Israel cannot be both a Jewish and democratic state
The two-state solution for Middle East peace is unachievable due to the fact that 100,000 settlers would have to be removed in order for a viable, territorially contiguous Palestinian state.
This is a task that no Israeli government would be able to carry out politically.
Settlers and their supporters now make up a significant proportion of the command structure of Israeli security forces. The same forces that would have to carry out a decision to remove the settlers.
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon removed 8,000 Jewish settlers from Gaza and had to deploy the entire man and woman power of all of Israel's security forces. It was done to make Israel's control of Gaza more efficient.
Removing 100,000 settlers from the West Bank, in order to enable the establishment of a Palestinian state, would be an impossible task.
Instead of pursuing the mirage of a two-state solution, would-be peacemakers should recognize the fact that Israel and the occupied territories in fact constitute one state that has been in existence for nearly 45 years.
Israel will have to face the reality of being a state that could be Jewish or democratic, but not both. The solution, though controversial: Establish one secular, non-ethnic, democratic state with equal citizenship rights to all in the entire area between the Mediterranean and the Jordan River.
Constitutional separation between state and religion will be required for stability.
The state will neither sanction nor subsidize religious activities and institutions, nor will it tolerate religious practices discriminatory toward women.
The emancipatory and democratic undercurrents of the Arab Spring will rise in Israel and Palestine to transform the political reality and bring an end to the hundred-year old Israeli Palestinian conflict.
Yoav Peled (email@example.com) teaches political science at Tel Aviv University. Write to him regarding one secular, democratic, Israeli-Palestinian State.
Carlisle Peace College