|Secretary of State Kerry is, once again, attempting to gin up yet another Middle East peace process to replace the one the Palestinian Authority (PA) violated by declaring their “statehood” at the U.N. A few months ago, before a U.S. House committee, he sadly intoned,
I think we have some period of time – a year to year-and-a-half to two years, or it’s over.”More recently, Kerry was invited by fellow travelers in Israel to a meeting in Jerusalem with a Knesset caucus favoring a “two-state solution.
“I believe the window for a two-state solution is shutting.
”There is one major problem with this diplomatic speak, though – how can there be a “two-state solution” when there already is a second state in the Israel/Palestine area? It is called Gaza, and it is ruled by the Islamist terror group Hamas.
It has all the attributes of a state, according to international law: 1) a defined territory; 2) a government; 3) capacity to enter into relations with the other states; and 4) a permanent population. (Of course, it’s precluded from being recognized as a state because it is ruled by a terrorist group.) No one of any credibility seriously believes that Gaza will be retaken by Israel.
Also, no one of any credibility thinks that the PA/PLO in the West Bank will win control of Gaza from Hamas. (There is a possibility of Hamas taking over the West Bank, however.) So, creating another state, in all or parts of the West Bank, would actually result in a “three-state solution” to the Arab-Israel problem, assuming it actually “solved” anything.
So my question here is: Why doesn’t anyone in diplomatic circles want to acknowledge that their language about a “two-state solution” is outdated?
I suspect this is all part of the grand self-delusion that seems to have infected Western foreign policy elite opinion regarding the Arab-Israeli situation. Many policymakers in the West seem trapped in the belief that we are still living in the time period of the 1980s to the 1990s. Back then, the idea of a “two-state solution” to make peace between Palestinians and Israelis seemed very credible to the elites in the West and to many, more neutral observers. Back then, the West also believed that the conflict in Israel was the overriding concern of the Arab peoples, and that it drove their hatred/anger toward the West, especially the U.S. And back then, there was no state of Hamastan in Gaza.But, today, outside of the Western foreign policy elites, no one really believes any of this anymore.
Creating another state for the Palestinians will not lead to peace. The PA, which would probably rule this state, has already shown its unwillingness to make peace, in 2000, 2001 and 2008 and by its continued support of incitement against Jews (not just Israelis) in books, television and radio. And President Abbas is not a credible peace champion; he is, in addition, corrupt, undemocratic and an anti-Semite to boot.
Meanwhile, the “Arab Spring,” perhaps more than anything else, has clearly shown that Israel’s existence and its actions are not really the focus of all Arab/Muslim regimes and peoples in the Middle East. After all, is the Syrian religious civil war between Sunnis and Alawites/Shiites focused on, or caused by, Israel? Were the protests in 2011 in Egypt focused on, or caused by, Israel? Are the recent demonstrations in Turkey focused on, or caused by, Israel? The answer is an easy “no” to all of these questions.
So, again, why is there this delusion?
In the mid-to late-90s, I, too, originally thought that peace was just around the corner. I, too, rooted for Prime Minister Rabin to finally end the conflict with the Palestinians, and then, the Arabs, so the Middle East would bloom. I, too, was in favor of the “two-state solution.”
But then, primarily because of what happened in 2000 and 2001, I realized that peace was not possible unless Palestinian society changed its tune and actually stopped inciting its people to hate Jews and Israel. This lesson was confirmed for me in 2005, when the Israelis gave up Gaza, and in 2008, when Abbas (like Arafat before him) also walked away from another generous Israeli peace plan. So, as a logical person, I adjusted my views accordingly. And after the Gaza disengagement I stopped using incorrect language like the “two-state solution.”
The Palestinians now have their “second state.” So, Secretary Kerry et al., let’s stop talking about a “two-state solution” to the Palestinian Arab-Israeli conflict. What we really should be discussing is whether the Palestinians really deserve yet another (third) state. In other words, is there a “three-state solution” to the Arab-Israeli hostilities?
The answer to that question is, by the way, a clear no.