Time to Dump the Failed Two-State Solution
For just about as long as there have been efforts to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, calls for a two-state solution have choked the global conversation. So much so that many people have come to believe that there is no other way to achieve peace. Suddenly, though, it seems those aren’t the only voices in the room.
First, Israelis heard their prime minister vow days before a general election that Israel would extend its sovereignty over all of Area C in the West Bank, which constitutes the bulk of Judea and Samaria. But more surprising than the prime minister’s remarks was the fact that the United States didn’t condemn them. While prior administrations made the two-state solution a staple of their Middle East policies, President Trump, elected as a businessman to find new solutions to age-old problems, seems to have a different vision. Asked whether Netanyahu’s pledge to annex Area C would interfere with the administration’s peace plan, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo responded with a simple “I don’t.”
Other administration officials have also chimed in with their own suggestions that America’s strategy in achieving regional peace is about to get a facelift. Addressing the annual AIPAC conference, Ambassador David Friedman urged Israelis to seize the chance to sign a deal under this administration, and not one that “may not understand the need for Israel to maintain overriding security control over Judea and Samaria and a permanent defense position in the Jordan Valley.” Then, just this past week, Trump’s chief Middle East negotiator, Jason Greenblatt, noted that it was “unhelpful” to use the term “two-state solution” in peace talks, since both sides understood the term so differently.
It may have been Pompeo himself who gave the greatest indicator when he said that Trump’s peace plan would “put forward a vision that has ideas that are new, that are different, that are unique, that tries to re-frame and reshape what’s been an intractable problem.”
The truth is, it isn’t hard to understand why the Trump administration might depart from the traditional notion of a two-state solution; it’s simply a non-solution. Every step taken in the direction of two-states has brought bloodshed, conflict, terror, and war.
Why won’t a Palestinian state lead to peace? Because for the Palestinians, tragically, those with the highest political profile are usually those who can boast of strong terrorist records. Men like these shouldn’t be trusted to roam the streets, let alone exercise control of a state.
Yasser Arafat — with whom Israel signed the Oslo Acords, laying the foundations for a Palestinian state — was never concerned with achieving peace. He spent most of his first 64 years directing terrorist operations against Israeli civilians. By the time he joined a now infamous three-way handshake with President Bill Clinton and Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin on the White House lawn, Arafat had personally ordered the murder of hundreds of innocent Jewish civilians in countless terrorist attacks.
Afterwards, he would continue to wreak violence upon his partners in “peace,” orchestrating the murder of nearly 1,000 Israelis in the Second Intifada, even being caught red-handed importing Iranian weapons on a freight ship. Amidst all that murder, he managed also to amass an investment empire estimated by Time magazine to have been worth three billion dollars.
Arafat may have died, but policies antithetical to peace have continued to thrive in the Palestinian Authority. They still teach hatred in their schools, name parks and competitions after the most horrendous terrorists, and pay out a reported eight percent of their annual budget to convicted terrorists and their families.
As for the alternative to Arafat’s hateful Fatah party, there’s only the even-more hateful and bloodthirsty Hamas. In the wake of the Oslo Accords, Hamas responded to Israel’s overtures of peace with a years-long spree of suicide bombings. Somehow, they even got their hands on something of state in the enclave of Gaza. As expected, they’ve been warring with Israel ever since, using the millions of Palestinians under their control as human shields.
The Middle East can hardly contend with another failed state. The Jewish people, finally safe in their own land, certainly shouldn’t be forced to.
Now, thanks to President Trump, it seems that the five decades-old peace process might be in for a change. Such change, moreover, couldn’t come at a more fitting time.
This week, Jews around the world celebrate the festival of Passover. Passover, boiled down, is a time of transitions. In Israel, it comes just at the start of spring; the weather warms, the rivers run full, and budding blossoms turn the landscape green. It’s also a time that we celebrate not only our current state of freedom, but more precisely, our exodus from a state of slavery. It’s a time to start a new chapter.
For the Jews leaving Egypt, that new chapter marked the beginning of the gradual return to the land of their forefathers in Israel. Thankfully for us, that’s a chapter we’ve already completed. What lies ahead is the formulation of a plan that allows to remain safely and in peace in our eternal and unquestionable Jewish homeland.
Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, “America’s Rabbi,” whom The Washington Post calls “the most famous rabbi in America,” is the international bestselling author of 32 books, including his most recent, The Israel Warrior. Follow him on Twitter @RabbiShmuley.