The Two-State Solution Blindspot
Barack Obama and John Kerry regard the two-state solution as nothing less than divinely ordained. The “Solution,” as we will call it, is self-apparent: two states for two peoples, living side-by-side in peace.
Sounds good. But it has proven to be wildly elusive. Why should that be? If two peoples each have their own state, why shouldn’t they be able to live together in peace?
These questions are not rhetorical, but rather reveal the essential problem: the degree of willingness to make peace.
It goes without saying that you can’t shake your own hand. Absent mutual desire, there is not the necessary pre-condition for making peace.
A quick perusal of the history of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict reveals proposals, offers and attempts by Israel to find the accommodation, the formula, the modus vivendis by which a peace agreement could be signed and a peaceful aftermath could endure.
Each of those attempts was met with rejection. Not with counter-proposals, nor with different constructive ideas for attaining a similar result. The counter-proposals have always been existential stabs to the heart of Israel, disguised as preconditions to making peace.
Primary among these is the Palestinian insistence on the right of all refugees and their progeny to return to where they had previously lived in Israel (or at least where their ancestors had lived). Such an insistence is, of course, demographically designed to end the Jewish character of Israel, intended to make state just one more Muslim country in a region filled with Muslim countries.
So the question is, if the Solution must be the only hope and answer, why aren’t its most ardent proponents working night and day to make sure that its only real precondition — the willingness to make peace — be implemented?
Some would say that the willingness to make peace is a mindset, which cannot be forced on people and is not likely even to exist prior to entering into an agreement. This is patently false.
Wars have always ended when one or both sides decide/s to give up the fight. They might not want to, but they do, usually because there is no choice. The Palestinians have never been pressured to come around to this point. They have not been forced to change their hateful curricula in their schools or their venomous broadcasting.
There have been no sticks for rejectionist behavior — no ramifications or consequences — only carrots. On the contrary, in a breathtaking display of the racism of low expectations, Western patrons of the Palestinians require nothing from them, excepting obligatory condemnations of the terror that they themselves wreak, or at a minimum, incite.
Were the West truly concerned with the implementation of a real peace that would work for both peoples, there would be a major remedial effort aimed at re-aligning the Palestinian political culture to prepare the population for the advent of peace.
The fact that the opposite is taking place has to call into grave doubt not only the true motivations of the Western patrons of the Palestinians, but also and more importantly, what it is that the Palestinians themselves want.
Are Western leaders actually asking Palestinian leaders what they themselves want in all of this? And when presented with a laundry list that can be basically summarized as the dismantling of Israel, why aren’t such Westerners telling the Palestinians to adopt more realistic, non genocidal positions or risk losing Western support? The Solution, as it is being practiced now, is hardly that, but rather the indulgence of a pipe dream and a murderous wish list.
The irony is that most of Israel at one time passionately subscribed to the Solution, only to abandon it after coming to understand just this point: What was being pursued was not a framework for peace, but one of usurpation, pre-emption and supersessionism.
Today, other than an increasingly small group of true believers, Israelis perceive Palestinians as having no good will and believe that the continued promoting of the Solution is tantamount to suicide.
Seizing on settlements as the barrier to peace is not only factually ludicrous, but also represents a tremendous abdication of moral responsibility by Western leaders. Hiding behind settlements allows them to avoid confronting the one party — the Palestinians — that actually has no interest and feels no urgency to come to the table.
If the Obamas and Kerrys of the world were truly interested in achieving the Solution, their approach would be diametrically opposite from what it has been. They would be leaning heavily on the Palestinians, bringing their significant leverage to bear on the situation. The fact that they have not indicates that they have adopted the Palestinian narrative of Israeli culpability for the whole problem.
That mindset will not bring about peace, but only continued hostility. Of course, this is exactly the Palestinian strategy, which is predicated on the confidence that their continued intransigence will only intensify Western anger against Israel. The hoped-for result will be the de-legitimization, isolation and ultimately the dismantling of Israel.
Since a peace agreement would, by definition, require the Palestinians to give up their fight and to accept the existence of Israel, they can’t accept it. Simply stated, peace is not their goal; replacing Israel with a Greater State of Palestine is their true and not even hidden objective.
And where is the solution in that?