The way Simon sees it (and he’s one of the only major media figures to engage clearly and honestly on this subject), Israel has three options:
Demographers predict that within ten years Arabs will outnumber Jews in Israel, the West Bank and Gaza. Without a separate Palestinian state the Israelis would have three options, none of them good. They could try ethnic cleansing, drive the Palestinians out of the West Bank, or they could give the Palestinians the vote. That would be the democratic option but it would mean the end of the Jewish state. Or they could try apartheid – have the minority Israelis rule the majority Palestinians, but apartheid regimes don’t have a very long life.
To reiterate Simon’s narration, the choice here is between ethnic cleansing, aparthied and democracy. Israel has tried the first two to varying degrees for the past 60 years, but neither has worked out. The presence of Palestinians in this so-called “land without a people” means that the two major goals of Zionism (a state of Israel that covers all of Palestine, and a state of Israel predicated solely on ethnic/religious lines) are fundamentally opposed to each other. And when one considers that 25% of Israeli first-graders are Arab, it seems high time to try the third option. I’ll save my thoughts about why I prefer a one state solution and how I would envision implementing it, but for now it will suffice for me to say that I am strongly in favor of one-state because it is the only truly democratic solution. And I have a feeling Bob Simon might agree with me.