I never thought I would concur with anything written by veteran Israeli “peace” activist Uri Avnery, but I find myself in full agreement with his recent prognosis that “sheer stupidity plays a major role in the history of nations” and that the longstanding rejection of the two-state solution has been nothing short of grand idiocy.
But it is here that our consensus ends. For rather than look at the historical record of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and draw the self-evident conclusions, Avnery retreats into the counterfactual fantasyland in which he has been living for decades. “When I pointed this out [i.e., the two-state solution], right after the 1948 war,” he writes, “I was more or less alone. Now this is a worldwide consensus, everywhere except in Israel.”
Ignoring the vainglorious (mis)appropriation of the two-state solution by the then 25-year-old Avnery, this assertion is not only unfounded but the inverse of the truth. Far from being averse to the idea, the Zionist leadership accepted the two-state solution as early as 1937 when it was first raised by a British commission of inquiry headed by Lord Peel.
And while this acceptance was somewhat half-hearted given that the proposed Jewish state occupied a mere 15% of the mandate territory west of the Jordan river, it was the Zionist leadership that 10 years later spearheaded the international campaign for the two-state solution that culminated in the UN partition resolution of November 1947.
There is a widespread but false belief that Mahmoud Abbas is finally prepared to accept the two-state solution proposed by the U.N. in November 1947 when it divided mandatory Palestine into two areas: one for the Jewish People; the other for the Arab People. The Jews of Palestine accepted the compromise division and declared a nation state for the Jewish people to be called by its historic name: Israel. The Arabs of Palestine, on the other hand, rejected the division and declared that they would never accept a state for the Jewish people and statehood for the Palestinian people. They wanted for there not to be a state for the Jewish people more than for there to be a state for their own people. Accordingly, they joined the surrounding Arab armies in trying to destroy Israel and drive its Jewish residents into the sea. They failed back then, but over the years, and to the current day, they continue to want no state for the Jewish people more than they want a state for Palestinian Arabs. That is why Abbas refuses to say that he would ever accept the U.N. principle of two states for two peoples. I know, because I have personally asked him on several occasions.
In a few months, Israel will be celebrating the 70th anniversary of the historic U.N. compromise, but the leaders of the Palestinian Authority still refuse to accept the principle of that resolution: two states for two peoples.
President Trump, for his part, has expressed an eagerness to make “the ultimate deal” between the Israelis and the Palestinians. This has propelled discussions about the dormant peace-process back into the spotlight. Shortly before travelling to the Middle East – where he met with Prime Minister Netanyahu in Israel and President Abbas in Bethlehem – Trump invited the Palestinian leader to the White House. Abbas was last at the White House in March 2014 shortly before the Obama administration’s shuttle diplomacy efforts –led by Secretary of State John Kerry – fell apart.
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While the international community clings to visions of a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Israeli public opinion is unified in asserting that the establishment of a Palestinian state is unrealistic and undesirable.
Only 12 percent of Jewish Israelis believe that withdrawing from the West Bank would end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, according to a survey published by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs at the end of March.
Overall, Jewish support for withdrawal from the West Bank has decreased from 60 percent in 2005 to 36 percent in 2017. The survey also found that 79 percent of Jewish Israelis believe that it is important to retain a unified Jerusalem under Israeli sovereignty. Such a stance is at odds with the international community’s oft-mentioned two-state plan of dividing Jerusalem and making it the capital of both Israel and a proposed Palestinian state.
JNS.org – The biggest Jewish news story during Passover this year proved a rule of political argument: whoever mentions Hitler first always loses. I’m…
An ongoing wave of Palestinian terrorism since the fall of 2015 — most recently, the murders of British exchange student Hannah Bladon in a stabbing attack and Israeli soldier Sgt. Elhai Teharlev in a car ramming — has apparently cooled the Israeli public’s appetite for a deal involving a Palestinian state.
“The Palestinian insistence on having their capital in Jerusalem is the true obstacle to peace,” Professor Efraim Inbar of Bar-Ilan University’s Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies told JNS.org.
Inbar also emphasized the significance of Jewish Israelis’ “large support for Israeli control of the Temple Mount,” the eastern Jerusalem holy site where Jewish prayer is currently banned, but where the Israeli government maintains security control.
“Jews in the Diaspora, as well as many Christians, also sympathize with Israel’s positions on Jerusalem,” Inbar said. “Therefore, Israel’s insistence on Jerusalem will put the onus of failure on the Palestinians.”
Inbar wrote in an April 5 article that, “The only approach that can succeed in Israel’s current conflicts is a patient, attritional, repetitive use of force. … Israelis should take comfort that time is on Israel’s side.”
