Nathan ThrallI assume you’re basically asking about whether we’re heading toward a one-state scenario [of Israel absorbing the West Bank permanently], in which we don’t have equal rights and Israel is ostracised and so forth. Yes, those trends are alarming. Outsiders look at it and they say, ‘Wow, this is really crazy; how can they be wilfully driving themselves toward this kind of future?’ But the thing is that it’s not so irrational for the Israeli voters.

That threat of a one-state scenario, even if it enfranchised everyone, and even if you didn’t have conflict, armed or otherwise, among the different ethnic groups, would still dramatically lower Israel’s GDP per capita. But the numbers who desire one state, in both societies, is well below 50 percent. You don’t really have a looming threat of a mass movement for one state in Palestinian society.

And the attitude of an Israeli voter could easily be, ‘Sure, I don’t want a one state, but I don’t see that it’s imminent, and if it becomes a serious threat, then we can unilaterally withdraw to, let’s say, the separation barrier, which would mean de facto annexation of 9 percent of the West Bank. And then we’ll have a border dispute like so many other countries have, and no one can demand we give the vote to the people on the other side of the wall. And we have a perfectly plausible backup plan in the worst-case scenario’.

So all of these doom-and-gloom predictions that it’s gonna be apartheid and a pariah state or what have you are actually wrong.


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