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The End of the Two-State Solution

Losing the only right answer

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Over the weekend, two notable voices seemed to turned their backs on a peaceful solution to the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict. Thomas Friedman, the eternally cheerful Times columnist, lamented the impending retirement of Defense Minister Ehud Barak, whom Friedman designates as the last effective adherent of the “Yitzhak Rabin school.”

Rabin, the former Israeli prime minister and war hero, started exactly where Bibi did: This is a dangerous neighborhood, and a Jewish state is not welcome here. But Rabin didn’t stop there. He also believed that Israel was very powerful and, therefore, should judiciously use its strength to try to avoid becoming a garrison state, fated to rule over several million Palestinians forever.

Even more morose was Leon Wieseltier, who sounded the death knell for peace in his life.

I have been thinking about lost causes because I have concluded that one of my causes is lost. I no longer believe that peace between Israelis and Palestinians will occur in my lifetime. I have not changed my views; I have merely lost my hopes.

It’s hard to blame them. Both give a grim diagnosis between Israel’s unilateral withdrawals from southern Lebanon and Gaza, which brought more violence and other regional instability in the region doing little to gird the conditions for peace. It doesn’t help that there are growing murmurs about the likelihood of a third intifada.

But what about the alternative? Friedman was joined in the Times by Saree Makdisi, who announced the death of the two-state solution as the opportunity for one state. This is a cynical idea that seems to be gaining traction at the fringes of each side. Makdisi wrote:

A campaign for rights and equality in a single state is a project toward which the Palestinians will now be able to turn with the formidable international support they have already developed at both the diplomatic and the grassroots levels, including a global boycott and sanctions movement whose bite Israel has already felt.

For Palestinians, in any case, one state is infinitely preferable to two, for the simple reason that no version of the two-state solution that has ever been proposed has meaningfully sought to address the rights of more than the minority of Palestinians who actually live in the territory on which that state is supposed to exist.

Jeffrey Goldberg, before detailing the nightmare of a one-state reality, took Makdisi to task:

What is remarkable about Makdisi’s column is what is remarkable about all calls for a one-state solution: He writes as if a) the Jewish people do not deserve a state in even a part of their historic homeland; b) the Palestinians were never offered a state of their own (why can’t, just for once, an advocate of the one-state solution acknowledge the fact that the United Nations offered the Arabs their own state in Palestine in 1947, an offer their leaders rejected? Not to mention offers made to Yasser Arafat and Mahmoud Abbas?) and c) the one-state solution is actually a solution.

The argument for one state may be weak, but the nightmare of it is quickly becoming real, whether fools champion it or not. The window seems to be closing–inexorably–on the opportunity to make a lasting peace that would maintain a Jewish democratic state.

Even as Arab rejectionism remains the leading cause for the failure of peace, the Jewish world–its scholars, spiritual leaders, and public intellectuals–should begin to think soberly about how to handle the crises ahead. There is no Iron Dome for demography. And there is no hasbara strong enough to keep Israel popular in the Diaspora when the Jewish majority is gone.

Earlier: One-State Pollution

The Full Israeli Experience
The One-State Nightmare [Atlantic]
Losing Hope on Israeli-Palestinian Peace [TNR]
If Not Two States, Then One {NYT]

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A Palestinian state controlled by Hamas makes no sense whatsoever. Isn’t one Iran enough? So Israel should consider ceding Gaza back to Egypt, the state that controlled it before the 1967 war. As for the West Bank, Israel should work with Jordan, the state that controlled it before the 1967 war, on returning most of it to Jordan. The Palestinians can then make their case with Egypt and Jordan-good luck with that.

CygnusA81 says:

If E-1 is out of bounds for Israel to keep in a final status talk agreement, then the Oslo Accords has been a farce to begin with. Israel went into the agreement with the understanding that it would be keep a small section of Judea and Samaria.

Now the Europeans are coming out and stating that they lied to Israel about the foundations of the peace accords. If Rabin knew that Europe’s position has always been the 1948 Armistice lines, he would had never signed onto Oslo.

