I struggle to understand the phenomenon. But even should the Almighty bless me with 120 years, I do not believe I would get it. That’s because I’m looking for rational answers, and there aren’t any.
What I am referring to is the embrace of the “two-state solution,” which is once again in vogue, internationally and on the left here in Israel. Just when I start to think people understand, the notion emerges with new vigor, and the “entitlement” of Palestinian Arabs to a state within the borders of the Mandate for Palestine, (which was established in international law as a Jewish homeland), is promoted with moral certitude.
Once again we are being subjected to the preaching of “know-nothings” such as Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who has told us oh so many times now that the US goal is seeing “Palestinians and Israelis enjoying equal measures of freedom, security, opportunity, and dignity.”
But wait! I want to tell him. We Jews worked for these things. With zero support from the world, we stood up with dignity, refusing to be victims even after the Holocaust, and worked to establish a democracy that provides security, freedom and opportunity.
It’s time to stop treating the Palestinian Arabs as victims – that is their default position – and start demanding that they be responsible for themselves. The world does not “owe” them a state.
In any event how would giving them a state ensure an “equal measure” of freedom and dignity, when they are unacquainted with democratic principles, function with vast amounts of corruption, and live in a severely repressive society? And why is it acceptable to refrain from asking this most pertinent question?
The Palestinian Arabs have done a brilliant job of promoting their fallacious narrative of victimhood. They have structured it so that it is simple and direct, and easy to embrace: We were here first and the Jews stole our land. In typical fashion, about a month ago, a narrator on PA TV declared: Our memories in this land are too long to be counted in years, and the occupier in our land has no memories…”
The fact that their claims are not true slips by with scant notice. So much righteous passion accompanies this “cause.” Reflecting upon all of the truly worthy causes that are neglected, I find it pathetic, if not tragic.
I am not naïve. I understand that underlying a good deal of the eager support for “Palestinian rights” is animosity to Jews and the Jewish state. But anti-Semitism, itself, defies rational explanation and thus is no answer.
There are those, particularly here in Israel, who maintain that they are for two-states because they love Israel and see a separation from the Palestinian Arabs (i.e., letting them have their own state) as the only way to demographically preserve the Jewish nature of the state. This is a different rationale. Just days ago, former IDF chief of staff Gadi Eisenenkot declared that he is entering politics solely to promote this very issue. Really now?
Eisenkot is joining the party of Benny Gantz – himself a “two-state” man, about whom more below – and Gideon Sa’ar. (Sa’ar’s political choices totally defy my understanding, but that’s for another time.)
Certainly some of those who advance this argument about sustaining Israel as a Jewish state must truly believe it, and Eisenkot (as bewildering as his position is to me) may be among them. However, what occurs to me, when I hear this line of reasoning, is that it lacks Jewish pride and a proper sense of Jewish entitlement. It’s a fall- back position.
There are a number of other ways to preserve the Jewish nature of the state. Autonomy for the Palestinian Arabs is one. Yitzhak Rabin was thinking in this direction when he said he said he envisioned something less than a state for the Palestinian Arabs.
And then there is Jordan, which, as many point out, is actually a Palestinian state, with a majority Palestinian Arab population. By the conclusion of the War of Independence, Jordan had gained control of Judea & Samaria, and then in 1950 annexed it. This meant that all the Arabs living in the area had full Jordanian citizenship. Even after Israel secured control of Judaea & Samaria in 1967, Jordan maintained its claim of sovereignty and Arabs in the area were still considered Jordanian nationals.
Then in 1988, the late King Hussein severed all ties with Judaea & Samaria and the Arabs living there were rendered stateless — disenfranchised and without passports. It is likely that this act – which reduced a whole group of people to sudden statelessness — was unconstitutional within Jordanian law, and it is questionable under international law, as well.
Were the Arabs of Judaea & Samaria to be provided with Jordanian nationality once again, they would not have the need to found a new state – they would be formally affiliated with an established state, would be enfranchised and possess passports. They could continue to live where they are, in land over which Israel would have sovereignty.
Historical and legal arguments make the deepest and most solid case for Israel’s rights to the land. You can find a review of these arguments in “Basics of Israel’s Legal Rights in the Land, on my website:
But it is possible today that the stand against the “two-state solution” can be most effectively advanced by examining the behavior/positions of the PA and broadly publicizing them. Information about what is going on with the PA – some of it fairly mind-blowing – might make people sit up and take notice.
I say “might” with reason. For there are those who, predisposed to a certain resolution of the current impasse and convinced that they are correct, simply choose not to know.
Nonetheless, it is imperative that we continue to shine a bright light on the situation. For the essential facts demonstrate the profound irrationality of supporting the “two-state” enterprise.
The bottom line is that there is no “two-state” solution. The Palestinian Arabs do not want two states. They want all of the land of Israel.
