A declaration of war on the two-state solution

Palestinian resistance is likely to include a new round of violence. That is not a threat, it is an assessment.

By
September 11, 2019 20:07
IDF SOLDIERS KEEP guard in the Jordan Valley earlier this year.

IDF SOLDIERS KEEP guard in the Jordan Valley earlier this year.. (photo credit: AMMAR AWAD / REUTERS)

 Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has declared war on the two-state solution. His plan, which he promised to implement if he is reelected, would annex between 30-40% of the West Bank, including all of the Jewish settlements, in the blocks and isolated around Palestinians communities, and the entire Jordan Valley. There is not a single Palestinian alive who would agree to a mini-fragmented Palestinian state under those conditions. Netanyahu declared that he will negotiate with President Trump to gain his agreement for these territorial conquests. He never mentioned, even in passing the need to negotiate with the Palestinians.

For Netanyahu, the Palestinians don’t exist, the Palestinians don’t have rights, and their aspirations for independence and statehood can simply be ignored. He only needs Trump’s support. Trump claimed to remove Jerusalem from the agenda. Trump also claimed to remove the refugee issue from the agenda. Now he can claim to remove the issue of Palestinian statehood from agenda as well. Netanyahu has declared that if he wins the elections on April 17 and he implements his declaration, he will be construct the wall of Israel’s eastern border. The wall that he is building is the one that he is pushing the Palestinians against, and they will resist.

Palestinian resistance is likely to include a new round of violence. That is not a threat, it is an assessment. Furthermore, we should expect Egypt and Jordan to recall their ambassadors and to launch a process that will likely lead to freezing the peace treaties with Israel’s two Arab neighbors, or even withdrawing from the entirely. This is simply a step too far for the Arab world to accept.

The Palestinian Authority is likely to collapse either through Palestinian public opposition to continuing to exist or through a voluntary act of “returning the keys to the occupier.” It is doubtful that even without this move the two-state solution retains a majority support among the Palestinians. Among the young generation of Palestinians there is no doubt that a majority no longer support the two-state solution. The call for democracy and a one-state solution will sweep over the Palestinian public like a tsunami. The international community, after protesting the Israeli move for annexation, will within a short number of years fall in line behind the Palestinians and support democracy, one person one vote, and the de-Zionification of the State of Israel.

For those Israelis who see the dangers of Netanyahu’s declaration of war on the two-state solution, this must be the call to us all of us to vote en masse on September 17. For those Israelis who continue to believe that partition is probably the only road to peace with the Palestinian people, and to the Palestinian citizens of Israel who must understand that they hold the keys to defeating Netanyahu, full participation in the election that must dump Netanyahu is the only avenue for saving us and the State of Israel.

Netanyahu must be defeated for the sake of Israel, and for the sake of the Palestinian people as well. The permanent removal of the two-state solution as a viable option for ending the Israeli Palestinian conflict leaves us with a one-state non-democratic, non-Jewish reality under which the Palestinians have no option other than to demand democracy in a non-ethnic, non-nation state of Israelis and Palestinians.

I USED to tell Palestinians who supported the so-called one-state solution that the best road to one state was through a peaceful two-state solution in which the two peoples live in peace, and eventually borders and national identities might come down. But I was wrong. Now it turns out that the fastest route to a one-state option is by erasing the possibility of a two-state solution. Palestinians would have to be insane to continue the charade of Oslo and two states after Netanyahu will annex vast parts of what they believe should be their state.

When Netanyahu made his famous Bar-Ilan speech in 2009, in which he supported the two-state solution, his father responded, “I know my son. He didn’t mean it.” Now it is more than clear that Netanyahu lied to the public in Israel and to the world, and that his father told the truth. When Yitzhak Shamir was prime minister, and was asked if he wouldn’t negotiate with the PLO because they were a terrorist organization, he responded that he wouldn’t negotiate with the PLO because there is nothing to negotiate with them about except a Palestinian state, and we would never do that.

Shamir was correct then and refused to play what has become known as the Oslo game. Netanyahu played the game, but now he has turned the board upside-down. In past years, I brought messages from Mahmoud Abbas to Netanyahu three times to open direct secret negotiations on ending the occupation, creating the two-state solution and making peace. Netanyahu turned down those proposals all of the three times and continued to blame Abbas saying that he was not a partner.

Yes, Mr. Netanyahu, Abbas and every other Palestinian leader is not a partner to continue the occupation. The Palestinians will never be partners to Israeli annexation. No Arab will ever be a partner to Israeli apartheid, a state in which Jews are superior, have full political rights and in which the majority of Palestinians are denied citizenship, political rights and equality.

Mr. Netanyahu, your annexation plan is shooting the first shot of a third intifada. You have declared war on the chances of living in peace for the foreseeable future. With you at the helm, the Palestinians never had a partner in Israel. They have been saying that for years, and you have now proven that without a shadow of doubt. You can try to negotiate a peace deal, a “Deal of the Century” with your buddy Donald Trump. Let’s see how far that takes you in the Middle East.

Mr. Netanyahu, you have now cast your final role in history – in the history of the State of Israel and the history of the Jewish people. You have done what some of our enemies have tried to do for decades: You have put an end to the Zionist enterprise. No, Mr. Netanyahu, Israel that annexes huge parts of the West Bank is no longer the democratic nation-state of the Jewish people. It cannot be the democratic nation-state of the Jewish people because the human make-up of the totality of the population between the river and the sea is at least 50% Palestinian, and they certainly do not enjoy Israel’s democracy. They also reject your annexation of their land and the end of the possibility of their independent state next to Israel.

Those of us in Israel who have supported and struggled to bring about a two-state solution are now forced to accept the new reality that you will create, and we will have to join the ranks of the Palestinian people who will fight for democracy and equality in a non-nation-non-ethnic-secular state.

The writer is a political and social entrepreneur who has dedicated his life to the State of Israel and to peace between Israel and her neighbors. His latest book, In Pursuit of Peace in Israel and Palestine, was published by Vanderbilt University Press and is now available in Israel and Palestine.


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