OpinionIsrael at War

The persistent ‘two-state’ delusion

If the West wants a solution to the Middle East conflict, it must take a long look in the mirror.

U.S President Joe Biden in Tel Aviv, Oct. 18, 2023. Photo by Miriam Alster/Flash90.
U.S President Joe Biden in Tel Aviv, Oct. 18, 2023. Photo by Miriam Alster/Flash90.
Melanie Phillips
Melanie Phillips
Melanie Phillips, a British journalist, broadcaster and author, writes a weekly column for JNS. Currently a columnist for The Times of London, her personal and political memoir, Guardian Angel, has been published by Bombardier, which also published her first novel, The Legacy, in 2018. To access her work, go to: melaniephillips.substack.com.

The simmering tensions between Israel and the Biden administration over the plan for post-war Gaza have now come to a boil.

The U.S. is doubling down on its insistence that Gaza must be run by a revamped Palestinian Authority. The Americans are still obsessed with a “two-state solution” to the conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Arabs.

This week, U.S. President Joe Biden told a White House Chanukah reception that there has to be a Palestinian state in the future and that Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu needs to make an effort to strengthen, change and “move” the P.A.

Netanyahu riposted that Israel would permit neither Hamas nor the P.A. to rule Gaza. Israel, he said, would not repeat the “mistake of Oslo,” a reference to the 1993 Oslo Accords between Israel and the terrorist Palestine Liberation Organization under which control of Gaza and parts of the disputed territories of Judea and Samaria were handed over to the newly-created P.A.

The previous day, Netanyahu had caused outrage by stating that the Oslo Accords caused as many deaths as the Oct. 7 Hamas massacre, “though over a longer period.”

His enemies immediately claimed that the comparison was invidious, that he was seeking to shrug off any blame for Israel’s vulnerability to the Hamas pogrom and that he was already campaigning to win the general election that many assume will follow the war.

Whether or not such criticisms are well-founded, they are irrelevant to the key point at issue: Giving the P.A. control of Gaza and establishing a Palestine state would expose much more of Israel to atrocities similar to those that took place on Oct. 7—and worse.

The idea that the P.A. would suddenly turn into a reliable guarantor of peaceful coexistence with the Jewish state is for the birds. Currently, Israel is locked in a desperate struggle in Judea and Samaria to contain a huge spike in terrorism by Hamas and other armed groups, which have vastly expanded in scope and weaponry under P.A. administration.

In fierce firefights in these territories, the IDF has arrested hundreds of terrorists, killed others, seized weapons and destroyed weapons labs, terrorist command centers and terrorist tunnel shafts. Just like in Gaza.

Officials in the P.A.’s ruling party, Fatah, have gloated over the slaughter of Oct. 7 and pledged there will be more.

The Biden administration says the P.A. must change. But how is that remotely feasible given that it has indoctrinated its people with Nazi-style antisemitism, teaching them to regard Jewish people as the devil incarnate and that the highest goal is to murder them and steal their land in order to turn the whole of Israel into a “state of Palestine”?

This week, polling results published by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research revealed that no fewer than 82% of Judea and Samaria residents and 72% of Gazans approve of the Oct. 7 pogrom. 

If there were an election in the disputed territories, Hamas would win hands down. Support for Hamas in these territories has more than tripled compared to three months ago. In Gaza, such support has also increased. The overwhelming majority in both areas want to see Israel destroyed.

If the Palestinian Arabs are to govern themselves, they must go through the equivalent of the de-Nazification that was carried out in Germany after World War II. That clearly cannot be done by the rejectionist, Jew-hating and despotic P.A.

In Britain, whose government is marching in lockstep with the U.S., Defense Secretary Grant Shapps has stated that the P.A. is the best vehicle for governing post-war Gaza and that the British Support Team, a military unit that has been training the P.A.’s security forces for many years, should play a vital role with its “capacity” enhanced.

This is similarly deluded. In 2018, the British Foreign Office awarded itself an official score of “A+”, claiming the P.A.’s training had “exceeded expectations” for developing “accountable and responsive security and justice services” and that, as a result, “citizens have been empowered … to hold authorities to account.”

Yet as David Rose observed in The Jewish Chronicle, in 2021 14 members of those same P.A. security forces raided the home of Nizar Banat, the leading anti-corruption, pro-democracy campaigner in Judea and Samaria, kidnapped him and savagely beat him to death.

Moreover, the Palestinians have been repeatedly offered a state of their own and turned it down, resorting instead to violence against Israel every time.

The West’s obsession with a two-state “solution” is therefore a type of madness. The core reason for this is the West’s refusal to recognize that the most important factor in this never-ending conflict is the behavior of the West itself.

This started in the 1930s, when Britain tore up its treaty obligation under the 1922 Mandate for Palestine to settle the Jews throughout what is now Israel, Judea and Samaria, and Gaza, and instead offered the Arabs a state within that land. This was the original “two-state solution.” It was based on a repudiation of international law and a reward to the Arabs for their murderous aggression.

Ever since then, Britain, America and the Europeans have continued to incentivize and reward the Palestinian Arabs for their exterminatory agenda by bestowing upon them global status, funding and support.

Western leaders have never acknowledged the bogus nature of Palestinian identity that writes the Jews out of their own history. Nor have they acknowledged the P.A.’s gross Jew-hatred; nor the way the Palestinian refugee agency UNRWA, funded by the West, weaponized equally bogus Palestinian refugee status to turn the world against Israel.

As for the Oslo Accords, midwifed by the Clinton administration, they unleashed three decades of terrorism causing thousands of Israelis to be murdered and injured. Former PLO leader Yasser Arafat bragged that he had signed the accords as a ruse to bring back terrorism to Israel from Tunis, where he had been exiled, and that the “two-state solution” was a “first stage” in Israel’s destruction.

Whether through their dependence on the Arab world, anti-Jewish prejudice or the liberal fantasy that all conflict can be ended through compromise, Western governments told themselves that the Arab war against Israel was no more than a fight over land boundaries. Since it was actually a genocidal cause, successive Israeli governments—other than at Oslo—have balked at concessions that would have signed the death warrant of the Jewish state.

Netanyahu’s overriding concern has always been to prevent a Palestinian state because of the mortal threat it would pose to Israel. That’s why he tolerated the rule of Hamas in Gaza: To divide the Palestinians, and thus forestall the establishment of another terrorist entity.

The Oct. 7 pogrom exposed this as a catastrophic error of judgment for which he should deservedly pay a high political price.

But people must look beyond their loathing of Netanyahu to where Israel’s interests lie. Is it in its interests for the P.A. to run Gaza? No. Is it in its interests for Israel to run Gaza? No. Is a “two-state solution” in Israel’s interests? No.

So who should run Gaza?

That question cannot be answered in a way that protects Israel’s interests unless the whole paradigm shifts and the Western world stops supporting the Palestinians’ agenda of extermination, and starts treating them as the pariahs they should be. At a stroke, their cause would collapse.

That won’t happen unless the world finally decides to accept—as it did in 1922, but then chose to forget—that the Jews are the only people, as a people, who are legally and morally entitled to inhabit Israel, their own ancestral homeland.

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