A Person says:

And what about the Occupation?

    victor friedlander says:

    Strangely, no mention was made in the article about the extensive Jewish settlement in the West bank and E. Jerusalem (some 50,000 settlers CIA figures), settlements of considerable size in the heart of the West bank (Ariel and Maale Adumim), or the threatened construction of a Jewish suburb on the outskirts of Jerusalem that will effectively block all access to the city from the Northern part of the still occupied territories. No mention was made of what is in effect an apartheid policy that has been in place in the West bank for some 30 years. (segregation of roads and highways, military checkpoints for almost every Palestinian community, and control of the Palestinian economy by the govt. of Israel). No mention was made of the Judaisation of Jerusalem and Hebron. The excuses for all these repressive policies are legion: security (for settlements that should never have been founded, land that was purchased (often by fraudulent means) and claims that the West bank was somehow never a recognized part of any state (patently untrue).

    True enough the Palestinian leadership rejected repeated arrangements for partition: UN resolutions 181, 242, and 338 as well as offers by Baraq and by Olmert. Nevertheless, Israel’s settlement policies and physical constructions and military systems to realize and preserve apartheid policies have created a situation in which a two state solution is a political and physical impossibility. Without the adoption by the govt. of Israel of very painful policies of abandonment of many settlements and resettlement of the Jews of the West bank within the green line or the adoption of Palestinian citizenship by the Jews of the West bank there is little hope of a two-state solution, or indeed anything but a one-state solution


julis123 says:

Don’t be so hysterical, there is nothing new here. The Palestinians have refused an offer of a state 3 times in the past 20 years. They are obviously not interested in their own state.

On no Thomas Friedman!!! He has been wrong about nearly everything that he has said about the middle east. Notice that the voices talking about a 1 state solution are Ashkenazim outside of Israel. More than half of Israelis come from Arab lands where they were mistreated and finally kicked out. I don’t see any Jew who has lived under Arab rule ever agreeing to that again.

It may take a while but there will not be a one state solution.

    CygnusA81 says:

    Plus, all the people who are pushing for a ‘one-state solution’ know that there would be a civil war and the Jews would be forced to leave by the barrel of the gun.

    At least Jeffrey Goldberg realizes that.

      Like the Christians were in Lebanon? Like white people were in South Africa? Oh wait, they’re still there and still make up large segments of the major areas of government. Even if they go to the one-state solution, and if Arabs rise to the same population levels as Jews, the Jews are the ones who know how to run the country. They are the politicians, the police, the army officers, the business executives, etc.

        CygnusA81 says:

        Like the Christians in Lebanon? First things first, the only reason why Lebanon exists is that at the turn of the last century Lebanon was roughly 80% Christian and France wanted give their religious brethren their own country. Now they consist maybe 1/3 of the population. But since Lebanon hasn’t conducted a census in like 30 years no actually knows, since the politician ramification are to dire. And since you obviously know nothing of Lebanon I guess you didn’t realize that its a political tinderbox. But I’m guessing you just like making up facts that fit your world view.

        On to South Africa. Well the white population has never been more 15% of the total population and Boer’s more or less treated the native blacks like indentured servants with no political rights. On that note, when the native population came to political power they did not vowed to murder all the white population.

        On to Israel and Palestinians. If the Arabs ever had the chance, they would murder all the Jews of Israel. I don’t why you don’t get such a simple concept. Probably because you are working on your PhD or something.

          I know Lebanon is unstable, but the fact that they have been occupied on and off by Israel and Syria since the 80s hasn’t done much to help that. However, the Lebanese still have a very large Christian community, the president of the country is Christian, and despite the presence of Hezbollah, the Christians there are actually quite safe. I would be far more worried about the Egyptian copts than any Lebanese.

          For South Africa, it may not have been said by the blacks, but there was a tremendous fear among the whites there that they would be massacred if apartheid was disestablished. They treated the blacks worse than the Israelis treat the Palestinians, but when apartheid fell the blacks didn’t walk through the streets killing the whites.

          Lastly, Hamas doesn’t like Jews, everyone else is fine with them. Hamas’ whole existence is based on the resistance. If the conflict ended, Hamas would lose their reason for existence. They would either need to move to the middle or disband to fit into the new Israeli/Palestinian political structure. Also, remember that this is 2012, not 1912 or 1812 or 1712. The world won’t just watch as 6 million people are forced out of their country, and unless the Palestinians want the Ghadaffi treatment courtesy of NATO, they won’t pull a stunt like that.

          Also, you failed to respond to my point that the Israelis are the ones who know how to run the country. Unless Palestine want to turn into a failed state, they will keep around the people who make the country work. Stop with the doom and gloom and get with the way the world works.