Oh, they make declarations about seeking a state to the “67 border,” which is the 1949 armistice line. But that is a holding tactic, designed to weaken Israel and move them forward in their goal of pushing out the Jewish state.
Evidence that this is not their true position abounds.
The emblem of the PLO encompasses all of the land of Mandate Palestine.
Omar Barghouti, co-founder of the BDS movement, says unambiguously:
“Most definitely, we oppose a Jewish state in any part of Palestine. No Palestinian – rational Palestinian, not a sell-out Palestinian – will ever accept a Jewish state in Palestine.”
See a video clip here:
"Most definitely, we oppose a Jewish state in any part of Palestine. No Palestinian – rational Palestinian, not a sell-out Palestinian – will ever accept a Jewish state in Palestine." -BDS Co-Founder Omar Barghouti pic.twitter.com/e4S959ze84
— AIPAC (@AIPAC) July 11, 2019
In a recent press conference with Joe Biden, Mahmoud Abbas of the PA called for an end to “74 years of… occupation.” Israel was founded 74 years ago. Was anyone paying attention?
Just a week prior to this, a popular columnist in the official PA daily called for advancing ”the acts of struggle against the Zionist colonialists in all parts of Palestine until its liberation and until the complete removal of Zionist colonialism from its land.”
Within the PA school system, kids are given the same message. They are taught that the entire Israeli Mediterranean coast, including the Israeli cities of Haifa, Acre, Jaffa, Ashdod, and Ashkelon are really Palestinian, “under occupation since 1948.” In textbooks and school posters, maps are displayed showing “Palestine from the river to the sea.”
Let us be clear: we are not speaking about Hamas here, or Palestinian Islamic Jihad. This is the Palestinian Authority, which, in theory, would morph into a Palestinian state. That’s the state that is expected to live side-by-side with Israel in peace and harmony.
(Note: Technically the PLO is the body broadly recognized as representing all Palestinian Arabs and empowered to negotiate for them. The Palestinian Authority is an administrative body established by virtue of Oslo – negotiated between Israel and the PLO — that operates in parts of Judea & Samaria. It functions under the umbrella of the PLO, and there is considerable overlap in terms of leadership and more. Fatah is the major party of the PA.)
But let us continue…
Mahmoud Abbas, a notorious Holocaust denier, generated a great deal of fury this week. He was in Germany, which is marking 50 years since the horrendous massacre of 11 Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics, which was carried out by Black September, a break-off of Fatah. When asked at a Berlin press conference if he would apologize for the massacre, Abbas declined, saying instead that Israel over the years had committed “50 holocausts” against his people.
This is a typical PA stance, which inverts history and allows the Palestinian Arabs to assume the role of the Jews. But this time he went too far, especially as he was on German soil, actually standing next to German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, who was later criticized for not booting him off the platform for his outrageous statement. (Scholz grimaced but remained silent, only registering his criticism later.)
Abbas, once he realized the furor he caused, tried to walk back his statement. This is our “peace partner.”
And here I circle back to Defense Minister Gantz. A year ago, he met Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah for a meeting. Then, at the end of last December, he hosted Abbas in his home in Rosh Ha’ayin, the first time in ten years that Abbas attended a meeting in Israel. And this wasn’t just a meeting, it was in the private home of an Israeli minister.
Gantz argued that the meetings were necessary for preventing terrorism (we see how well that worked) and strengthening security cooperation. I thought it was garbage then, because there was nothing special happening at that moment and the issues could very likely have been dealt with by underlings.
With the horrendous holocaust statement of Abbas this week, attention was again focused on Gantz’s relationship with Abbas. His defense: the talks “prevented wars…don’t lecture me about meetings that prevented and are preventing the next war.” So again, I say it was garbage.
Note his extended statement: “Thanks to the coordination by the lower ranks in the field, by the heads of the defense networks, and myself, the lives of many soldiers and civilians were saved.” Would fewer lives have been saved if the meetings with the PA were handled just by the heads of the defense network? One has the feeling Gantz is enjoying this contact with Abbas. But that sort of contact legitimizes someone who should NOT be legitimized.
As Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked put it: “Abbas is fighting IDF soldiers in the Hague and is denying the Holocaust in Germany. We can’t legitimize him, and we certainly can’t invite him to Rosh Ha’ayin.”
Fervently do I hope the voters remember this in November.
Let it be noted in closing that on its official Facebook page, Fatah, the major party of the PA, headed by Mahmoud Abbas (he wears multiple hats), praised the terror attack near the Kotel that wounded eight people last Saturday night. Among those wounded was a pregnant woman and her baby subsequently delivered by C-section. Not only praised it, but incited more of the same: “Save your bullets and use them against the occupation…”
Our peace partner.
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© Arlene Kushner. This material is produced by independent journalist Arlene Kushner.