Is a Two-State Solution a Roadmap to Disaster?
Frederic Leder and Ricky Greenfield
For two thousand years, with no real power of their own, Jews survived outside their own state by using compromise to buy another day or postpone imminent destruction. Once in a state of their own, Jews, unfortunately, continued this practice and as a result Israelis today constantly think about “what do the Arabs want?” and “what will it take for them to leave us in peace?” instead of asking what is best for Israel.
From the first British partition of the Palestine Mandate that created TransJordan to the tragedy of the 1930s – when in the shadow of the Holocaust, the British acceded to Arab pressure and stopped Jewish immigration – Jews were willing to accept any deal that got them a state. In 1947, when that time finally arrived, Jews were again more than willing to create an Arab State on land originally set aside for a Jewish homeland in exchange for the hope of peace. If they had accepted the compromise, the Arabs would now have had what would be their 22nd state in the region, but instead they refused. They only wanted a state if the Jews were denied theirs. And when they went to war to try to eliminate the nascent state of Israel, they failed. But the war they started then has never stopped and continues today. Israel’s Arab neighbors, 300 million strong, have never relented in their efforts to end the Jewish presence in the region.
Ask Jews anywhere in the world what they really want for Israel and they will inevitably say peace. To get it many are willing, even eager, to offer Israeli land to fulfill what is now called a two-state solution: an Israeli state and an Arab one living side by side in peace. Supposedly. But every Israeli entreaty to that end has been meet with rejection followed by violence. Unwittingly, this constant penchant to compromise encourages Arab intransigence on the issue of Israel’s existence as their objective is to weaken and then eliminate Israel, with the two-state solution being the means to that end.
Meanwhile, elites in Israel and America, as well as the U.S. State Department, focus on the two-state solution as an end in itself. It is not the better outcome that matters, but how to divide this little country, Israel, and that is on top of too many agendas.
No matter that the failed Oslo Accords demonstrated this solution’s weakness. Instead of bringing peace, the Accords ushered in a period of unparalleled mayhem costing Israel close to 2,000 lives and violently touching uncounted families throughout the country. Even in the face of Oslo’s failure and after more ineffective Israeli concessions in both Gaza and Israel’s north, those who champion the two-state idea persist.
Something that fails so consistently ought to be discarded, but this truism doesn’t apply here. Releasing Arab terrorists from Israeli jails, evacuating Gaza’s 10,000 Jews, pulling back from the northern border are violence creating acts of a piece with the two-state solution. Each Israeli concession has been a springboard for further attempts to destroy the Jewish state.
So what is Israel to do?
First and foremost, Israel must look to its own interests with a plan that delivers a safe and secure environment to its citizens. The Jewish penchant to compromise in order to survive has to be finally put to rest. Israel’s answer is clear: the natural barriers from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea afford her the most secure borders available. Inside these borders is the place for compromise and accommodation and that’s where Israel can reach out to her Arab population and attempt to satisfy their needs. They can accommodate all of their aspirations except their desire to destroy the Jewish state. While it wouldn’t include a national entity for the Arab minority, an internal agreement can deliver to the resident populations the personal freedom and self governance to better their lives. And, the willing Arabs of Gaza, Judea and Samaria can be engaged in a social contract that might afford them a number of alternatives such as joint Israeli-Jordanian citizenship, financial incentives for relocation and an expansion of a Gaza territory into the Sinai desert under Egyptian control.
But even absent a successful internal arrangement being made, it is clear that Israel would, to a much greater extent be able to defend herself far better behind natural borders than the synthetic ones being proposed now. Most importantly, taking the two-state solution off the table will extinguish the hope harbored by Israel’s enemies of her demise. Alternatively, the 1967 borders would increase the destabilization of the region and plays into the hands of Jihadi fundamentalists in Gaza and elsewhere.
As long as Israelis themselves entertain a deal based on the false hope of a two-state solution they cannot expect friends in Washington or adversaries in the capitols of Europe to allow them anything else. It’s time to move forward in another way and the idea of a one state solution must start in Israel. It is up to Israel to pursue it without compromise.
Frederic Leder, Ph.D., is a retired petroleum company executive involved in both energy research and strategic planning during his career who lives in Fairfield Connecticut, and Ricky Greenfield is the publisher of the Connecticut Jewish Ledger