          CygnusA81 says:

          Why do you think the Israelis want to run ‘Palestine?’ They don’t just ask any Israeli. Please don’t fall into the trope since Jews are good
          at ‘running things;’ that they would good at running a bi-national state. Do you not follow the conflict at all? Israel doesn’t want to run their lives. Israel would leave Judea and Samaria if they thought rockets wouldn’t be raining down on them in the coastal plain.

          I’m not being Mr. Doom and Gloom; I just state what I
          see. Stop being naïve though, the Arabs would never accept second-class status if they were the majority.

          John Norman says:

          Again, The man is incorrigible. As if NATO would give a damn about Jews being driven into the Mediterranean. And do anything about it. Europe has a long history of dislike of the Jews and a long history of giving in before the fighting is half-way through. Try the French for size.

        John Norman says:

        Don’t be so utterly naive. The Arabs, the Do-gooder Leftists, the extreme Left, the NGO’s the BDS, would never let it happen. My God, allow Jews to run the show?

I think Israeli policy toward the Occupied territories should be based on acknowledging this reality while keeping the door to the two state solution open. Israel should annex territory West of the security fence and grant Palestinians citizenship therein. Israel should then build freely within those territories and dismantle settlements that fall on the other side. Acknowledging the lessons of Gaza, the IDF should maintain exclusive security control in the West Bank and treat the newly declared state of Palestine much like the Allies treated Germany or Japan after World War II. When Palestinians demonstrate that they are willing to live at peace with their neighbors, they will gain more and more autonomy, until then they should understand the price of their rejectionism will be living under occupation.

    John Coelho says:

    You’ve got the best idea. Maybe, the Gaza fiasco of continued rocket attacks wouldn’t have happened if the IDF hadn’t been withdrawn. Withdrawing the Gaza settlements says to the world that there is no land grab there. All Hamas has to do for peace is stop the rockets.

    The one-state “solution” would just lead to a civil war. People who advocate it don’t know Arabs.

    If Israel wants to survive as a liberal democracy there has to be a tax on excessive procreation. Starting with the 3rd child, there could be progressive taxes for each additional child.The right wing Jew and the Arabs are out breeding the liberals and will turn Israel into a Jewish theocracy, or Arab state.. l.

Habbgun says:

There is a 2 state solution. An Israel for the Jews and the Caliphate which Arabs and Moslems the world over are fighting for. The Palestinians should be removed from the territories and placed with their Arab brethren who are now more than ever united. This is an historic opportunity that should not be lost. Previously Arabs were disposed to keeping the Palestinians separate and in camps. Now they wish to be united in Islam. To create an artificial Palestinian nation will frustrate both Jewish and Moslem designs while integrating Palestinians among the Islamic nations will be a bonus to all.

Poupic says:

It is sickening to read US Jews putting the blame for no peace on the Jewish state. In fact, there is no Arab state that doesn’t dream or hope that the Jewish state will be destroyed and replaced by an Islamic state. “When Arabs put down their guns there will be peace. If Israel puts down it’s guns there will be no Israel.” That is the true reality of the Middle East. And like it or not “The Palestinian nation” was invented in the 60’s out of the Arab refugees that Arab states that created them and the Jewish refugees from all Arab lands were not absorbed by them to this day and US tax Dollars maintain as refugees 6 decades later. With Jews like those spreading their manure Israel doesn’t need enemies.

herbcaen says:

Thomas von Firedmann is a Charles Lindbergh type of anti-Semite. He authored the Arab Peace Plan on behalf of the creatively challenged Saudis. When Israel didnt take the poisonous bait (not only does Israel withdraw to the 1967 borders, but accept the so called right of return), Friedmann embarked on a crusade to promote anti-Semitism in the US. Why would Friedmann want to promote anti-Semitism in the US? If the Jewish community in the US feels insecure, then they would put pressure on Israel. So when Friedmann uses phrases such as “pandering to Jewish money” and “votes bought and sold by the Israel lobby”, he crosses the line into anti-Semitism. I personally wonder if his material is lifted from white supremacist websites, ie Stormfront

Picklem says:

What’s the fuss? Man;s Creator emphatically states theree will be a single state in His Land of Y’srael, Y’srael!

Anyone care to bet otherwise? Careful, this is no joke


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The End of the Two-State Solution

Losing the only right answer

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