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President Trump raised eyebrows when he mentioned the possibility of a one state solution. The context was ambiguous and no one can know for sure what message he was intending to convey. One possibility is that he was telling the Palestinian leadership that if they want a two state solution, they have to do something. They have to come to the negotiating table with the Israelis and make the kinds of painful sacrifices that will be required from both sides for a peaceful resolution to be achieved. Put most directly, the Palestinians must earn the right to a state. They are not simply entitled to statehood, especially since their leaders missed so many opportunities over the years to secure a state. As Abba Eban once put it: “The Palestinians never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.”
It began back in the 1930s, when Great Britain established the Peale Commission which was tasked to recommend a solution to the conflict between Arabs and Jews in mandatory Palestine. It recommended a two state solution with a tiny noncontiguous Jewish state alongside a large Arab state. The Jewish leadership reluctantly accepted this sliver of a state; the Palestinian leadership rejected the deal, saying they wanted there to be no Jewish state more than they wanted a state of their own.
In 1947, the United Nations partitioned mandatory Palestine into two areas: one for a Jewish state; the other for an Arab state. The Jews declared statehood on 1948; all the surrounding Arab countries joined the local Arab population in attacking the new state of Israel and killing one percent of its citizens, but Israel survived.
In 1967, Egypt and Syria were planning to attack and destroy Israel, but Israel preempted and won a decisive victory, capturing the West Bank, Gaza Strip and Sinai. Israel offered to return captured areas in exchange for peace, but the Arabs met with Palestinian leaders in Khartoum and issued their three infamous “no’s”: no peace, no recognition, and no negotiation.
In 2000-2001 and again in 2008, Israel made generous peace offers that would have established a demilitarized Palestinian state, but these offers were not accepted. And for the past several years, the current Israeli government has offered to sit down and negotiate a two state solution with no pre-conditions– not even advanced recognition of Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people. The Palestinian leadership has refused to negotiate.
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The optics, certainly, were fine. It was good to see an American president and an Israeli prime minister standing together on the podium with what appeared to be genuine good will. Most important, and promising for the future, perhaps, was how they dealt with the “two state solution” mantra. There was, for the first time in years, nuance in both the American and the Israeli position toward what has become a slogan without meaning.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reiterated the possibility of two states with caveats he noted:
- Palestinian acceptance of the legitimacy of Jewish sovereignty, echoing the words of the UN Partition Plan for Palestine for “a Jewish state.”
- Israeli security control from the Mediterranean to the Jordan River. “Israel must retain the overriding security control over the entire area west of the Jordan River. Because… otherwise we’ll get another radical Islamic terrorist state in the Palestinian areas exploding the peace, exploding the Middle East.”
President Donald Trump deferred, as befits someone who won’t live with the consequences of actions taken 6,000 miles away:
“I like the (solution) that both parties like… I can live with either one. I thought for a while that two states looked like it may be the easier of the two. To be honest, if Bibi and the Palestinians, if Israel and the Palestinians are happy, I’m happy with the one they like the best.”
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“Frankly, this has been one big myth-busting trip. I came here with an open mind,” began Goldy in a segment for her show, On the Hunt. While her site has a conservative bent, she emphasized that her team had searched out a wide variety of perspectives and opinions.
“We’ve talked to everyone. We’ve talked to Palestinians, pollsters, Israeli members of Knesset, journalists, people from the right, left, pro-Palestinian, pro-Israel, two-state solution, one-state solution…Hell, there is no solution,” she said in exasperation.
Her first revelation concerned the much disputed security wall. Much to her surprise, it was a mere fence.
“We found that Palestinians can actually freely come into Israel, so long as they are not carrying any explosives,” Goldy said, with more than a bit of bitterness in her voice. “But you know who can’t go the other way? It’s actually the Jews.”
“That’s according to self-prohibition,” she noted. “But it is also because they know that if they go in there, there is a very good chance they will probably die.”
Goldy, who describes herself as a devout Catholic, was disappointed by her visit to Bethlehem, where she was shocked to discover posters “exalting suicide bombers” in the city she considered holy.
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LOS ANGELES—Let’s assume, just assume, that between the two options presented by US President Donald Trump —one state or two states—Israel chooses the first option. It doesn’t have a majority among the people, but it definitely has a majority in the coalition. President Reuven Rivlin has presented this option in all its glory: One state, full and equal civil rights for everyone.
I am writing from the United States. Here and there, I run into BDS supporters, Jews and non-Jews, including activists of Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP)—the most anti-Zionist body on campuses.
With some of them, unbelievably, it’s possible to talk. And this is exactly what they are demanding: One state, full and equal civil rights for everyone.
Right-wing people write to me occasionally, some angrily, asking how a person like me, who fights against the industry of lies, is unable to see the light concealed in their solution. That’s an odd question. Because a person like me, who fights against lies that turn Israel into a monster, that deny the Israeli Jews’ right to a sovereign state, is precisely against the “solution” that these lies are offering—in other words, one state.
So why the hell should I oppose a solution when it comes from the anti-Zionist side and support it when it comes from the Right?
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