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July 22, 2014 4:03 pm

By Targeting Ben Gurion Airport, Has Hamas Ended the Prospects for a Two State Solution?

avatar by Alan Dershowitz

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Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal. Photo: wiki commons.

Hamas’s decision to fire rockets in the direction of Ben Gurion Airport may well have ended any real prospect of a two-state solution. Whether the regulators and airlines that have stopped flights to and from Israel are right or wrong, this stoppage cannot possibly be tolerated by a democratic country that relies so heavily on tourism and international travel. It is of course a war crime to target an international civilian airport, as Hamas has clearly done. Israel has every right to keep that airport open, employing all reasonable military means at its disposal.  Since Hamas fires its rockets from densely populated civilian areas, there will be more Palestinian civilian deaths.

This of course is part of Hamas’ grand strategy: by targeting Israeli civilians and international air travel from its own civilian areas, Hamas leaves Israel no choice but to take military actions that risk the lives of innocent Palestinians. There will be even more innocent Palestinian deaths now, as Hamas has raised the stakes considerably for Israel.  Every country in the world would do everything in its power to keep open the airports, which are the lifelines to its economic viability. Hamas knows this and welcomes Israeli military action that produces more dead Palestinian civilians and hence more international criticism of Israel.

Even more importantly, Hamas’ actions in essentially closing down international air traffic into Israel, considerably reduces the prospect of any two-state solution. Israel will now be more reluctant than ever to give up military control over the West Bank, which is even closer to Ben Gurion Airport than is Gaza.

Were Israel to end its military occupation of the West Bank—as distinguished from its civilian settlements deep in the West Bank—it would risk the possibility of a Hamas takeover.  That is precisely what happened when Israel ended both its civilian settlements and its military presence in Gaza. Hamas took control, fired thousands of rockets at Israeli civilian targets and have now succeeded in stopping international air traffic into and out of Israel.

Israel could not accept the risk of a Hamas takeover of the West Bank and the resulting Hamas rocket attacks at the nearby Ben Gurion Airport. It may still be possible to create a two-state solution whereby Israel withdraws its civilian settlers from most of the West Bank and agrees to land swaps for areas that now contain large settlement blocks. But Israel will have to retain military control over its security borders, which extend to the Jordan River. It will also have to maintain a sufficient military presence to assure that what happened in Gaza does not happen in the West Bank. These military realities do not have to exist forever. Israel’s military presence could be reduced if the Palestinian Authority were to maintain effective control over the West Bank and prevent terrorists from using that area to send rockets and terrorists into Israel.

The new reality caused by Hamas’ shutting down of international air travel to and from Israel would plainly justify an Israeli demand that it maintain military control over the West Bank in any two-state deal. The Israeli public would never accept a deal that did not include a continued Israeli military presence in the West Bank.  They have learned the tragic lesson of Gaza and they will not allow it to be repeated on the West Bank. The Palestinian Authority, however, is unlikely to accept such a condition, though it should.  This will simply make it far more difficult for an agreement to be reached.

It was precisely one of the goals of the Hamas rocket and tunnel assaults to scuttle any two-state agreement between the Palestinian Authority and Israel. The Hamas Charter categorically rejects the two-state solution, as does the military wing of Hamas.  In this tragic respect, Hamas has already succeeded.  By aiming its rockets in the direction of Ben Gurion Airport, Hamas may well have scuttled any realistic prospects for a two-state solution.  It cannot be allowed to succeed.

The international community, which has a significant stake in protecting international air traffic from terrorist rocket attacks, must support Israel’s efforts to stop these attacks—permanently. If Hamas is allowed to shut down Israel’s major airport, every terrorist group in the world will begin to target airports throughout the world. The shooting down of the Malaysian airliner over the Ukraine will be but one of many such tragedies, if Hamas is allowed to succeed. An attack on the safety on Israel’s airport is an attack on the safety of all international aviation. Israel is the canary in the mine. What Hamas has done to Israeli aviation is a warning to the world. In its efforts to prevent Hamas from firing rockets at Ben Gurion Airport, Israel is fighting for the entire civilized world against those who would shoot down civilian airliners. The world should support Israel in this noble fight, and in the process help preserve any realistic chance for a two-state solution.

