Where Do We Go From Here?
Last Wednesday at the White House, we watched what some called the funeral of the “two-state solution.” But the death of this solution happened many years ago.
On Jan. 3, 1919, an agreement was signed in France between then-World Zionist Organization President Chaim Weizmann and Emir Faisal, head of the Arab delegation, calling for the realization of the Balfour Declaration — which had been made 14 months earlier — and for “all necessary measures…to encourage and stimulate immigration of Jews into Palestine on a large scale, and as quickly as possible to settle Jewish immigrants upon the land through closer settlement and intensive cultivation of the soil.”
On March 23, 1918, Faisal’s father, Hussein ibn Ali al-Hashimi, emir of Mecca, had written in the Al Qibla newspaper:
The resources of the country are still virgin soil and will be developed by the Jewish immigrants. One of the most amazing things until recent times was that the Palestinian used to leave his country, wandering over the high seas in every direction. His native soil could not retain a hold on him…At the same time, we have seen the Jews from foreign countries streaming to Palestine from Russia, Germany, Austria, Spain and America. The cause or causes [of that phenomenon] could not escape those who had a gift of deeper insight. They knew that the country was for its original sons, for all their differences, a sacred and beloved homeland. The return of these exiles to their homeland will prove materially and spiritually an experimental school for their brethren who are with them in the fields, factories, trades and all things connected to the land.
Poor Faisal hadn’t had the opportunity to read Ari Shavit’s My Promised Land. But the agreement was not accepted.
In 1937, following the Great Arab Revolt, the Peel Commission was established, granting the Arabs some 90% of the territory of the original British Mandate (including Transjordan), while the Jews were granted only 17% of the land of Israel west of the Jordan River. They didn’t agree to this either. On Nov. 29, 1947 a resolution was passed at the United Nations, outlining the split of western Israel into a “Jewish state” and an “Arab state.” The Jews were overjoyed by the miracle, “a joy of the poor.” The next day, the Arabs launched bloody riots that led to the eruption of the 1948 War of Independence.
After the great victory of 1967, the Arab League announced the “Three No’s” in Khartoum: no recognition of Israel, no negotiations with Israel and no peace with Israel. With the Oslo Accords in 1993, tens of thousands of terrorists entered western Israel, thinking that they could lay down the law among the Palestinians ahead of independent statehood. At the same time, then-PLO Chairman Yasser Afarat announced in Johannesburg that the deal made with Israel fell under the formula of the Treaty of Hudaybiyyah that the Prophet Muhammad made with the Quraysh tribe of Mecca — a treaty that was violated when it was convenient for him. Arafat said that the Oslo Accords were a part of the “Phased Plan.” Here, we ignored the tapes.
In July 2000, then-Prime Minister Ehud Barak made a proposal at Camp David that included the division of the Old City of Jerusalem. Arafat rejected it and launched bloody riots. In the summer of 2005, Israel completely withdrew from the Gaza Strip, and by June 2007 the area had fallen into Hamas hands. The southern part of Israel was taken hostage, leading to a series of wars. In 2008, then-Prime Minister Ehud Olmert made an even more reckless offer that included 100% of the territory (with land swaps), including Jerusalem and even a symbolic solution for the refugee problem. Rejection once again.
About five years ago, Arab states in the region began to break from the nationalism forced upon them by colonialist powers after World War I, returning to previous tribal and clan structures. The great country of Egypt was taken over by the Muslim Brotherhood until there was a countercoup. At the same time, radical Islam rose, thanks to the Islamic State conquering large swathes of Iraq and Syria and rousing the Muslim world.
Experience teaches us that establishing a failing Arab state on the mountaintop will lead to a takeover by Hamas cells or other terrorist organizations, who will focus their energy on war with Israel, and which will cause chaos similar to that in Syria. A glance at the Palestinian National Charter and the Hamas Charter shows us that Israel is — as far as they are concerned — a temporary phenomenon. The Jews are not a nation but a religion that does not deserve its own state and has no connection to the land of Israel. Therefore, the Jews must be kicked out using various means.
The “two-state solution” allowed the Arabs to seemingly speak about peace without recognizing Israel. In order for there to be true peace, there must be Arab recognition of Israel as the rightful national home of the Jewish people. Without recognition, the struggle will continue with 1,001 claims (for example, claims that the Law of Return is a racist one that creates apartheid). This is the reason for the insistence on “two states for two peoples,” including the Jewish people. The Palestinians (and all the Arabs) oppose this recognition because they do not recognize any Jewish right to the land (as is the case in the Israeli-Arabs’ “Future Vision” document).
The remarks made during the meeting between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Donald Trump removed the immense pressure, imposed by the Obama administration, on Israel to implement the “two-state solution.” The despaired response from the left-wing media and politicians demonstrates the ill effects of 50 years of propaganda warfare against our natural right to settle the land of our forefathers.
Poet Nathan Alterman foresaw this, as he wrote in a poem discovered after his death in 1970, in which the devil says of the “besieged one” (the Jewish people), who cannot be defeated with a sword:
I will not take away his strength
neither bridle nor bit will I put on him
nor will I make him fainthearted
nor will I weaken his hand as in days of old.
Only this shall I do: I shall dull his mind,
and he will forget that his cause is just.
The false perception that has taken root among the Left, according to which support for a Palestinian state is the fulfillment of Zionism, is the exact opposite of its intention. In February 1970, Alterman wrote: “From the moment we accept the national Palestinian fiction — from that moment, Zionism as a whole becomes a matter of robbing a country from the hands of an existing people. And to the extent that we help root this idea in the world and in our own inner consciousness, we shake the historical and human foundation of Zionism, placing it only on our bayonets.”
In a conversation with Shimon Peres, Alterman said in those days: “If indeed there is an argument here between two peoples, between the Palestinian people, who were supposedly dispossessed of their land and the Jewish people, who were supposedly dispossessed of their land, well we have been mistaken all along.”
The moderate Left must join hands with the Right in order to ensure our future for generations to come. The first action must be, “Depart from evil” (Psalms 34:14), meaning, prevent the feasibility of an Arab state on the mountaintop. We must operate with a broad consensus on the issue. Afterward, “do good” — continue settlement in the land of our forefathers to reach the first million Jews living in Judea and Samaria.
Regarding the Arabs of the region: During the first stage, we must leave them under the Palestinian Authority with a sort of far-reaching autonomy. And in future generations, apply full sovereignty to the entirety of the land, while granting residency permits and then full citizenship to those who want it. By that point, there will be millions more Jews in Israel, thanks to immigration and natural population growth. Do not worry. Israel’s first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion declared the state with only 600,000 Jews. Since then, we have grown to more than 10 times that amount, thank God. In the meantime, we must be wary of false messianism that forces matters forward. Patience.
This article originally appeared in Israel Hayom.