Original Thinking: What will happen when you have pressured Israel into allowing a Palestinian entity to take hold on the 1967 borders, an entity that is taken over by a radical Islamic force bent on Israel’s destruction?
I will never recognize the Jewish state, not in a thousand years! – Mahmoud Abbas
From the river to the sea, from the north to the south, this is our land, our homeland. There will be no relinquishing even an inch of it. Israel is illegitimate and will remain so throughout the passage of time. It belongs to us and not the Zionists – Khaled Mashaal
Today is Gaza. Tomorrow will be Ramallah. After that Jerusalem, then Haifa and Jaffa – Ismail Haniyeh.
Which part of that do you not understand? For decades we have been bombarded by expert opinion telling us why the two-state paradigm is the only solution for a peaceful settlement with the Palestinians, and for the survival of a democratic Jewish state.
Having spent this period researching and studying the paths outlined for this road map, and analyzing the basic character and intentions of Israel’s adversary in this journey, it has brought me, irrevocably and inevitably, to the definite conclusion that it will never happen and, if it did, it would end in disaster for Israel.
If it did happen it would be the death knell for the Jewish state of Israel.
It would be the death knell because it would be the final stage, when Israel would have been reduced to a withered rump of a strategically weakened state, impossible to defend or protect itself from certain onslaught by a threatening circle of radical Islam. A Palestinian state would not be the buffer zone against such an assault; rather it would be the spearhead over whose territory a major attack would take place.
Whenever I discuss the subject with Israeli politicians, experts, European diplomats and journalists, all of whom foster the utopian dream of a two-state solution based on the 1967 lines with parts of Jerusalem given to the Palestinians as their new capital, I ask them one question, one critical question, that gnaws away at me. It gnaws away at me all the more so because I never receive an answer from them that assuages my concerns and fears.
In fact, their lack of an adequate response, their incomprehension of the premise of my question, amplifies my concerns and fears. Nobody, none of these experts, none of these people who are pushing this two-state package, none of the influence and opinion makers, is able to confront this question. Many haven’t even considered the question relevant.
Some have, but they choose to put it away in some dark recess of their mind. It is too challenging a question for them to contemplate in any depth. Their attitude is that the devil is in the detail but this should not get in the way of their pursuit of an agenda, an agenda that is, in reality, a train heading for the collision caused by them.
I reject the notion that a two-state solution is in Israel’s vital interest.
I reject it because the architects of this notion have not built a structurally sound framework, based on reality, for it to succeed. Instead, they have built a pack of cards where the jack is the joker, and the queen of hearts is really the knave of clubs. In other words, it is built unsoundly, where the slightest puff will bring the structure crashing down on all our heads. This is why I insist on posing my critical question now, before Israel is further shunted into an untenable position.
Here is the scenario that leads to my question, a scenario that is the dream of the two-staters.
Israel agrees to cede land for the creation of a Palestinian state that stretches to the 1967 lines. The Palestinians have accepted certain territorial compromises. They have been granted parts of east Jerusalem to establish their administrative headquarters that will lead to their future capital.
Large blocks of Jewish townships within Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) remain as integral parts of sovereign Israel. A huge celebration throughout the world as an agreement is signed at the White House.
Then, later, the Palestinians hold their long-overdue elections, and Hamas wins a landslide victory garnering over 70 percent of the vote.
What then? Hamas is ruling the new entity and confirms the protocol of its Charter to liberate all of Palestine, by “armed struggle” if necessary. It boasts of its success in reaching Tel Aviv with its Gaza rockets, and now all of Israel is within its range. It controls the streets of Jerusalem and brags that its flags will fly over all the holy places of Palestine. Tulkarm is only a 15-second rocket flight to Kfar Yona, which lies barely 2 kilometers away. Netanya, on the Mediterranean coast in central Israel, is only a 30- second rocket shot. Kfar Saba is a similar 15 seconds from Palestinian rockets launched from Kalkilya, with Ra’anana just twice that range.
Hamas will control the hills overlooking Israel’s main international airport.
My critical question is, when Palestine opens its terror war against Israel from over these 1967 borders, backed by the new Islamic armies of Lebanon, Syria, Jordan (the king having been deposed by the Muslim Brotherhood) and Egypt, who will take responsibility for that outcome? For many two-staters, this is the question that dare not be asked, for fear that it will bring the edifice, on which their ill-conceived idea is based, tumbling down on our heads.
The answer: Nobody. We will see the same responses that we get today.
Has anyone voiced regret over Israel’s unilateral peace gesture in the Gaza Strip, when in 2005 we forcibly removed thousands of Israelis from their homes and livelihoods in return for a vengeful Hamastan bent on Israel’s further destruction? On the contrary, people blame Israel for the ongoing assault on the Jewish state, in a show of twisted logic. It’s our fault we are being attacked by Palestinian terror, and by international diplomacy. We are not giving enough.
With such a mindset it will be a convenient leap to find a reason to blame Israel for responding to aggression from its rump borders. A shriveled Israel will not win us brownie points when the rockets start flying from the nascent state of Palestine. They will argue that we didn’t agree to absorb the right number of Palestinian “refugees” into the Jewish state? That we prevent those Palestinians from coming who prefer their “ancient homes” rather than to go to their own new state, even though their “ancient homes” do not exist in the modern State of Israel. No matter, Israel’s refusal to accept them, despite Israel honoring the clauses devoted to this issue in a signed agreement, will be the trigger for future condemnation by the international community even as we fight with our backs literally to the sea.
There will always be ongoing Palestinian issues, until the day that Israel no longer exists, and it will always be Israel’s fault. It will always be Israel that will be portrayed as the guilty party because of our “intransigence.”
But back to my critical question, which I address to all those who believe the two-state solution is the only game in town. What then? What will happen when you have pressured Israel into allowing a Palestinian entity to take hold on the 1967 borders, an entity that is taken over, democratically or otherwise, by a radical Islamic force bent on Israel’s destruction, a force that sits only 8 miles from the central coast of Israel, as it inevitably will. What then? Please don’t tell me that this will not happen. Please don’t tell me that an agreement will not come into force until proper security guarantees come into place. Please don’t tell me that this Palestinian entity has agreed to remain a demilitarized zone. Please don’t tell me that the international community will witness and guarantee Israel against such an eventuality.
Please don’t tell me that sanctions will be enforced against a Palestinian state that would threaten Israel, or that will incite its people to violence against the Jewish state. We both know the value of such international commitments to Israel’s security.
A lack of ability to answer my question is proof of a disconnect with facts on the ground that makes this decades-old proposal a non-starter.
The two-staters live in a dream world of their own making, one with little relevance to what the outcome will actually be.
To all two-state advocates, I invite you to get back to me with your overwhelmingly persuasive answer to my question, one that will convince me that your two-state solution has been thought through to the end. Give me the paradigm that will prevent such an outcome.
Until then, do not expect me, or Israel, to agree to your proposal which, in reality, will be the death warrant for my country.
Barry Shaw is the author of Israel Reclaiming the Narrative, available on Amazon and from http://www.israelnarrative.com. He is also the special consultant on delegitimization issues to the Strategic Dialogue Center at Netanya Academic College.