Skip to main content

Is Israel already a binational state?

Palestinians believe that calling for a binational state will force the international community to engage in a realistic two-state solution in 2017 and force the Israeli public to see the necessity of Palestinian statehood.
Palestinian schoolgirls walk past a mural painted on a wall in the West Bank city of Jenin November 7, 2007. REUTERS/Mohamad Torokman (WEST BANK) - RTX2BY
Read in 

In the Palestinian Authority (PA), there is a sense of great desperation. People are following with disdain the US election campaigns and conventions. The Palestinian issue is not discussed, as all right-wing Israeli positions are adopted enthusiastically by both parties. There is also great anger at Egypt. Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry’s visit to Israel July 10 was perceived as an Egyptian betrayal of the Palestinian cause. The European Union, mainly France, is perceived as better intentioned but too weak to act on its own. In this situation, 2017 promises to be a year of stalemate, with a US administration transition, undisturbed Israeli settlement and occupation policies, and great Palestinian desolation and anger.

The Palestinian leadership is thinking of a game changer for 2017. A senior PLO official who spoke to Al-Monitor on condition of anonymity said, “Obviously, the alternative to a two-state solution process is violence, an armed intifada and Hamas terror; yet we need to define a new political goal that is more realistic.” He told Al-Monitor that deliberations on this goal are taking place among the leadership of the PLO. An option that is being seriously discussed is a binational state: to demand from Israel and the international community equal civil, political and human rights for the Palestinians of the West Bank, while delaying the statehood issue. This, in his view, will leave the international community with no choice but to either act in favor of a two-state solution based on the 1967 lines or pressure Israel for equal rights for Palestinians in the given situation. It will force Israel to choose between being a binational state or an apartheid state.

Access the Middle East news and analysis you can trust

Join our community of Middle East readers to experience all of Al-Monitor, including 24/7 news, analyses, memos, reports and newsletters.


Only $100 per year.