Recently, many right-wing Israeli officials have proposed various bills that would lead Israel to annexing most of the West Bank, including what some officials have referred to as the “Stability Plan.” At the same time, many leftists are calling for their own version of a one-state solution, albeit one that differs sharply from those put forward by Israeli annexationists. While each idea is on the opposite side of the political spectrum, they are both flawed and the two ideas feed off of one another. Indeed, the Israeli right’s one-state solution will only lead to the leftist one-state solution, and neither would be sustainable outcomes to the conflict.

The Israeli right’s Stability Plan would have Israel fully annex Area C, which encompasses roughly 60 percent of the West Bank and where the Jewish settlers and about 300,000 Palestinians live. However, Areas A and B, comprised of 169 territorial islands and where over two million Palestinians reside, would only be given “autonomy on steroids,” as Naftali Bennett describes it. This means the Palestinian Authority, or more likely a more complacent mechanism, would assume civilian responsibilities of the Palestinians, even though they would still be under Israeli sovereignty. But this is something the vast majority of the international community will never accept as a permanent solution.

Diaspora Affairs and Education Minister Naftali Bennett has long tried to sell this annexation plan. He has insisted that it will allow the Palestinians to have their right to self-determination through autonomy. One could also argue that other national communities only have autonomy rather than independence and that therefore Bennet’s annexation and autonomy plan would be acceptable under international norms. However, as Evan Gottesman has pointed out, while it is true that other national communities, such as the Catalans in Spain, Bretons in France, and the Northern Irish in the United Kingdom, only have autonomy rather than an independence, they are still allowed to participate in the national elections of their respective central governments (and even then, many still share grievances over a lack of statehood). In contrast, officials like Bennett are offering the Palestinians autonomy on steroids to keep them out of Israeli national elections. South Africa implemented a similar autonomy policy to keep black South Africans out of national elections, but that is precisely what led to its international isolation and created a civil rights struggle. Thus, if Israel were to implement the annexationists’ Stability Plan, it may also create a civil rights struggle and lay the groundwork towards the second dangerous version of a one-state solution.

Many leftists have put forward a one-state rights based approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict modeled after post-apartheid South Africa. For instance, Michigan Democratic Congresswoman Rashida Talib has called for a one-state solution where everyone has equal rights. She has also announced her plan to lead a congressional delegation to the West Bank to show American politicians what life is like for Palestinians living under Israeli military rule, undoubtedly with the aim of drawing comparisons to the living conditions of African-Americans during the Jim Crow era and the lives of black South Africans under apartheid. If Israel goes ahead with the Stability Plan, the comparison will gain greater validity and the Palestinians themselves may begin to adopt the one-state rights based approach. Indeed, if Israel fully integrates Area C into Israel proper, the Palestinians will see the idea of independence as no longer viable (many are already skeptical). However, that does not mean the Palestinians will become complacent and accept the status quo as a solution, but will rather change their demand from independence to equal rights. Nevertheless, the one-state rights based approach is deeply flawed and dangerous as well.

While the Palestinians may be willing to accept Israeli citizenship in order to receive their basic rights, that will only be sufficient in the short-term. In the long-run, both Israeli Jews and Palestinian Arabs will want to preserve their independent national identities. As Peter Beinart has argued, one fundamental difference between South Africa and Israel-Palestine is that the majority of both the black and white populations identified themselves as South African and the land as South Africa. In contrast, the majority of Jews residing between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea identify themselves as Israeli and the land as Israel, and the majority of Arabs on the ground identify themselves as Palestinian and the land as Palestine. So unless the two communities are willing to merge their identities and call the land “Isra-stine,” one state will not be able to achieve the nationalist aspirations of both peoples.

A more accurate comparison of a bi-national state for Israelis and Palestinians may be the reunification of Yugoslavia. If the Balkan states united under one sovereign government that granted everyone equal individual rights would the various ethnic groups suddenly have peaceful relations? Unlikely, because they would still hold onto their collective memories of the 1990s conflict and thus harbor hostility towards the other groups. Similarly, even if Israelis and Palestinians all had equal rights under the same government, they would maintain their collective memories of the conflict. While Israelis Jews would still be suffering from the siege mentality and fearful of Palestinian terror attacks, the Palestinians would still remember the Nakba and the years of living under Israeli military rule, and equal rights will not erase those memories or fears and prevent the risk of sectarian violence.

The stagnant peace process has allowed people on the right and the left to offer their own versions of a one-state solution, but both have fundamental holes. Israeli and Palestinian territorial maximalist ambitions are something the international community will never accept and only lead to isolation. On the other end of the spectrum, the leftist one-state utopia is a fantasy that will break down into ethnic civil war. Both the radical right and left need to recognize the conflict for what it is: a conflict based on nationalist rivalries, and one state cannot reconcile the conflicting grievances of two peoples.