Defining the One-State Solution: The Swiss Governing Structure as a Possible Mode

Type Working Paper
Title Defining the One-State Solution: The Swiss Governing Structure as a Possible Mode
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2012
This paper provides a list of possible interpretation for the “one-state solution”. The list is based on Smooha’s (2001) framework of possible governing structures for deeply divided societies. The research aims to prove two over-arching points. First, the concept of a “one-state solution” can have a variety of political arrangements, ranging from apartheid-like regimes to full political and civil equality for all. Second, not all of these governing structures are suitable for a Palestinian-Israeli “one-state solution”. This paper measured the suitability of the models on the basis of their ability to provide full democracy and enduring political stability. The research found that, based on these measurements, consociationalism provides the most suitable governing structure for the PalestinianIsraeli “one-state”, only if the correct political arrangements and government institutions were put in place. The Swiss governing structure provides a specific recipe for a successful consociational political arrangement and governmental institutions. Therefore, the paper proposes a Palestinian Israeli one-state solution, based on the Swiss model, with a focus on five main elements. These elements are federalism, power-sharing based on proportionality, minority “soft veto”, direct democracy, and a written constitution. These elements were designed to ensure the protection of individual and collective identities as well as the empowerment of the people as a whole. This paper was not intended to provide the answer to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict so much as to incite specific detailed proposals for the one-state solution. The current discussion on the one-state solution is limited to arguments for, or against, the general concept of a one-state solution. This discussion is valuable but limited in nature. It is limited in the extent of which it can move beyond general agreements or disagreements. Specific details help move the discussion in a more productive direction in which opponents can reject specific elements of each proposal, while providing justifications, and opponents can respond by making adjustments or providing counter arguments and so on. By approaching the discussion in a detail-oriented manner, we can begin to identify elements of agreement or disagreement, which can help produce an effective dialogue on the “one-state” solution. However, by strictly arguing for the general banner of a “one-state” solution, we are preventing this process from moving forward towards a serious discussion of the specifics of the onestate solution, which can help in shaping the one-state solution into a serious alternative to the impasse of the two-state solution

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