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  • Right – let’s just annex the West Bank and stop being a democracy. Oh, right. We can always give the West Bank Palestinians citizenship an then become a minority down the road. The Two-State solution has not died simply because it is the only way to hold on to the State of Israel. On the contrary, the war in Gaza can be an opportunity to weaken Hamas to the point it is no longer an obstacle for a future agreement with Fatah.

    • Lucus

      Your opinions are just wrong and meaningless, and would be redicoulous if everyone in power didn’t share your disease. First the terrorists who lie all day about Jews, also lie about other subjects such as their demographics. Jew are having a lot of children too. Second weather you blame the all powerful antisemite sourced obsession with the invisible power of the Jews, or not, the Jews have no contro over this. There will be a one state solution because Muslims are colonialist. They have a right to live anywhere in the Middle East they were always there, Jews have a right to live no where in the Middle East. The redicoulously tiny Jewish communities not fully extinct in the Middle East, are lied about and to with a straight justified fac by Islam and its colonialist nature every single day.

      If your nature is evil like Islam, and the world excepts your lies and nonesense, to you you are not evil. Signs of this are in the constant mantra that the country which never existed was at peace before ISrael, think about the primitive delusional nature you must have to say that with a straight face? The bloodiest political religion was at “peace” in a place which never existed, but one minority made that change. Then realize they had already blamed the other conflicts which never existed in the country which never exiseted on other minoroties, never ever the Arabs and their wars of extermination and thousands upon thousand of terrorist colonialist racist uprisongs against the British and Ottoman who had preferred them, and their ancient need for conspiracy theories, Islam itself is a conspiracy theory, but the Druze Maronite wars between 1840 and 1860 named after and blamed on the 2 minoroties killed and guess who the the hero was you’ll never guess the Arabs. Or where did the Greek/Armenian Genocide really take place? It wasn’t the Ottoman Syria which was palestine’s real name before the Jews ressurected that name from a scholarly and literary tradition, and some elite topographers.

  • Robert B. Sklaroff, M.D.

    Dershowitz FINALLY notes “The new reality caused by Hamas’ shutting down of international air travel to and from Israel would plainly justify an Israeli demand that it maintain military control over the West Bank in any two-state deal.”

    This is hardly a “new” anything, but it’s wonderful to recognize that he has seen-the-light; I rebuked him a few months ago when he spoke @ the U of Pennsylvania [in defense of his BFF-Obama], provoking him to attack [in a broad-brush fashion] Republicans who can’t stomach a guy who would endorse BHO’s desire to extend the Judenrein status of Gaza throughout Judea/Samaria.

    Indeed, although he was there to join in the attack on JStreet, he exclaimed he was closer to JStreet than to the GOP with regard to BHO’s Middle East policy, due in no small measure to his feelings regarding the Social Issues; although this created a stir, the organizers of this event lamented the fact that he had been provoked [by myself] to have strayed from the subject-at-hand.

    THEREFORE, Dershowitz is cordially invited to compose a follow-up piece that depicts BHO’s reaction to his posture, inclusive of whether he has been able to convince him of the strident conclusions he [justifiably] drew in this op-ed. Simply put, he can’t have it both ways; either he maintains the proper level of reality-testing [recognizing the dangers of Islamism] or he continues to compromise his credibility [by hiding behind the claim that “some Zionists have to be Dems, lest polarization occur” … despite the fact that he cannot reasonably claim lineage from Scoop Jackson].

    • leonard feingold

      You mention Dersh’s “credibility”. What you mean is is his influence in the Jewish community. He has no influence or credibility in the Jewish community of which you are a representative. His potential influence is in the 63% that voted for BO or who are on the fence or those who practice dissonance reduction and give him credit for his meaningless support of Israel. I say “meaningless” because he has no influence on the Obama’s foreign policy except in his bloviated concept of such. Dershowitz is a member of the newly acclaimed by me of the “Three Stooges”: Spielberg, Wasserman-Shultz and Dershowitz” with respect whitewashing OB not only re Israel but in domestic areas.

