I always assumed the only way to achieve peace in the Middle East would be if a separate Palestinian state would be recognized. With the Palestinian Authorities weeks away from applying for statehood in the UN, Palestine is closer than ever from achieving statehood, but in reality it will change nothing; peace will not be obtained, and it will fail to benefit the Palestinian people. Palestinians deserve a state, but they deserve a better state than the fractured state consisting of a divided West Bank and Gaza Strip, and a better government than the Palestinian Authority provides them. What good does gaining recognition of a disconnected state with a government plagued by internal feuding and human rights abuses? How can a state function when its two territories are separated by a country that refuses to recognize it?
The Palestinians deserve a state, but they would be better off admitted into the Israeli state than having an independent state based on the current borders and governments. It is unlikely that Israel, citing security reasons, would accept a bi-national state, but there are already Palestinians living in Israel, and if Palestinians were welcome as equal citizens, the threat of terrorism would be significantly reduced, and the state could have a more effective police force since it would operate in the currently occupied territories with cooperation of the Palestinians. Living in the Israel state would raise the standard of living for Palestinian refugees and offer more job opportunities, which would also negate an incentive for terror. There would be no disputing over Jerusalem as the capital because both the Palestinians and Israelis would share it. It is truly, in my opinion, the only way for peace; Israel will never allow a strong Palestinian state to exist next to it, and as a result, the Palestinians will continue to have sub-standard living conditions, which will lead to terrorism and the continual antagonism towards Israel by other Muslim nations. Israel must tear down its wall and accept Palestinians as equals and citizens in its nation.
People say “there is no way Palestinians and Israelis could ever get along and live together,” but that same argument was used to preserve slavery because some whites insisted that blacks and whites could never live together peacefully. Thomas Jefferson wrote that whites were too racist to ever accept blacks into society, and that blacks would never forgive whites for the treatment they endured, yet he knew that slavery could not last forever, so he proposed potentially colonizing them in Africa. The American Colonization Society created the colony of Liberia for freed slaves because they did not believe whites and blacks could (or should) co-exist, and intellectuals at the time such as Harriet Beecher Stowe supported this notion. Slavery ended, blacks were freed, and America still suffers significant race problems, but only the most extreme reactionaries still believe that blacks and whites should live in separate nations. If Israel accepted Palestinians as part of their democracy, much of the friction would subside; there would be tension, but less tension than there is now, and it would increasingly subside instead of growing, as it is now.
Keeping Palestinians in what is essentially a large prison will only increase their anger towards Israel, and the adoption of an independent Palestinian state — while progress in name — will change nothing. The best solution for the Israel-Palestine conflict is to adopt a single democratic secular state consisting of Jews, Christians, and Muslims. The hardline Jewish fundamentalists and Zionists will never approve of it, but it is the only long term solution for peace.