Is the ‘Two-State-Solution’ realistic?
Moshe Dann – FrontPageMagazine
“No,” insists Gen (ret) Giora Eiland, former head of Israel’s National Security Council. In a bold critique of current Israeli policy, Eiland said that negotiations to achieve a Declaration of Principles based on the “two-state-solution” plan could not work. “The concept is wrong.”
These views seem to be shared by most Israeli military and security experts not serving in the government or IDF and many who are, but can’t speak out. Yet, no major media will cover the story.
Eiland, one of Israel’s top strategic and intelligence advisors, was responsible for implementing Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza in 2005. Today, however, he readily admits that it was a mistake.
Despite warnings at the time from the entire military and intelligence community, then Prime Minister Ariel Sharon went ahead with the destruction of 21 Jewish communities in the Gaza Strip, and total withdrawal, including the critical border area with Egypt – a narrow strip called the Philadelphia Corridor riddled with smugglers tunnels. The vacuum was filled by the Iranian-backed terrorist organization, Hamas.
The decision to end Israel’s presence in the Gaza Strip, Eiland said, was made by Sharon’s political advisors, but would not identify them. “And we keep making the same mistakes,” he noted.
A “shelf-agreement” now under discussion by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and President Mohammed Abbas would also fail, Eiland indicated, for the following reasons:
(1) There’s no trust. The PA has done nothing to stop incitement and terrorism, despite a near-freeze in settlement building. The PA sees any expansion of settlements as an indication that Israel will not withdraw from those areas.
(2) Neither government can make fundamental compromises and survive. Israel cannot withdraw to the Armistice lines of 1949 (as the PA demands); the Palestinians refuse to give up the ‘Right of Return’ of millions of “Palestinian refugees” to Israel.
(3) Hamas, who controls Gaza and are likely to extend their hegemony to the West Bank if Israel withdraws, will undermine any agreement signed by the PA.
“The concept of a two-state-solution, with an independent Palestinian state is naïve,” Eiland stated. “It’s not about details; those have been well-known since the negotiations during Clinton’s presidency. The problem is that it’s impossible to guarantee what will happen if the PA violates the agreements.”
The obsession with the “two-state-solution” in its current form, moreover, prevents the emergence of any other option. “There are other possibilities, but they aren’t being considered,” Eiland suggested. “For example, Jordan and Egypt could be involved.”
“Two-thirds of Jordan’s population considers themselves Palestinian,” Eiland elaborated. “Jordan would be the logical partner in any solution, especially because a Hamas dominated state would present a direct threat to its existence.”
“Similarly, Egypt does not want a terrorist-run state on its border, since it would probably ally with the radical Moslem Brotherhood, a terrorist group in Egypt.”
“A Palestinian state, as envisioned is not viable or stable economically, politically, or militarily. It will, inevitably, become radicalized, dominated by the most powerful groups.”
“Most important, the Palestinians don’t want a ‘two-state solution.’ They rejected it in 1947/48, again in 1967, in 2000 and today. They prefer to be seen as ‘victims,’ and seek revenge. Given the choice between no Palestinian state and no Israel, on one hand, and being divided among neighboring Arabs states, on the other, 80% would choose the latter.”
“As long as Israel exists and refuses to agree to the ‘Palestinian Right of Return’ no solution is possible.”
“There is no basis for the illusion of a ‘two-state solution’ as now being presented,” Eiland concluded. “The Arab world isn’t interested in resolving the conflict, and the risks Israel faces in this scenario are too great.”
“We need to think more creatively, and be open to more options, especially a regional approach.”
The author, a former asst professor of History, is a writer and journalist living in Jerusalem.