      In fact, his only influence might have been to convince Jews to vote for Obama so he is responsible in part for the current foreign policy. Will he apologize? OF course, not. His recent post is a little too late. Anybody who is realist knew this before.

  • sidney sands

    By trying to hit the Airport , just confirms what we already know, the West Bank so close to Tel Aviv Jerusalem and Ben Gurion can only be under the control of Israel, any solution will have to accept that fact of life.

  • I have begged the reading public not to listen to Obama and the liberal Rabbis. You can not negotiate with savages. When I served as chairman of Rabbis for Romney, I was attacked by the liberal Jewish establishment. I have repeated my message over and over, never again, never, forgive , never forget. Rabbi Dr. Bernhard Rosenberg

    • Heather Sponaugle

      Praise God for you Rabbi Rosenberg, a faithful Jew

  • Joel

    The more things change, the more they stay the same The history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a tale about how the Palestinians rejected every reasonable solution to separate the 2 and for a chance of independence. One only has to look at the beginning circa 1948 when the partition of Palestine took place. By all accounts the Zionists did not like the UN plan but accepted it anyway. The partition, that is, its own homeland was rejected by the Arabs declaring immediate war. Had they accepted the UN plan they would have had their own state. While much has occurred since, the pattern has not changed. It is not hard to end this with the prophetic words of Golda Meir: “We will only have peace with the Arabs when they love their children more than they hate us.”

  • Dershowitz: “It may still be possible to create a two-state solution whereby Israel withdraws its civilian settlers from most of the West Bank and agrees to land swaps for areas that now contain large settlement blocks.”

    This is tantamount to compounding the error made in 2005 in Gaza by a factor of 15. It seems than no lawyer has ever rejected so much evidence for so many years to defend a lost cause.

  • Reform School

    The reason the legendary Dershowitz has been so successful practicing law is that young lawyers are taught to think (like the law) irrationally. Dersh has gotten so good at it he uses ideology to block reality without even trying. Any thorough look at Abbas will reveal rockets fill his pockets as much as his alterego Abu controls his loathing of Jews. Arabs have hated so long, it is in their genes.

  • AKUS

    I had felt that Netanyahu’s insistence on keeping control of the Jordan valley was unnecessary in the event of a 2 state solution, unlikely as that seems to be – until ISIS started threatening to take over Jordan.

    With this latest development, whatever the 2 state solution may look like, it is imperative to keep control of that area to prevent infiltration of anti-aircraft carrying terrorists from closing in on Israel’s airspace.

    I suppose it is too much to request that those countries refusing to allow their airplanes to fly to BG Airport actually condemn Hamas for this crime?

  • Alan

    Maybe its time to start thinking about something quite different: a population exchange, with Muslims from Gaza, Judea and Samaria going to other Muslim countries while embattled Christians from those countries move to Gaza

    That solves two problems with one measure.

  • Beverley Schinke

    Netanyahu said it correctly, when he stated on CNN today, that Hamas, Al Quaeda, ISIS and the like cannot be allowed to succeed. The entire world is at risk if terrorists are not censured by every democratic nation. These nations must stand together as one. Look now at Ukraine, the rebels are in charge and everyone including the UN And IATA, stand helplessly silent.
    This is not about Israel. It is about world wide terrorism. Silence us anathema. Action and unity are required.

  • Tzipporah

    I see no chance of a 2-State solution until all Palestinians make a 180 degree change and turn hate into love. It never would have worked and now we see the stupidity of even giving it a chance.

  • HaDaR

    THAT non-solution, was DEAD AT DEPARTURE, SILLBORN FROM CONCEPTION… Just some people can’t let facts disturb their ideology…

  • Elliott

    So, Allan, I guess that means Ms. Glick was right all along…

  • shosh

    Israel should put Hamas = Gaza in HEREM. Cut their elec
    tricity, water. No food, medicine, nor any help to their wounded. We will see how the Hamas leaders and the rest
    of the world like it? It is about time Israel should fight a real war to win once and for all. Is sickening
    that Israel never finishes a war the right way – by winning. That is the reason She has to fight so many wars and lose Her children = soldiers. It is very interesting that Kerry returns and Israel is given sanctions – suspension of airline flights to Israel.

