Moment of Inversion Toward Palestinian Statehood

The concept refers to a shift in the Palestinian official position towards a demand for a One-State Solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Definition

The concept of Moment of Inversion toward Palestinian Statehood (hereinafter Moment of Inversion) refers to a moment when the official Palestinian position, currently represented by the PLO, will shift from demanding a Two-State Solution to demanding a one-State Solution.

From the Israeli perspective, the effect of this shift may be to invert Palestinian and Israeli positions from, at present, Israel being asked, by the Palestinian side and the international community, to concede to the demand of Palestinian Statehood to Israel demanding and the Palestinian side opposing the coming into being of a Palestinian State.

Background

The Moment of Inversion will be the moment when the official Palestinian position, will shift

  • from demanding a two-state solution - i.e., a right to self-determination by the Palestinian people within a separate, independent sovereign Palestinian state coexisting with the State of Israel;

  • to demanding a One-State Solution - i.e., one democratic state in Mandatory Palestine (i.e., the area of Israel Proper, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip) with equal rights for Jews and Palestinians.

The Moment of Inversion may take one or both two forms:

  1. Formal / Declaratory Form – The PLO takes formal steps to invert its demand for right of self-determination within a Two-State Solution, such as by annulling the Oslo Process and its agreements, dismantling the Negotiations Affairs Department, calling upon Israel to continue its occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and finally demanding equal rights for Palestinians within a unitary state.
  2. Operational Form – Measures to dismantle the Palestinian Authority or discontinue municipal and civil services provided by Palestinian authorities to the Palestinian population in the West Bank and Gaza Strip with the intention of forcing Israel to reinstate Civil Administration.

Timing of the Moment of Inversion

It is unclear how close Israel and the Palestinians are to the Moment of Inversion.

The PLO and the Palestinian Authority hold many attributes of statehood under international law and have received recognition by many nations and international organizations as an equal member in the family of nations (See State of Palestinian Statehood). To date, although there calls for a One-State Solution,1 the official Palestinian position has not yet rejected the Two-State Solution.

However, proponents of the one-state solution continue to work toward a Moment of Inversion.

The Moment of Inversion as a Strategic Turning Point for Israel

Unless properly prepared for, the Moment of Inversion could constitute a fundamental surprise to Israel with serious national security implications. The Moment of Inversion would overturn an existing premise, whether explicit or implicit, that the end-state of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will be a Two-State Solution. Implications of the Moment of Inversion include:

Israeli-Palestinian Negotiations – The Moment of Inversion would change the dynamics of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations:

  • At present, before the Moment of Inversion, Israel is expected to "agree to" Palestinian Statehood, a demand of the Palestinian side and the international community. In other words, Palestinian Statehood currently is an Israeli "give" and a Palestinian "take";

  • Following the Moment of Inversion, Israel may become the party that actively seeks to bring into being a Palestinian State, whereas the Palestinian side will oppose that request. In other words, after the Moment of Inversion, Palestinian Statehood may become an Israeli "take" and a Palestinian "give", if it is on the table of negotiations at all.

Public Diplomacy – A Moment of Inversion may shift the debate within the international community:

  • From present, a debate within the framework of a Two-State Solution about the parameters to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict;

  • Following the Moment of Inversion, a debate about whether to adopt a One-State Solution or a Two-State Solution.

Consequently, the Moment of Inversion will reflect a strategic turning point in the dynamics of the One-State Threat, the interplay of forces that work to undermine the Jewishness of the State of Israel by promoting the One-State Solution and undermining the Two State Solution (See also Contemporary One-State Argument; Anti-Zionism). The Moment of Inversion will usher in a period of increased threat to the Zionist vision of the State of Israel.

Possible Tactical Use of the Moment of Inversion

The Moment of Inversion could also represent a new tactical approach by the Palestinian side. Factions on the Palestinian side may use the Moment of Inversion as a tactical tool to promote their right to self-determination in a separate Palestinian State. The logic would be that since a One-State Solution presents an existential threat to the Jewishness of the State of Israel, Israel would not be able to ignore it2.



1 See, e.g., Michael Tarazi, “Why Not Two Peoples, One State?,” New York Times, 3/10/04; Ahmad Samih Khalidi, “A One-State Solution,” The Guardian, 29/9/03; Mcgril Chris, “Intifada leader uses courtroom to point to one-state solution”, The Guardian, 30/9/03; Judy Tony, “Israel: The Alternative”, The New York Review of Books, Vol. 50, No. 16 23/10/03.
2 See, e.g., Michael Tarazi, “Kicking the Beehive,” Ha’aretz, 20/10/04; (“Some Palestinians may advocate one-state as a threat – ‘Jews are so threatened by equality that the best way to get a fair two-state solution is to say we only want one’”).
More Sources
  1. Judt Tony, “Israel: The Alternative”, The New York Review of Books, Vol. 50, No. 16, 23/10/03.
  2. Khalidi Ahmad Samih, “A One-State Solution,” The Guardian, 29/9/03.
  3. Mcgril Chris, “Intifada leader uses courtroom to point to one-state solution”, The Guardian, 30/9/03.
  4. Tarazi Michael, “Kicking the Beehive” Ha’aretz, 20/10/04.
  5. Tarazi Michael, “Why Not Two Peoples, One State?,” New York Times 3/10/04.