Benny Elon 248.88.
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Hamas's failure to recognize Israel means the end of a two-state solution on this side of the Jordan River, according to MK Benny Elon, who heads the National Union and National Religious Party.
"It's very clear there is no two-state solution," Elon told The Jerusalem Post.
Elon himself never favored a two-state solution within the territories, preferring to believe that a Palestinian state should be in Jordan.
Now, he said, a Hamas-led Palestinian state that continues to call for the destruction of Israel has proven that he was right all along.
What the Left called a two-state solution, Elon said, is really a "three-state solution."
Unilateral steps and the security fence could give the illusion of peace for a while, "but it's only a matter of time before the majority of Israelis understand what is going on," said Elon.
The only stable partners in the region are Egypt and Jordan, he said. Israel should be pursuing "some kind of a peace treaty between us and Jordan and Egypt."
MK Aryeh Eldad (NU-NRP) said: "It is impossible and ridiculous to keep repeating the same mantra of a two-state solution when they [the Left] know that in the current situation there is no such possibility. Hamas is undermining the PA and all the plans of Kadima, Labor and Meretz."
Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee Chairman MK Yuval Steinitz (Likud) said he thought it was obvious that a two-state solution was not possible with Hamas at the PA's helm, and that he was surprised at the question.
"Israel doesn't refuse to recognize a Palestinian state. It does refuse to recognize a Palestinian state that does not recognize Israel and that is aimed at destroying it," he said.
In its charter, Hamas claims that "there is no place here for Jews or for any non-Muslim and that it is its holy duty to destroy Israel," said Steinitz. It would use any military or economic means it has to destroy Israel.
Israel, in turn, can't allow a Hamas-led state backed by Iran to sit seven or eight kilometers from Ben Gurion airport. "Israel should eliminate the Hamas regime all together," Steinitz added.
But Labor MK Colette Avital and Meretz faction leader Zehava Gal-On said a Hamas led-PA would delay but did not destroy the inevitable solution of two states for two peoples on this side of the Jordan river. "There may not be a two-state solution within the parameters of mutual understanding, or an agreement or negotiation," said Avital.
But she warned, just as Israel can set its borders unilaterally, so can Hamas unilaterally declare themselves to be a state. "What would prevent them from doing that," she asked.
Israel should work with the international community to prevent that from happening, said Avital. Israel should be encouraging moderate elements among the Palestinians, such as PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas who last week met with Labor Party chairman Amir Peretz. Israel should be soliciting help from the international community in that endeavor.
"I disagree with [Foreign Minister] Tzipi Livni that Abu Mazen is irrelevant," said Avital. Israel should also be insisting that the international community not recognize a unilaterally-declared Hamas state, she said. Re-occupying the Palestinian areas is not a solution. "I do not foresee any other solution, if it happens with us or without us," she said.
Gal-On said that while Hamas was not a partner for peace, the idea of a two-state solution isn't necessarily dead. In the long run it is the best solution for both the Israelis and the Palestinians. "It's in Israel's best interest to leave the territories," said Gal-On.
The presence of Hamas has changed the method of withdrawal, but not the fact that Israel needs to withdraw. It's more likely that Israel would take unilateral steps, Gal-On said. She'd also be interesting in seeing Israel turn to the international community to help contain Hamas by stepping into the areas withdrawn from by Israel.