    • Harry

      Israel needs to do what is required to keep the airport safe. No country can permit terrorist to fire weapons at commercial Planes. I sincerely hope Israel can reduce the size of the Gaza strip and eliminate the weapons and law breaking citizens. Israel is too small a country geographically to have that many terrorist with such high powered weapons of mass destruction. When the newspapers talk of Citizens in Gaza, once they have had at any age training on how to kill, hate and be armed with Grenades, they come terrorist. Please see the movies they are showing children on weapons training and hate. The two state solution does not work in such a small area in modern times. Hamas did achieve what they wanted to by getting flights cancelled.

      • stevenkarmi

        Attacking commercial airports is a war crime, according to Mr.Dershowitz. Really?

        As I recall…
        Israel attacked the airport in Beirut in 2006
        The US attacked the Baghdad airport in 2002

        I am sure there are many other cases, that I don’t recall offhand.

        I am an ardent Zionist and no leftist or supporter of Hamas. I simply would like our arguments to be honest and consistent.

        Destroy Hamas, IDF!!!

  • david

    nothing is off the table with israel. hamas will one day present a signed paper stating that they won’t fire at air-ports, and some idiot israeli will accept the paper in exchange for their demands.

  • Andy Lang

    HAMAS will rue the day it started this travesty going on right now. Hamas has created a situation in which Israel is left with no choice but to send in whatever amounts of men and material are necessary to completely uncover and decimate the tunnels and destroy all of the rockets and rocket launchers.

  • albert rosenblatt

    the end of the 2 state solution has been a plank for Likud for years — so we cannot blame Hamas exclusively for this. What is needed is new and better leadership in Israel that will lead the country to a negotiated settlement. This will not happen with the current leadership.

    • Joseph Australia

      Albert, it must be very frustrating to the people on the Left who keep reciting the same Mantra day in and day out, that against Israel’s democratically elected Prime Minister, Natanyahoo were somehow magically kicked out, all the world Arabs would be join Israel singing Kumbayah, and have a good time.

      Because of the same so called guts by Natanyahoo, there are not both in the Golan and in Judah and Samaria, thousands of kilometers of tunnels hiding bunkers for Hamas, and rockets situated in every civilian house, hospital and school. The only airport will be permanently closed.

      Worse, the oil hungry EU will look at tripping up Israel in the international court of Justice to instigate the fatal Chapter 7 security council sanctions.

      American Jews should immigrate that 4,000 kms to Israel before providing them with wrong advice.

    • Rina

      Where is the moral equivalence? Israel always “fair game” in the blame game. But where is the Hamas in all this? Innocent victim or aggressive militant? does its rhetoric vowing for the death & destruction of all Israel go unanswered? Does its stated intention of never accepting a 2 state solution get a total “white-wash” ? Think again ..its not Likud that needs to justify its position.

  • Lucille Kaplan

    Thank you, Professor Dershowitz, for elucidating how HAMAS’s declaring open season on civilian aviation seriously threatens any possibility that the West Bank can realistically expect to attain independence from Israeli military oversight.

    I wonder, though, whether it is safe to assume that the leadership and population of the West Bank see their progression to nationhood, and the lifting of all aspects of occupation, in the two-state terms that we often attribute to them.

    The differences between Fatah/PLO and HAMAS are not nearly as great as the Palestinian Authority (PA) in Ramallah would have many believe. For its constituency, the PA regularly publishes maps that label all of Israel, the West Bank, Golan, and Gaza as “Occupied Palestine.” As recently as only a few years ago, the PA included study of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion as part of standard training (“national guidance”) for its security officers. A few weeks ago, the content of Mahmoud ‘Abbas book about the Holocaust being a Zionist hoax was finally brought to light in the form of a scholarly book review. In other words, while the West has rested its hopes on the elegant words of peace often delivered in English by statespersons like Saeb Erakat, Palestinians in BOTH the West Bank and Gaza have been sustained, for many years, by officially cultivated hopes that Israel shall soon disappear from the face of the Earth.

