Pro-Israel Lawmakers Promote One State

Bills Push Rule in West Bank, But Is It Good for Israel?

By Josh Nathan-Kazis

Published March 12, 2012, issue of March 23, 2012.
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A resolution calling for a one-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has been adopted in two state legislatures and is headed for more.

Allan Clemmons
courtesy of allan clemmons
Allan Clemmons

Usually, such a call would be interpreted as a pro-Palestinian move that many fear could obliterate Israel as a Jewish state. But not in these cases. Instead, these resolutions are protests against U.S. efforts to implement a two-state solution, the endorsed policy of both the United States, Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

Both houses of the Florida legislature and one house of the South Carolina legislature unanimously passed similar versions of the non-binding resolution, drafted by a South Carolina state legislator and supported in Florida by the Zionist Organization of America. The most recent vote, in Florida, was on February 28. South Carolina’s House of Representatives passed its resolution last June.

The spread of the resolutions points to a weakening of the two-state consensus established in the U.S. since June 2002, when George W. Bush became the first president to declare American support for establishing a Palestinian state alongside Israel in the West Bank and Gaza, the territories Israel has occupied or controlled, along with East Jerusalem, since winning the 1967 Six Day War.

After decades of opposing the establishment of a separate Palestinian state, Israel itself came to embrace the option in the 2000s, partly on the grounds that the likely alternative, a single state encompassing Israel and these territories, with their more than 4 million Arab residents, would create a country with an Arab majority and spell the end of a Jewish democratic state.

Supporters of the state resolutions, however, appeared unwilling to discuss these implications.

The bill’s intention is to “send a signal to Jews worldwide and to Israel that…we consider Judea and Samaria and East Jerusalem to be part of Israel, and what Israel decides to do with it is Israel’s business,” said Alan Clemmons, the South Carolina lawmaker and real estate lawyer who drafted the bill, using the biblical terms for areas of the West Bank.

Pressed on the meaning of the resolution’s call for “one law for all people” in Israel and the West Bank, Clemmons said, “This document was drafted over a period of hours, not months, in an exercise of exorcising my own concerns with President Obama over advocating that Israel abandon Judea, Samaria, and East Jerusalem.”


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