Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, July 2007, page 56

Waging Peace

Meron Benvenisti Proposes One-State Solution With “Soft Boundaries”

Former Deputy Mayor of Jerusalem Meron Benvenisti (l) at his book launch for Son of the Cypresses, with moderator Michael Van Dusen, deputy director of the Wilson Center (Staff photo M. Asi).

FORMER DEPUTY Mayor of Jerusalem Meron Benvenisti launched his new book, Son of the Cypresses: Memories, Reflections, and Regrets from a Political Life, at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, DC on April 18.

In his book, Benvenisti, a former Woodrow Wilson Center Fellow, presents a different solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. “I still maintain as I did in 1979 that the old solution of two states for two peoples is obsolete,” he said.

Instead, he proposes two lands separated by soft boundaries under a single state. “The entire land will be divided by soft boundaries,” explained Benvenisti, citing as an example the borders between Maryland and Washington, DC. This way, Benvenisti believes, “there will be a connection between land and ethnicity, and at the same time free movement.

Rather than being fixated on the current two state solution, he argued, “We have to explore [other possibilities]” because “that piece of land, with what happened in 1948 and ’68, cannot accommodate two sovereignties. I think it is important that we not discard the idea of soft boundaries...and instead dream of Israel/Palestine under a federated state,” he concluded.

Although Benvenisti served as deputy mayor of Jerusalem from 1971 to 1978, he said he regretted not working in the city government longer, because that is where he feels he had the most impact. He currently is a columnist for Haaretz, one of the largest newspapers in Israel.

For more information, visit <www.wilsoncenter.org>.

Marjan Asi