Since there is no chance of implementing the two-state solution, why support it? It has some advantages, but it is also dangerous.
The idea of a two-state solution was created by Israeli politicians Shimon Peres and Yossi Beilin as part of the Oslo Accords, which recognized the PLO as the “sole representative of the Palestinian people,” giving it the exclusive right to determine what would happen as a result of negotiations.
The Oslo Accords, however, do not refer to a two-state solution. The idea was part of secret agreements made with Yasser Arafat, though we still don’t know what they were. This has led to much confusion and our current misunderstanding of the two-state solution and what it means.
The “peace process” was based on the false assumption that Arafat had changed and the PLO would abandon terrorism. Although Arafat publicly rejected what he had agreed to in the Oslo Accords, and despite waves of terrorism, Israeli leaders continued to support him and the Palestinian Authority, which was dominated by the PLO. Skepticism was buried under enthusiasm for the myth of “the peace process” and the idea that Arafat was our “partner,” as Peres referred to him. It was a lie, and Peres knew it.
Under Peres and his successors, the two-state solution was accepted by some Israeli leaders, although it was never discussed or approved by the Knesset. Even after Ehud Barak and Ehud Olmert offered the PLO almost everything they wanted, the PLO and Hamas still refuse to accept Israel’s right to exist.
Support for the two-state solution was expressed by many countries and world leaders, which explains why Israeli officials did not want to oppose it. It’s also part of an agenda: 1) To minimize and restrict settlements, induce further withdrawals from areas of Judea and Samaria and undermine the settlement movement and religious Zionism. 2) Maintain the P.A. as a pseudo-government.
The latter serves Israel’s interests by helping to shield it from criticism by the international community through offering “incentives” to encourage a “peace process.” In addition, it helps Israel in its conflict with Iran and its proxies. Moreover, support for the two-state solution works to offset calls for Israel to annex Judea and Samaria and expand settlements, serving as a buffer to preserve the status quo.
But it also has devastating effects.
The two-state solution is part of a psychological war to force Israelis to accept the idea that the Palestinians are “a people” and deserve a state—and that Israel must make more concessions “for peace.” Thus, it shifts the focus from terrorism to appeasement.
Moreover, it accepts the Palestinian narrative that Israel is “illegally occupying Palestinian territory”—all of it, “from the river to the sea.” It legitimizes the “Nakba” narrative—that Israel is guilty of “ethnic cleansing,” “stealing Palestinian land and property,” “the occupation,” etc. It denies Israeli sovereignty in the homeland of the Jewish people.
Promoting the two-state solution as the only way of solving the conflict also ignores other alternatives, such as the “multi-state-solution”—a regional approach based on the Jordanian option.
Furthermore, it undermines Israel’s struggle against terrorism by 1) failing to hold the PA/PLO accountable, 2) legitimizing Palestinian “resistance against the occupation” (i.e., terrorism) and 3) promoting the idea that the P.A. is able and willing to fight terrorism against Israel.
It also creates symmetry between Israeli and Palestinian nationalism and legitimizes the Palestinian war against Israel as ethical and moral. This is part of the global intifada and the BDS movement’s attempt to brand Israel as a racist, apartheid, “settler-colonial” state, guilty of war crimes. The genocidal goal of this movement is Israel’s destruction.
Although the two-state solution cannot be implemented, supporting it promotes the Palestinian agenda that Israel must return to the 1949 armistice lines. It means ignoring the declared goals of the PLO Covenant and the Hamas Charter, which pledge to destroy Israel. It means accepting Palestinian sovereignty instead of Israeli sovereignty.
The truth is that there is no “peace process” and there never was. It was all a lie to advance the PLO and Hamas. Promoting the two-state solution, therefore, may seem to have no practical relevance, but it justifies the Palestinian agenda and has a strong emotional appeal to those who seek to kill Jews and eliminate Israel. Why, then, should anyone support it?
Moshe Dann is a Ph.D. historian and journalist in Israel.