    I agree that there is still hope for a two-state solution, but if the people of the West Bank have displaced their two-state hopes with the aspirations that we associate more often with HAMAS, I cannot see a way forward that does not include putting the question of PA and HAMAS-disseminated anti-Jewish incitement propaganda back on the table, possibly through a mechanism resembling what is known as truth and reconciliation.

  • “…help preserve any realistic chance for a two-state solution.”

    A one-Jewish-state solution is realistic.



  • Trumpeldor

    There has never been a viable two state “solution” that could lead to peace. A Pali State is an anathema, an unthinkable step down a road of increased Islamic radical military striking might against Israel. The goal of Hamas, Iran, and the Jihadis could not be made any more clear by their words nor deeds. The end goal is to destroy Israel. If that means martyring their children by forcing reprisals for incessant rocket attacks, and further inciting the world against the Jewish State, it is a calculated loss for the perceived gain. To reward they who unabashedly, without reservation, passionately, & murderouslly wish to destroy your very nation, by giving them a ‘state’ of their own, would be to preside over and prescribe for one’s own suicide. A Pali State must never come to pass.. It remains in this era of astounding animosity and virulent hatred, an entity which might well be a death knell for the reborn tiny Jewish nation, besieged and beleaguered by the multitudes of Arab nations since the day of its rebirth.

  • Scott

    It’s time to follow the advise of Caroline Glick. Stop the nonsense about a two state solution. Let there be a “Gaza-stan”, but Eretz Israel should be one. Read her great book. The world won’t like it, but they don’t like Israel so what’s the difference. When they “get over it” (and they will!), they’ll wonder why they ever questioned it. Just like when Israel took out Saddam Hussein’s nuclear program. The world screamed and finally thanked Israel. It could happen again.

    Caroline Glick: The Israeli Solution: A One State Plan for Peace in the Middle East

  • PrinceMichael Iam

    This is a message to Hamas Be Not deceived God almighty will never be Mocked what so ever you sowed that you will reap.Long Live (Israel ) woe unto you Hamas. Woe unto them that seek deep to hide their counsel from the LORD, and their works are in the dark, and they say, Who seeth us? and who knoweth us?Michael Is My name you may hide your face On National television.

  • art

    It is time to admit that Oslo,Wye,raodmap,Taba et al have failed The PA/plo/hamas etc have never shown a commitment to peace. As we read abbas celebrates the death of Israelis,and celebrates terrorists. We have seen that unwra has allowed hamas to use their schools hospitals etc for launch sites. Israel clearly can NOT rely on third parties for security. Where was Kerry/Obama to demand that hamas cease its missile attack on Israel? Obama?Kerry in their panic about “civilian” casualties empower hamas and guarantee that hamas will sacrifice its people in the futue. By stopping Israel yet again they guarantee a continuation of war and death

  • Lana Drennan

    Shame on the Palestinians for embracing the terrorist organization Hamas in the first place. From this secular American’s perspective I don’t believe that a two state solution was ever a realistic goal. America and the world needs to fully support Israel in it’s heroic fight for the right to exist. How could anyone who examines the truth of the situation think otherwise. Stay strong Israel and do what is necessary to secure a victory. I proudly stand with you and wish you the peace and justice you deserve.

  • leonard rosenberg

    It’ time for you to come to the realization of the truth of Caroline B. Glick .I still love you for all your support of Isreal. Hope you see her light. keep on pluggin luv lenny

    • Paul

      I enjoy reading Caroline’s articles and pass them on to others. However dark it seems for Israel now and however dark it might still become, Israel will come out on top. The God of Israel cannot lie. It is written. Israel can be assured that she has many supporters in the world and although our voices are not heard in the media very much, our prayers are heard by the Almighty God of Israel.