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December 17, 2019 8:16 am

Why the Two-State Solution Won’t Work

avatar by Moshe Phillips


A general view shows thousands of Jewish worshippers attending the priestly blessing on the Jewish holiday of Sukkot at the Western Wall in Jerusalem’s Old City September 26, 2018. Photo: REUTERS/Ammar Awad.

The “two-state solution” to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict would create an independent Palestinian Arab state approximately along the pre-1967 lines. It would occupy all, or almost all, of Judea-Samaria, and be linked to Gaza.

Thus, Israel would be just nine miles wide — virtually indefensible. Israel’s major cities and Ben Gurion Airport would be within easy range of a Palestinian terrorist army — an unprecedented danger. Also, there would be a mass expulsion of tens of thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands, of Jews from existing settlement towns — which would be utterly immoral.

Two-state advocates say that the only alternative to their plan is a “one-state solution.” Which, they say, means granting Israeli citizenship to the Palestinian Arabs and turning them into a majority; or depriving them of citizenship and having an apartheid-like regime. But that’s just a hypothetical issue that they use as a talking point. In reality, not a single mainstream Israeli party calls for either making those Arabs citizens of Israel or having an apartheid system.

The real choice is not between two states and one state. It’s actually a choice between two states, the status quo, and a third way, which my movement, Herut, advocates.

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The status quo refers to the existing situation: the Palestinian Authority (PA) rules about 40% of Judea-Samaria and Hamas rules 100% of Gaza. In Judea-Samaria, all the major cities and towns where Palestinian Arabs live are under PA control. Under the status quo, the Palestinian Arabs do not pose a demographic threat to Israel, because they’re not Israeli citizens and never will be.

Our approach takes the status quo and builds on it in three important ways.

First, the Jewish communities in Judea-Samaria would live under Israeli law, just as the Palestinian Arab communities live under PA law. This would not create a demographic problem for Israel, since it would not impose Israeli citizenship on the Arabs living in the Israeli-ruled sections of Judea-Samaria. (The number of such Arabs is very small, anyway.)

Second, Jews would be free to live anywhere in the Land of Israel. This is not a “right-wing” position, but rather a sacred Zionist principle that has been at the center of the Zionist movement since its inception.

There’s no reason to fear that such Jewish communities would obstruct peace. If the Palestinian Arabs genuinely want peace, they should have no objection to Jewish neighbors, just as Israeli Jews live side by side with nearly two million Arab citizens of Israel.

Third, our plan proposes to focus Palestinian Arab aspirations on Jordan. That’s the country that is in an area historically called Eastern Palestine, until the British decided in 1922 to unilaterally change its name to Transjordan, which later became Jordan. But changing a name doesn’t change the identity of its citizens. The vast majority of Jordanians are Palestinian Arabs; Jordan is already the independent state for Palestinians that everyone is demanding. The only obstacle to Palestinian statehood is the dictator king of Jordan.

If the Palestinian Arabs ever decide they actually want a state — rather than the destruction of Israel — then 78% of historic Palestine awaits them, just a few miles east.

Until then, Israel must be guided by the principle of steadfastness — what our ideological forefather, the legendary Zionist leader Ze’ev Jabotinsky (1880-1940), called “the Iron Wall.” We know that Israel’s enemies will never love the Jewish state. But they can be forced to respect Israel if we remain steadfast in the both the defense of Jewish rights and the integrity of the Land of Israel.

In closing, here’s one more practical reason to oppose a potential Palestinian state: Gaza and its rockets have become the most graphic illustration of why relinquishing Judea and Samaria to the perennially hostile and extremely corrupt Palestinian Authority is a flat-out dangerous idea.

Moshe Phillips is national director of Herut North America’s US division. Herut is an international movement for Zionist pride and education and is dedicated to the ideals of pre-World War II Zionist leader Ze’ev Jabotinsky. Herut’s website is

This article was written in response to an editorial in The Washington Jewish Week.

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