Palestine – The Bi-National State That Can Work…writes David Singer

July 1, 2013 by David Singer
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It is a pity that US Secretary for State John Kerry still believes that a two-state solution is possible after 20 years of failed negotiations between Israel and the PLO to achieve such a result under the Oslo Accords and the Bush Roadmap.

While in Kuwait on 26 June – Kerry called on Israel and PLO to renew talks to advance such an outcome before it was too late:

“The time is getting near where we need to make some judgments. Last time I was here, I said it’s time for leaders to make some hard decisions. That stands. It is time. Why is it urgent? It’s urgent because time is the enemy of a peace process.”

This fatuous statement sounds very hollow when considering virtually the same pronouncement made in 2007 by Jordan’s King Abdullah:

“We have a finite amount of time. Physically, there may not be a chance for a future Palestinian state. This is why the urgency is now. Is the situation ideal? Far from it. But we have our backs against the wall and I believe that time is running out. Arabs and Muslims realised that this is our last chance. I think it is beginning to dawn on Israelis and Palestinians. They need to reach out to their brothers and sisters and say, ‘We need to take one step back because if this continues we may lose our final opportunity.’”

Rather than repeating these pointless prognostications of imminent doom – surely it would be better to examine alternatives to the failed two-state solution – which cannot possibly happen because of the entrenched positions of the protagonists to the 130 years old long running Jewish-Arab conflict.

One alternative proposed by the Arabs is the “bi-national State” – one in which the West Bank and Israel are merged into one territorial unit where all its citizens – Jews and Arabs – enjoy equal rights within the one State and rights of each national group are respected and protected.

Such a proposal was rejected this week by Israel’s President – Shimon Peres:

“Peace is a moral foundation of Judaism; it is an existential need of the Jewish state. A binational state contradicts the vision of Herzl; it endangers the Jewish and democratic state of Israel.”

President Peres’s rejection is understandable – given that it would signal the inevitable end of the Jewish National Home prescribed in 1922 by the Mandate for Palestine and preserved  in 1945 by article 80 of the United Nations Charter.

Indeed it would mean a return to the pre-1948 days of violent confrontation between Arabs and Jews that had led to the Peel Commission in 1937 and the United Nations in 1947 recommending partition of Palestine into one Jewish State and one Arab state – proposals rejected on both occasions by the Arabs.

Anyone believing this proposal to restore the territorial status quo existing before 1948 can happen again in 2013 must have rocks in his head.

There is however a different bi-national state that could work – one in which the West Bank and Jordan are merged into one territorial unit where all its citizens – Jordanians and Palestinians – enjoy equal rights within one State and the national rights of each other are respected and protected.

Such arrangement actually existed successfully between 1948-1967 when the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Transjordan were unified into one territorial unit and renamed Jordan in 1950. During this period not one Jew lived there – all having been driven out by the invading Transjordanian army in 1948.

Now 500,000 Jews live in about 5% of this territory – and therefore a complete return to the status quo existing at 1967 is not possible. Negotiations will need to be undertaken to redraw the international border between Israel and the newly created bi-national state of Jordan.

Will these negotiations succeed?

Certainly the prospects of success are far greater than could ever have been expected for the two- state solution for the following reasons:

  • This territorial structure has already successfully operated between 1948-1967.
  • Both national groups – identifying themselves now as Jordanians and Palestinians – are Arab and overwhelmingly Moslem – sharing a common history and a common heritage.
  • This bi-national Arab state would comprise about 80% of the territorial area of the Mandate for Palestine – whilst its neighbour – Israel – would comprise about 20% of the Mandate.
  • Israel and Jordan signed a peace treaty in 1994  containing within it agreed negotiating parameters to resolve outstanding contentious issues such as refugees, water and Jerusalem.
  • Evidence has already emerged of very close co-operation between the PLO and Jordan culminating in the signing of an agreement on 31 March 2013 recognizing Jordan’s custodianship over Jerusalem’s Holy Places.
  • Not one Jew or Arab would have to leave his current home or existing business.
  • 99% of the entire territory of the Mandate would have been allocated between Arabs and Jews with sovereignty in the remaining 1% – the  Gaza district – to be finally determined.

