The Fantasy of a Two-State Solution
Beyond a term that sounds good to the ear, the "two-state solution" is an unrestrained illusion and nothing more than a waste of time, at least for now.
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There have been many reactions to the Palestinian massacre in Israel on October 7th, 2023.
The most bizarre and misguided ones are not those who have marched in Western capitals chanting “Gas the Jews!” and “Globalize the intifada!” — but reactions from politicians who believe that a “two-state solution” will somehow improve the current situation, and the decades-long Israeli-Palestinian saga, for all parties involved.
You could make the argument that politicians are just talking the talk to make it seem like they support what, in name, sounds like a great solution to a problem that just won’t go away. But it appears that some politicians actually think a “two-state solution” will actually cure this cancer. Multiple advisers to U.S. President Joe Biden are reportedly working on all sorts of post-war plans for Gaza that lead to some sort of Palestinian state.
Earlier this month, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu apparently rejected a proposal from U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken that would have seen Saudi Arabia normalize relations with the Jewish state in exchange for Israel agreeing to provide the Palestinians with a pathway toward statehood.
If we were still in 1947 — the year that the United Nations published its Partition Plan for Palestine, which recommended the creation of independent Arab and Jewish states — a “two-state solution” would make perfect sense. But the Arabs rejected that plan, waged several wars against Israel, and vowed its genocidal destruction for decades. I know some people don’t want to talk about history, or don’t know about it, but this isn’t America. The Middle East is a region steeped in history.
Nowadays, it seems that the West is back to their old tricks: a failed approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that revolves around “getting to yes” in the peace process without transforming Palestinian governance into being responsible and trustworthy. At least according to Middle East scholar Jonathan Schanzer in his book, “State of Failure.”
By myopically focusing on “yes,” the West is ensuring that Palestinian governance, both in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, will remain corrupt and therefore illegitimate in the eyes of the Palestinian people. The right approach, Schanzer argued, would involve Palestinian fiscal reform and institution-building, while simultaneously negotiating the thorny issues with Israel.
But neither the Israelis nor the Palestinians seem interested in talking about these “thorny issues.” Going back to the 1990s, the Oslo peace agreements between Israel and the Palestinians were not so much about realizing a peaceful vision as they were the product of “constructive ambiguity.”1 After decades of war, terrorism, and bloodshed, the Norwegian negotiators thought it was best to be ambiguous about the core issues and leave them unresolved, rather than force the sides to adopt positions and make concessions which they might not be ready to do.
“Instead of building trust and allowing the parties to adjust to the reality of the inevitable compromises which were necessary for peace, it merely allowed each side to persist in its own self-serving interpretation of what the Accords implied and to continue the very behavior which destroyed trust on the other side,” wrote Einat Wilf, a left-leaning former Israeli politician. “And so, when the time came, a few short years later, to settle the core issues, the ensuing failure was all but inevitable.”
The devil is indeed in the details. And the details are largely ignored by Western politicians because they know, deep down, that Palestinian grievances — such as the ridiculous “right of return” — directly conflict with the Jewish state’s reasonable security requirements.
While the rest of the world goes crazy after Israel’s wildly unpopular prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, holds a press conference to unabashedly reject the prospect of Palestinian statehood after the Israel-Hamas war, vowing to resist the United States on this matter, Israelis are easily able to separate the two: Many of us prefer new leadership in Israel, and we also don’t want to live next to a Palestinian state, since we know that the decades of this conflict are not about the absence of a Palestinian state, but rather about the existence of a Jewish one.
Don’t just take it from me and Netanyahu, though. Khaled Hassan, an Egyptian-born Islamist terrorism researcher, had this to say:
“I know that there’s a lot of confusion over ‘post-war’ arrangements. I want to make this perfectly clear: I worked with, met, and personally knew many Palestinians, including the most senior diplomats and politicians. Every single one of them believes and hopes that the two-state solution is a stepping stone towards the ‘final solution,’ where Israel is eradicated and a Palestinian state, from the river to the sea, is established. This is an account of every interaction I can recall. Make of that what you will.”2
Gareth Cliff, a South African radio personality and television host who is not Jewish and has no ties to Israel, put it another way:
“If you wail and scream about your land, dignity, rights, oppression, and poverty but are willing to murder, rape, kidnap, torture, or humiliate children; then I don’t have to listen to your reasons. When the video footage, photographs and stories of October 7th’s carnage come not from ‘Israeli propaganda’ but from the Hamas terrorists themselves, then how am I to read anything else into it but that you want credit for these atrocities? You want me to know you did it. You want me to know you are proud of it. You want me to see you for who you are. Well, I do. Hamas aren’t hiding the ball. Their leader, Ismail Haniyeh (safely skulking in Qatar) made this clear. He celebrated dead Jews, not territory won, nor Gazan lives saved.”
