many areas of Palestinian life and they are currently without a state of their own (with all due respect to the Palestinian Authority, which has been recognized in some international circles, although not fully recognized as a state)?

This is probably all an academic exercise, of course, since this course of action does not seem to be particularly popular among Palestinians or Israelis (although I would welcome information that indicates the opposite, just for my own enlightenment).