The two-state solution—most recently advanced again by U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken at the Negev Summit—is a figment of the Biden Administration’s imagination that has no value in pursuing a true Middle East peace. Rather, it will only cause yet more blood to flow in Israel. Based on Palestinian leaders’ pronouncements and recent Palestinian opinion polls, its danger lies in the ultimate Palestinian goal of such a “solution”: destruction of Israel following an interim period of “two states.”
With its Palestine Partition Plan in November 1947, the U.N. General Assembly tried for a peaceful resolution to the bloodletting between Arabs and Jews in Palestine. The plan was often referred to as a two-state solution. (In fact, two states and an internationalized zone in Jerusalem were proposed.)
We know now that it wasn’t to be: Like most hapless U.N. efforts, the proposal simply poured gasoline on the Palestine fire. Israel has suffered a continual sequence of terrorist attacks and wars ever since, with little sign of any resolution.
Like the tango, it takes two to peacefully partition. Unfortunately, the Palestinian Arabs and their allies brought combat boots, not dancing shoes. The Arabs’ genocidal war on the newborn State of Israel failed. The Palestinians were left stateless, as Jordan and Egypt swallowed Judea and Samaria (known under Jordanian rule as the West Bank), Gaza, and a large portion of the supposedly internationalized Jerusalem.
The U.N. did nothing to stop the Arabs’ blatant violation of its good intentions.
In the 1960s, the U.N. finally tried to enforce Middle East peace, deploying a Sinai peacekeeping force. But when Egypt told them to leave, announcing the plan to murder every Jew in Israel, the U.N. withdrew.
Miraculously, Israel survived in 1967—and despite numerous wars and terror assaults since—has gone from strength to strength, even while pursuing the two-state solution for decades in utter futility.
Why have the U.N., the U.S. and Israel failed in realizing this two-state nirvana?
It’s primarily because for each party, the two-state solution has meant utterly different things:
For Israel, which has offered numerous peace proposals over the decades, the two-state solution means a Jewish state and an Arab state, with some land-swaps and with permanent borders drawn for national security.
- Israel doesn’t much care about the nature of a Palestinian state—as long as it lives in peace. Israel is indifferent to internal Palestinian societal decisions—as long as their violent internecine disputes don’t spill into Israel.
- Israel expects the Palestinian state to ingather the millions of descendants of exiled—or self-exiled—Palestinians, with Israel only admitting a relative handful of true refugees. Israel imagines that most current Israeli Arabs will remain an organic part of Israel.
- Jerusalem will remain the undivided capital of Israel. The Temple Mount/al Aqsa complex will guarantee free access to visitors of any faith. The Muslim Waqf will continue to exercise control of the Mount, subject to Israeli security needs.
For the Palestinians, the two-state solution has little in common with Israel’s version—and Palestinian leaders have repeatedly demonstrated this disconnect by walking away each time Israel and the U.S. have made two-state-solution offers—decade after decade.
- The Palestinians’ land demands are based on a fantasy map created by Egyptian and Jordanian conquest—using so-called “armistice borders”—after the 1948-1949 war.
- PA President Abbas has stated, “Israel will not keep one centimeter of Palestinian land from June 4, 1967 under any agreement.” Note that Abbas assumes land that was never Palestinian to be the starting point of negotiations. Abbas continued, “Israel is just a nation of Jews and others. We will not go one step further in recognizing Israel”—disregarding his own Basic Law, which freely declares Palestine to be an “Islamic State” based on “Sharia Law.”
- The Palestinian state, unlike Israel, won’t welcome its 5 million-strong diaspora’s homecoming. Palestinians demand that both their refugee-camp dwellers and the large, successful Palestinian diaspora in the West “return” to Israel—where most have never set foot. Jewish residency—in unabashed apartheid tradition—will be prohibited, according to Palestinian leaders.
- A Palestine-appointed religious authority could be expected to enact further restrictions on Jewish Temple-Mount and even Kotel access, as Abbas has frequently demanded. Abbas has stated his disgust at “filthy Jewish feet defiling our holy al-Aqsa.” Based on history, Palestinians would also bar Jews from Hebron and Joseph’s Tomb, near Nablus.
For America, the Biden administration and Antony Blinken and his Israel Ambassador Thomas Nides have offered little meaningful context when describing their version of the two-state solution.
- Lacking any concrete terms for a peace plan and unwilling to make any demands on the recalcitrant Palestinians, they have made do with chastising Israel for not accepting whatever the Palestinians want.
- As Bill Clinton learned with the Oslo Accords and at Camp David, the Palestinians—then and now—see little reason for giving an inch to achieve any version of the two-state solution.
- According to U.S. expectations, only Israel’s willingness to make sacrifices for peace will enable any version of the two-state solution.
All of these points render the phrase merely a naïve figment of the Western imagination—empty of meaning or force.
Why would Palestinians, proposing to create a brand-new nation, demand that their claimed expatriates—perhaps 50,000 real ones still alive, along with their millions of descendants—flood into Israel, rather than pour into their new, needy homeland?
Two answers, each showing why the use of the:two-state solution” should be banned:
1. The Palestinians want their version of the two-state solution in order to wage war with Israel, demographically alter the Israeli electorate, and subvert the very nature of Israeli society.
2. As PA President Abbas, the PA’s Basic Law and the Hamas Charter make clear, the two-state solution is intended to provide the Palestinians a sovereign state as a temporary platform for the eradication of Israel.
Please point out to friends, family, colleagues, and your elected representatives that the phrase “two-state solution” is no longer helpful or clarifying. It is just noise.
Emphasize that the Palestinians need to get realistic—above all acknowledge their desperate, increasingly unfavorable negotiating position. Achieving two states will require humility on their part—and the ability to make serious compromises—before they lose more leverage … and more territory.
Ken Cohen is the editor of Facts and Logic About the Middle East (FLAME). Visit FLAME’s lively Facebook page and website, https://www.factsandlogic.org.