The Two-State Solution Is Holding Israel Hostage
When Israel first recaptured Judea, Samaria, Gaza and the rest of Jerusalem in 1967, the government tried to “purchase” a long term peace with the Arabs by offering to return most of this land. Thus, the concept of “land for peace” was born.
Then the Israeli government allowed Yasser Arafat to establish the Palestinian Authority (PA) in the territories. Arafat made the outlandish request for all land west of the armistice line, including half of Jerusalem, in exchange for “peace.” He did this, of course, while continuing to launch terror attacks against Israelis. Arafat’s demands were based on false arguments, since there never was a Palestinian state on the land he demanded — and because Jerusalem had never been divided in its history, except for the 17 years when it was occupied by Jordan.
The Palestinians repeated their narrative often, and thus, the two-state paradigm was born. This paradigm was then reinforced as a solution to the conflict, because various Israeli leaders entered into negotiations based on this premise. As a result, the world now sees the Palestinian demand for a state next to Israel as an inevitable outcome to the conflict.
The fallacy of the “land-for-peace” framework can be seen by looking at the Gaza Strip. After Israel unilaterally withdrew from the territory, the Palestinians destroyed the revenue-generating infrastructure that had been left for them — and set up a terrorist haven, whose primary goal was to eliminate Israel.
In Palestinian schools, generations of Palestinian children are educated to hate Israel and seek its destruction. Israel doesn’t even exist in their maps or textbooks. Palestinian leaders constantly praise, support and pay terrorists who murder Israelis, turning them into heroes. How can the Palestinian people be expected to recognize, and live in peace, with a country that their government and leaders do not admit has a legitimate right to exist?
Israel should propose a solution that recognizes the realities in the region, and that is based on a paradigm of “peace-for-peace.” At this point, the Israeli government cannot subjugate the Palestinian citizens or kick the Palestinian Authority (PA) out of Ramallah and the rest of Judea and Samaria. However, Israel must make it clear that there cannot be peace until the Palestinians actually want it. And the Israeli government must expose the truth about the Palestinians’ hatred for Jews and Israelis — and the Palestinians’ lack of desire for peace — to the media and the world.
So what might “peace-for-peace” look like?
First, Israel must have secure borders from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea. Palestinians should be ruled by their own government structure, which could be administered in Ramallah. Declaring Gaza as the independent Palestinian state may also be part of the solution.
Furthermore, all Palestinians in the region must have economic opportunities that facilitate a robust economy. Finally, Israel must be acknowledged and recognized by the Palestinian people and their leaders. These are the basic cornerstones of the new paradigm: a movement to enable Palestinian families to support themselves and live in dignity without supporting or condoning terrorism.
Israel must clearly articulate its positions, and tell the Palestinians that it will not negotiate under the current two-state solution paradigm, and all that it currently embodies.
Paradigm shifts typically are met with resistance and negativity, and it may take a generation or exceptionally visionary leadership to achieve a solution in accordance with this new paradigm. It won’t happen overnight, and Israel cannot just put it on the table and assume that the merits will be recognized.
Israel must instead clearly identify the benefits of increased stability and prosperity to all participants — and be visionary and persistent in defining the parameters of its position. Israel has waited too long to propose a new paradigm for peace, so elements of the two-state solution will likely be part of any negotiated outcome. But changing the paradigm for negotiations may result in a more realistic outcome and progress toward peaceful coexistence.