Instead of trying to flog a dead horse to the winning post before the outbreak of another war – wouldn’t it be more prudent for US Secretary of State Kerry, King Abdullah of Jordan, Mahmoud Abbas of the PLO and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu making judgements and hard decisions that could result in their backing a potential winner that could lead to an end to the Jewish-Arab conflict and their possibly sharing the Nobel Peace Prize?

David Singer is a Sydney Lawyer and Foundation Member of the International Analysts Network


16 Responses to “Palestine – The Bi-National State That Can Work…writes David Singer”
  1. Ben David says:

    Its rare that someone can annoy those on both on the left and the right.

    If you want to see how David has been unable to substantiate another of his delusional ideas see this link

    Every article David writes is premised on the same tired position that Isr has sovereignty over all old Palestine under the 90 year old Mandate of 1922 and that the settlements in the WB are legal (ie what the Levy report came up with). But when asked to support his claim with proper legal arguments, he is unable to do so. It became a fruitless debate with someone who was not well read on the topic and had little or no understanding of International Law.

    I hope for Isr’s sake that David is not thinking of representing Isr if this issue ever goes to the ICC. I am sure it could to a lot better.

    • David says:

      Ben David

      Before I reply to your post can you answer one question – are you the same person as Ben DR – the person with whom I am corresponding on On Line Opinion ?

    • David says:

      Ben David

      Before I reply to your post can you answer two questions:

      1. are you the same person as Ben DR – the person with whom I am corresponding on On Line Opinion ?

      2. What do you mean by the term “old Palestine”?

    • David says:

      Ben David has now admitted he is Ben DR – the person with whom I was corresponding on ON Line Opinion.

      I now post my response to this anonymous person posted on On Line Opinion 15 hours ago.

      No response has been received.

      I find your conduct insidious,deceptive and misleading.

      “#To Ben DR

      Thank you for admitting you use two different anonymous names to post on different sites. Given your admission that you also changed a quote by Professor Scobbie – I don’t wish to engage in any further correspondence with you.

      Is that the kind of conduct a lawyer should engage in? No wonder you don’t want to identify yourself publicly. Maybe you are not even a lawyer or even Jewish as you claim to be.

      Does all wisdom reside in BEN DR and Ben David ( and maybe any other names you might use) to denigrate the opinions of others like Rostow, Riebenfeld , Stone, Greif, Levy, Baker and Kaplan,because they are Zionists, Jews and perhaps even live in the West Bank?

      Does that give me the license to criticise the opinions of Berman, Scobbie and yourself because you are anti-Zionists who do not believe the Jews are legally entitled to their own State in their biblical and ancestral homeland?

      My position on the Mandate and article 80 (supported also by the ICJ in the SWA case as I have quoted to you) remains unchanged and still applicable in 2013.

      You have failed to specify the date when those rights were ended.

      The experts you produced – Scobbie and Berman – have not directly addressed the issue of The Mandate and article 80. Your attempt to claim they have in an indirect and round about manner is rejected.

      You have failed to produce any expert lawyer who has addressed the issue directly and come to a different conclusion.

      Just remember that any case only goes to Court because there are two different legal opinions – only one of which will prevail.

      it is a pity you didn’t leave OLO when you said you would (do lawyers go back on their undertakings as well?)

      Stick to your opinion if you will because I will stick to mine until a Court decides that the rights conferred on the Jewish people by article 6 of the Mandate and article 80 of the UN Charter have been extinguished and no longer apply.”

  2. Gil Solomon says:


    This will be my last comment to you on your article.
    I refuse to waste any further of my time.

