OpinionIsrael-Palestinian Conflict

Two states or a pipe dream?

The current trajectory of the Israel-Palestinian conflict may just lead to a no-state solution.

Palestinian protesters take part in a "Great March of Return" demonstration, near the Israel-Gaza border east of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, on March 30, 2019. Photo by Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90.
Palestinian protesters take part in a "Great March of Return" demonstration, near the Israel-Gaza border east of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, on March 30, 2019. Photo by Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90.
Charles A. Stone
Charles A. Stone is a professor in the Department of Management, Marketing and Entrepreneurship at the Koppelman School of Business at Brooklyn College.

Palestinian leadership must have a better inducement for Israel to come to the negotiating table than rape, mutilation, kidnapping, stabbings and missile attacks. The Palestinian people must be willing to accept two fundamental facts: 1) it is not possible to turn the clock back to June 4, 1967; and 2) it is a futile crusade to try and destroy Israel. For a state of war to be replaced by a state of peace, a state of acceptance must replace a state of rejection.

Before Israel can feel secure enough to cede more control over any of the land it captured in the 1967 Six-Day War, Hamas must be destroyed; the threat posed by Iran and its proxies will have to be neutralized; and the West Bank will have to be de-terrorized. Once Israel considers these conditions satisfied, then it will have to take calculated risks and help build a viable Palestinian state with a democratically elected Palestinian government rooted in reality, and that is focused on the construction of an open above-ground civilian society. This future Palestinian government must strive to co-exist and co-prosper with Israel. These prerequisites and conditions may take years to accomplish.

In the meantime, as a show of good faith, Israel should stop building new settlements in the West Bank so the few voices of moderation can become more influential and begin to lead. Enough settlements already, Dayenu! Two states require that two mindsets of compromise supplant two mindsets of xenophobia.

The current trajectory of the Israel-Palestinian conflict may lead to a no-state solution before a two-state solution, as the weapons available to both Israel and its enemies become massively more destructive and plentiful. Iran could be only weeks away from having nuclear bombs (Iran Watch).

See this excerpt from the speech that Palestinian Authority chief Mahmoud Abbas made to the U.N. General Assembly on Sept. 21:

Despite this painful reality and 30 years after the Oslo Accords, which Israel has totally discarded, we still maintain hope that your esteemed organization will implement its resolutions demanding an end to the Israeli occupation of our territory and realizing the independence of the fully sovereign state of Palestine with East Jerusalem as its capital on the borders of the fourth of June 1967 as well as resolving the issue of Palestinian refugees in accordance with the resolutions of international legitimacy, especially General Assembly Resolution 194 and the relevant General Assembly and Security Council resolutions, all of which affirm the illegality of the Israeli occupation, and its settlements—in particular resolution 2334 and the Arab Peace Initiative.”

Both Resolution 2334 and the Arab Peace Initiative make such onerous and unrealistic demands on Israel’s security given that Iranian terror is now so deeply embedded in the West Bank, Gaza and Lebanon, and its intent to destroy Israel is crystal clear.

Here is what the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative expects of Israel in return for peace with the Arab States:

Complete withdrawal from the occupied Arab territories, including the Syrian Golan Heights, to the 4 June 1967 line and the territories still occupied in southern Lebanon.

  1. Complete withdrawal from the occupied Arab territories, including the Syrian Golan Heights, to the 4 June 1967 line and the territories still occupied in southern Lebanon.
  2. Attain a just solution to the problem of Palestinian refugees to be agreed upon in accordance with the U.N. General Assembly Resolution No. 194.
  3. Accept the establishment of an independent and sovereign Palestinian state on the Palestinian territories occupied since 4 June 1967 in the West Bank and Gaza Strip with East Jerusalem as its capital.

Before a “two-state solution” is possible, a state of reality must replace a state of delusion.

General Assembly Resolution 194 states: “Refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbours should be permitted to do so at the earliest practicable date, and that compensation should be paid for the property of those choosing not to return and for loss of or damage to property which, under principles of international law or equity, should be made good by the Governments or authorities responsible.”

Recent polls indicate that a significant majority of Palestinians view Hamas positively and support the Oct. 7 mass murders. This is a fair indication that Palestinians would not be willing “to live in peace with their neighbours.”

Resolution 194 refers to compensation in lieu of return. It’s time to settle the questions of Palestinian refugees with monetary compensation since it is abundantly clear to anyone who is analytical and realistic that the return of refugees from the wars of 1948 and 1967 is never going to happen. Settling the refugee issue with monetary compensation will liberate the refugees from their U.N. patrons and enable Palestinians to have a realistic path forward to freedom and prosperity.

If the leaders of the Palestinian people do not cease for a moment to pursue their eternal quest to delegitimize and destroy the idea of Zionism and the State of Israel, then there will be no possible credible advancement towards a geographical two-state arrangement. As long as the Palestinian leaders keep peddling unrealistic promises such as the “right of return” and national borders based on the armistice of 1949, the “two-state solution” will be no more than a pipe dream as ephemeral as a cloud of smoke from a hookah.

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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