OpinionIsrael-Palestinian Conflict

The two-state solution is a dangerous pipedream

Israel’s adversaries want all the land “from the river to the sea.”

Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas with Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal in Cairo on Feb. 23, 2012. Credit:  Mohammed al-Hums/Flash 90.
Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas with Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal in Cairo on Feb. 23, 2012. Credit: Mohammed al-Hums/Flash 90.
Enia Krivine
Enia Krivine is the senior director of the Israel Program and the FDD National Security Network at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. Follow Enia on Twitter @EKrivine.

During his State of the Union address on Thursday, U.S. President Joe Biden reiterated his support for the creation of a Palestinian state. By placing Palestinian national aspirations at the center of its Middle East policy, the Biden administration is betting on a pipedream that will revive a corrupt and autocratic regime that is far less popular among Palestinians than the genocidal Iran-backed terror group Hamas. 

Two months after the Oct. 7 massacre, polls showed that support for Hamas had surged among Palestinians in Judea, Samaria and Gaza. In Judea and Samaria, support for Hamas more than tripled. Despite the devastation of the Israel-Hamas war, Palestinians in general believed that Hamas was “correct” to launch the war. These commonly held views among Palestinians do not comport with the idea of two states for two peoples living side-by-side in peace.

Even before Oct. 7, Israelis were experiencing the deadliest year of terror attacks in almost two decades, perpetrated primarily by Palestinians from Judea, Samaria and eastern Jerusalem. That trend continued unabated after the Hamas massacre, with hundreds of Palestinian terror attacks and more than a dozen Israelis killed since Oct. 7.

Given widespread Palestinian support for the wholesale slaughter of Israeli men, women and children, one can hardly blame Israelis for being skeptical of a Palestinian state on their borders foisted upon them by the U.S.

Then there is the inconvenient question of who would run that Palestinian state. P.A. chief Mahmoud Abbas is in his late 80s and in questionable health. He is in the 19th year of his four-year term. He is also extremely unpopular among Palestinians, who see him as corrupt

Israelis do not trust the P.A. Not only has Abbas failed to denounce the Oct. 7 massacre, but earlier this month he attempted to reintegrate Hamas and Islamic Jihad into mainstream Palestinian politics.

Jabril Rajoub, a senior leader of Abbas’s ruling party Fatah, said in November that Hamas remains part of the Palestinian “political and social fabric.” To make matters worse, the U.S.-backed Palestinian security forces that ultimately report to Abbas have been involved in dozens of attacks on Israeli soldiers and civilians. These attacks have been lauded by Fatah, which glorifies terrorists as “martyrs.”

There are plenty of other opportunities to expand peace in the region and lay the groundwork for a resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict without hastily declaring a Palestinian state.

In 2020, the Trump administration brokered the Abraham Accords, normalizing relations between Israel, the UAE and Bahrain. Morocco and Sudan soon followed. Reports indicate that several more Arab and Muslim states were prepared to normalize ties with the Jewish state before Oct. 7. This demonstrates that the Palestinians no longer have a veto over peace. 

But the Biden administration seems to be chasing the fantasy that somehow a two-state solution is the key to unlocking peace in a region torn apart by Islamist ideology and the proliferation of terror proxies funded, trained and equipped by Iran. Israel’s foes are not interested in a two-state solution. They make the genocidal demand to rule all the land “from the river to the sea.” There is no way of dividing the land that would make these terror organizations and their patron in Tehran finally accept a Jewish state.

Israelis know that they are facing a powerful enemy that wants to see Israel wiped off the map. Their opposition to a two-state solution has nothing to do with denying Palestinians the right to self-determination and everything to do with Israelis’ sense of national security. 

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has taken a firm stance against a two-state solution. Netanyahu is not alone. Israeli officials from across the political spectrum have shared their concerns about being forced into a political process with the Palestinians that Israelis aren’t ready for.

The quest for Palestinian statehood is an untimely distraction from the pressing challenges the U.S. faces in the region and the world. Biden should change course or risk weakening our greatest ally in the region at a time when it most needs U.S. support.

The opinions and facts presented in this article are those of the author, and neither JNS nor its partners assume any responsibility for them.
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