    What you fail to mention is that under your scheme, Jewish settlements would end up as tiny islands surrounded by oceans of hostility. If access roads to Israel proper were blocked, there could very well be a bloodbath and the blood flowing would be Jewish. And in this bi-national fairyland of yours, what country would the Arabs be citizens of and swear allegiance to?


    When are you ever going to open your eyes to reality?

    • david says:


      Glad that you are now prepared to discuss my proposal.

      In response to your queries:

      1. Jewish settlements to be retained by Israel would be the subject of the proposed negotiations – as would security arrangements. Your concerns no doubt would certainly be high up on the agenda of matters to be addressed in those negotiations.

      2. The Arab residents of that part of the West Bank unified with Jordan would become Jordanian citizens (as they were until 1988) and swear allegiance to Jordan.

      3. The Arab residents of that part of the West Bank not unified with Jordan would become Israeli citizens and swear allegiance to Israel.

      I am happy to answer any other concerns you or anyone else wishes to raise to my proposal.

      • Gil Solomon says:


        Let’s get one thing clear.
        I’m NOT prepared to discuss your proposal in any way, shape or form.
        Your view that millions of Arabs on the West Bank would somehow swear allegiance to Israel and become citizens is a recipe for the national suicide of the Jewish state and quite frankly well beyond delusional.

        • david says:


          You need to hone up your reading and comprehension skills.

          Under my proposal – very few West Bank Arabs would be swearing allegiance to Israel. The only ones that would do so would be those left on the Israeli side of the new international border between Israel and the bi-national state of Jordan.

          Try opening up your mind beyond parroting the word “delusional”.

          After you re-read my article – I will be happy to answer any further comments you care to make.

  3. Paul Winter says:

    Ah, a further ressurection of the bi-national state delusion.

    The two-state solution will not work because the mohamedans will demand dominance and use violence to gain it even if they remain a minority. The Jews do not want a bi-national state because after a couple of millenia those living in Israel, want to exercise the basic human right of self-determination.

    Repeating a bad argument does not make it good. And perseveration is a sign of dementia.

    • David says:


      Gosh is the best you can come up with another cry of delusion to add to Gil and David – adding another of your own dementia.

      Might I suggest you read my article a little more carefully.

      The issue of Mohammedans gaining dominance or resorting to violence if they don’t get it is not an issue under my proposal – because the entire population in my proposed bi-national state will be Mohammedans with not a single Jew in sight.

  4. David says:

    Lateral thinking shoud be encouraged . David, send on to Kerry , Bibby and Abu. See
    if you get a response.

    • David says:

      Are you the David that said I was delusional? if so – I am glad you have come around to seeing the proposal in a different light.

      Why don’t you send the proposal to Bibi, Abdullah and Abbas? They or their advisors no doubt would already be aware of it from reading the media. Requests from large numbers of the public encouraging them to start such negotiations could influence their decisions.

  5. Gil Solomon says:


    Your writings are indeed becoming more delusional than ever.
    The very concept of a bi-national state means, at its core, the termination of the Jewish state.
    I think you should stick to conveyancing and whatever else you lawyers do.

    • david says:


      It might help if you cut out the rhetoric and explained your reasons.

      Israel and Jordan have a signed peace treaty that has been in existence since 1994 without having in any way advanced the termination of the Jewish State. In fact it has helped to secure it. That is what peace treaties are all about.

      Redrawing the boundary between these two sovereign states to advance that peace seems to be of benefit to both Jews and Arabs who live in the territory formerly called Palestine.

      Still I like your advice that I stick to conveyancing – because that is what I am suggesting – the re-subdivision of the territory of former Palestine so that the Jews end up with sovereignty in about 20% and the Arabs with sovereignty in about 80%..

      It wouldn’t take too long to draw a new plan of resubdivision designating the new international border to replace the existing border between Jordan and Israel.

      Why don’t you have a go and come up with your own plan of resubdivision?

  6. David says:

    David please stick to the Law from your residence in far away Sydney.
    Your bi-national idea is delusional.
    The only way is two states.
    Shalom from Jerusalem