A day doesn’t go by when I am not asked “isn’t the two-state solution dead?”
Today I was asked twice.
A former staunch Israeli supporter of this
solution called me this evening and said he wanted to begin talking to
Palestinians about other options because “it is too late to move the settlers
out of the West Bank, they are there to stay and we have to find some way to
Another long-time two-stater wrote, “While I agree that
there is no other solution than two states for the two people, the conflict will
continue. The Israeli peace forces are not strong enough to counter the official
policy. The international community is rhetorically unequivocal, but says it
cannot press [Prime Minister Binyamin] Netanyahu for substantial compromises
against the will of the large majority of his people.”
The settlers and
their supporters have successfully created the myth, the outright lie, with the
assistance of the Palestinians, that it is no longer possible to create a
Palestinian state in the West Bank. They have succeeded in making most Israelis
believe in the theory of “irreversibility” first presented by the (formerly)
left-wing intellectual Meron Benvenisti, namely that what the settlers have done
(with the support of Israeli governments) cannot be undone.
Benvenisti, the settlers and the settlements are there to stay (and so are the
Palestinians). If what the Israeli public is beginning to accept is true, that
Israelis will continue to live in the West Bank forever, then it will be very
soon that the international community comes to the same conclusion. The
Palestinian public is catching on as well, coming to the (false) realization
that their dream of independence and statehood will not materialize and
therefore they should cease talking about a two-state solution.
what is happening in the West Bank.
The Palestinian leadership will
continue to carry the torch of Palestinian nationalism until the torch is
extinguished by the Israeli right wing, led by Netanyahu and Foreign Minister
Avigdor Liberman and supported by Interior Minister Eli Yishai and others from
the religious camp.
I will continue to carry the torch of Israeli-Jewish
nationalism and will continue to support the two-state solution because I
recognize the myth and the lies. I am a Zionist.
I believe in the right
of the Jewish people to a nation-state and I believe that our nation-state must
The Arab minority in our state, who are Palestinians, must
enjoy not only full civil rights but also must be able to find their expression
of the national identity within the state which is also theirs.
can be the Jewish nation-state and democratic.
Israel can be the state
where the Jewish people find the territorial expression of their identity. It
can also be the state where the Arab Palestinian minority can find an expression
of their identity and be free to express it while continuing to be law-abiding
Israeli citizens. Those Palestinian Arab citizens of Israel who wish to live in
their own state can move a few kilometers to the east and live in Palestine,
next to Israel. It should be possible for them to even maintain dual citizenship
– if the two state are at peace.
In the same way it should be possible
for Jews who prefer to live in the non-annexed settlement blocs in the future
and wish to remain in the heartland of Judea or Samaria that will be part of the
Palestinian state to remain in Palestine as a Jewish minority enjoying civil and
national minority rights. They too could hold dual citizenship.
It is a
lie to claim that partition is no longer possible. It is squarely against the
interests of Israelis and Palestinians to claim that the two-state solution is
dead. Neither one of us is willing to concede the right of self
Neither people is willing not to have a territorial
expression of their identity. Neither side is willing to live under the control
of the other. Neither side is willing to create a new non-national identity that
will include Jews and Palestinians.
The two-state doubters claim that we
can create forms of a confederation, cantons, districts which are part of a
federal or con-federal state where the district can be homogenous.
cantons joined together can form the state whose borders are from the River to
the Sea and each district can have some form of autonomy.
will really accept this? Will Jews give up their sovereignty, their right of
self determination to a body of cantons? Will Palestinians give up their basic
right to self-determination, their right to determine their own destiny?
Confederations and federations are agreements between sovereign states which
decide to give up their sovereignty in order to be part of something larger,
meaning that the gains for joining are clearly larger than the losses for not
The European Union is a good example; 27 sovereign states
decided to give up large portions of their individual sovereignty in order to be
part of the EU. Would Israelis and Palestinians be willing to divest parts of
their sovereignty at this time to be part of some kind of Israetin or Palesrael?
This is where the settlers and the government which supports them are driving
us. This is no less than a crime against the people of Israel and the Zionist
The settlers and the government which supports them may think
at this time that they have won the battle, but they are bringing us all to a
tremendous defeat. They and we will all wake up to the reality that we have
created a monstrous mess in which we will not be able to keep our total
dominance over millions of Palestinians.
They will not succeed in driving
the Palestinians out of their land. They will succeed in taking more and more of
their land, in pushing all of the Palestinians out of Area C. They may convince
a future government to annex most of the West Bank and to keep the Palestinians
in the Palestinian Authority-controlled areas living in what they believe will
be conditions acceptable to the world.
This will not work. This
make-believe reality of the non-invincible Jewish state which defies the world
and international law without regard, with total impunity, will not
Their lies will be uncovered and the reality will blow up in our
face. Their crimes will be the catalyst for the next round of violence and the
blood of thousands of casualties will be on their hands. Yes, I accuse.
accuse because I can no longer be silent. The State of Israel and the Jewish
people are too dear to me to stand by and watch as the settlers and their
supporters in the Israeli government continue to march us down the road of
national suicide, doom and destruction. It is time to open eyes. It is time to
call the game over.
The two-state solution with annexation of most of the
settlement blocs in exchange for equal land inside of Israel proper can still be
accomplished. Soon, it will be beyond possible. Four or five percent land swaps
are doable, but not much more than that. This is the only way to save the State
of Israel and the Zionist enterprise. Do not be deceived by the settlers
implementing what they call Zionism, it is not. It is nothing more than Zionist
The writer is the co-chairman of IPCRI, the Israel Palestine
Center for Research and Information, a columnist for The Jerusalem Post, a radio
host on All for Peace Radio and the initiator and negotiator of the secret back
channel for the release of Gilad Schalit.