This year, AIPAC awarded an official on-stage presence to a recognized representative of the almost half a million Jews currently residing in the areas of the heartland of the Jewish national homeland, Judea and Samaria. Not that in previous have persons living in those “beyond-the-Green-Line” territories addressed the annual conference, but they haven’t been openly identified as such.
(A personal anecdote: At the 1993 Conference, I managed to grab a small room in the hotel [this was when attendance was much smaller], and some friends spread the word that someone from Shiloh and a member of the Yesha Council’s Foreign Desk would be talking off-program. I recall almost 30 people packing the room but my talk lasted about 20 minutes at most until an AIPAC official came in and shut it down, claiming no unofficial programming was allowed)
Oded Revivi, Yesha Council Foreign Envoy, spoke on Monday, although some were not happy.
But that’s not the gift to which I am referring.
AIPAC continues to highlight a two-state solution. Its resource page notes that “Israel is committed to a two-state solution.” It also underscores that “BDS proponents undermine the prospects for peace and decrease the incentive for the parties to negotiate a two-state solution.” More forthrightly, we read there that:
“Peace will be best achieved if the Palestinians are willing to join Israel in direct talks with the goal of two states—the Jewish State of Israel living in peace and security with a demilitarized Palestinian state.”
A two-state solution has never worked or been realistic since it first was applied in 1922. That was when the League of Nations accepted a British alteration in the original conception of the Jewish homeland area and adopted Article 25, which read:
“In the territories lying between the Jordan and the eastern boundary of Palestine as ultimately determined, the Mandatory shall be entitled, with the consent of the Council of the League of Nations, to postpone or withhold application of such provisions of this mandate as he may consider inapplicable to the existing local conditions.”
Incidentally, there was a provision in that article which reads:
no action shall be taken which is inconsistent with the provisions of Articles 15, 16 and 18.
Article 15 is quite relevant to our current reality in that it stipulated that:
No discrimination of any kind shall be made between the inhabitants of Palestine on the ground of race, religion or language. No person shall be excluded from Palestine on the sole ground of his religious belief.
If I may translate that, Jews should be able to reside in Judea and Samaria, as well as in Jordan, even if the authority of a Jewish state is limited to areas of historic Palestine, or actually, Eretz Yisrael, that do not include Judea and Samaria or Gaza for that matter.
In 1937, a second two-state solution based on a partition was suggested and the Arabs rejected it. They also rejected the 1947 U.N. Partition recommendation, a two-state solution. They rejected the Israel government’s June 19, 1967 offer to return almost all the territories. The Menachem Begin 1977 Autonomy Plan idea was rejected as was the Camp David version. And ever since 1993, the Palestinian Authority has proven incapable of agreeing to a two-state solution.
Hamas, of course, is, literally, dead set against it. And on Monday morning, March 25, during the AIPAC annual policy conference in Washington, for the second time in two weeks, a missile was “accidentally” launched from the Gaza Strip—and this time destroyed a civilian residential home in the middle of Israel.
That was the gift for AIPAC.
Its national executive can now use that gift and simply remove all references to a specific solution, two-state or four-state (Israel, Jordan, Gaza and the “West Bank”). It can just include in its official resource material that whatever the sides agree to is what peace will be.
Hamas is oppressing its own population. It was never satisfied with the 2005 Gaza disengagement, which included the removal of all Jews from the area. Hamas seeks to overthrow the Fatah rule in Ramallah.
Why would AIPAC seek to tie Israel down to an unrealistic diplomatic option—not to mention the strategic security dangers it presents. Instead of rockets from Gaza, Israel will be facing rockets from the hills of Samaria. AIPAC delegations won’t be able to land at Ben-Gurion airport safely.
I hope AIPAC accepts the gift that Hamas has now provided it.
Yisrael Medad is an American-born Israel journalist and commentator.