This Is How a Two-State Solution and ‘Peace Talks’ Erase Palestinian Self-Determination

“’I do believe that the time for a de-colonial, one-state solution, equal citizenship for all, and full partnership in building a healthy society has come, and the sooner we begin to work for it, the better for all involved.” – Dr. Hatem Bazian, in the conclusion of his book Palestine…it is Something Colonial, page 290.

First, and I do not say this often enough, but feel compelled to include it in an article on settler colonialism: I am writing from unceded, occupied, Ohlone territory. All struggles for freedom are connected.

I am writing this fully aware of how highly charged the discourse currently is on the question of freedom and justice for the Palestinian people. I am aware of the outcry of Palestinian voices advocating for the need for self-determination. I am aware of the frustration and rage over non-Palestinians discuss what has happened to Palestine and the immense harm this has caused.  As many people are saying, and we have just seen with the Trump administration, the so-called “peace talks” have done one thing really well, and it is not peace.  The peace talks have gone a long way towards legitimizing and advancing Zionist goals and the occupation, and significantly harmed the work for freedom, justice, and peace.

However, as a writer, and this being a form of activism for me, as words can be powerful, I came to understand something new which I feel a sense of urgency to share.  And as it was a revelation for me, I thought that perhaps it would also shed light on the pressing questions we are all so concerned with of how settler colonialism can be dismantled and the Palestinian people can have justice.

In the past, I have often wondered the differences between the one-state and two-state solutions, and which would be better for Palestinian liberation. Even though I could see how the demands of Palestinian activists could be met in a one-state solution, I’ve often heard a two-state solution promoted as the ideal answer. In fact, virtually all I have ever heard being spoken of is a two-state solution — until recently.  Even at webinars and conferences, the conversation is about a two-state solution. I had questioned how this could work, and why the solution wasn’t answering Palestinian demands by ending apartheid.

And here is why I am writing this article.  One of the most central Palestinian activists, Dr. Hatem Bazian, in his book on Palestine, Palestine…it is Something Colonial, to my surprise, concludes his book with the idea that a one-state solution is the direction that he thinks Palestinians need to go in.

He says, “’I do believe that the time for a de-colonial, one state solution, equal citizenship for all and full partnership in building a healthy society has come and the sooner we begin to work for it the better for all involved.”

If Dr. Hatem Bazian is stating two-state solution peace talks are actually manifesting as setbacks for the Palestinian freedom struggle, then perhaps our leaders ought to take the one-state solution seriously, as Dr. Bazian suggests.

I admit I have been wrong in my writing on Israel in the past, by previously saying things like Israel has a right to exist.  I now realize this isn’t true.  They have robbed the Palestinian people of their land, and are depriving them of their rights. I regret my misunderstanding of the situation around which I now have more clarity.

It is clear to me as well that other people are as misguided as I have been. (And I’m still learning every day.) I wanted to write this to put it out there that this is the solution that one of the most prominent leaders on this issue has spoken out in favor of.  Before reading this book, I did not know he wanted a one-state solution.  Maybe other people did not either.

Notably, President Biden either doesn’t know that this is a clear Palestinian goal at this point, or has decided to disregard it.  He has stated his desire for a two-state solution. Which, why does his opinion even matter?!

Bernie Sanders also believes in a two-state solution — again, why are we inserting our opinions into it instead of advocating for and deferring to Palestinian self-determination?

If Dr. Hatem Bazian is stating two-state solution peace talks are actually manifesting as setbacks for the Palestinian freedom struggle, then perhaps our leaders ought to take the one-state solution seriously, as Dr. Bazian suggests.

Sarah is a social worker in the San Francisco Bay Area with at-risk and homeless youth. She likes to paint, drum, sing, and spend quality time with her family and God.