This is why, to talk of a two-state solution for the time being, beyond the fact that it is unrestrained illusion, is to effectively reward the Palestinians for what Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad unleashed on October 7th. But Jewish blood was not shed so that the Palestinians could receive a reward, and acting in such a way would only further encourage them to murder more Jews.
Here’s another way to think about it: When a person is a rapist or murderer, they are reprimanded, not rewarded, right? No one says, “Let’s hope they can change, so they can keep living next to us.” Why, then, do some people say, “Let’s hope the Palestinians can change and then give them a state.”
Hence why it is time for the rest of the world to wake up and realize that there is no relevant, realistic path to a two-state solution. Even Palestinian leadership, despite what their easy-to-utter soundbites suggest, is actually opposed to statehood for all intents and purposes. And I am not just referring to the genocidal, fascist, Islamic fundamentalist ideology of Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad.
The Palestinian Authority, which governs Palestinians in the West Bank, has been an incredibly corrupt organization since it was created in the 1990s. So is its dominant party, Fatah. Together they form a motley crew of elites solely seeking to maintain power and willing to do whatever it takes to ensure their positions remain intact.
And the West Bank, full of Palestinians furious with their government, is just as much a hotbed for terrorism as Gaza. The IDF just finished a 40-hour counter-terror operation in Tulkarm, a Palestinian city in the West Bank. They inspected a thousand homes and found 400 bombs. How many bombs do you think police would find if they swept through your neighborhood?
And so far in Gaza, the IDF has not found a single school or mosque without weapons or entrances to terror tunnels. Don’t you find that at least a little strange?
I know we now live in a twisted world of post-truth, where people are frightened by the notion of slightly offending others, but we have to be honest: There is something seriously wrong with Palestinian culture, and something even more wrong with how the world views them as nothing more than victims to some egregious Zionist plot.
In the 1800s and pre-state 1900s, Zionism had nothing to do with the Palestinians, yet the Palestinians have made it part of their undying mission to ensure Jews never feel safe in our indigenous homeland.
At any given moment, it is more important to the Palestinians that the Jews won’t have their own state than it is for them to develop a successful, prosperous country alongside one for the Jews. The billions worth of so-called “humanitarian aid” that the Palestinians receive is predominantly used for continuing the struggle of “liberating Palestine from the river to the sea” than for its stated purpose.
“It seems to me that the time has come to put an end to all the stories of the ‘poor Palestinians’ who constantly need to be helped, to be rehabilitated, to be built for them, and given to them, as if they are unable to do anything without outside help from a compassionate world,” wrote Einat Wilf. “The Palestinians’ only problem is destructive priorities and ideology, not a lack of capabilities.”3
Presuming the Palestinians even want their own state — after living in Israel for 10 years, I cannot confidently say that they do — the time to advocate for one was before October 7th, not after it.
Now, it is incumbent on them, not on Israel, to prove over a significant period of time that they can be true peace partner to Israel and a beneficial member of the Middle East. They have all the resources, all the connections, all the aid in the world — and the world’s only refugee agency dedicated to a specific population. In the meantime, Antony Blinken and other Biden aides ought to stop wasting everyone’s time with efforts to revive a “two-state solution.”
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is weak, old, corrupt, extremely unpopular, and thus lacks a public mandate for major decisions. Hamas is a self-proclaimed Islamic resistance movement with an ideological program of Islam and the Koran as its constitution, claiming in its charter to be one of the links in the chain of struggle against “the Zionist invaders” — and that the Day of Judgment would not come until the Muslims fight and kill the Jews.
Therefore, the most important task that the West can accomplish right now is to replicate the diplomatic arrangement from this past November, by securing another hostage release deal, and then allowing Israel to continue its war against Hamas, until the terror group agrees to relinquish governing control of Gaza and go into exile somewhere else. This will do more to save Palestinian and Israeli lives and make a real difference on the ground, both for the Palestinians and Israel, far more than senselessly preaching about a “two-state solution.”
Plus, Israelis are still reeling from the profoundly detrimental trauma of October 7th to even contemplate a peace process with the Palestinians. Heck, we still have more than 100 hostages being held in Gaza, including a child who just turned one years old in captivity, and the world wants us to think about peace. Thanks but no thanks.
Israel’s president, Isaac Herzog, who was previously a left-leaning politician, was a little more statesmanlike about this topic last week, saying: “When nations come forward and say ‘two-state solution,’ they have to first deal with a preliminary question, which is a core question for human beings: Are we offered real safety? Israelis lost trust in the peace process because they could see that terror is glorified by our neighbors.”
“The Fatal Flaw That Doomed the Oslo Accords.” The Atlantic.
Khaled Hassan on X
Einat Wilf on X