The demonization of the two-state solution

IRONICALLY, ALTERNATIVES to a two-state solution don’t necessarily provide any sort of protection from the violence against Israel. (photo credit: REUTERS)
IRONICALLY, ALTERNATIVES to a two-state solution don’t necessarily provide any sort of protection from the violence against Israel.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
 As recently as a decade ago, the two-state solution was considered mainstream in Israel and in the Diaspora at both the government and community level. But in 2019’s age of political polarization, the two-state solution has become a dirty phrase, as calls for annexation continue to increase. Ironically, the alternatives to a two-state solution don’t necessarily provide any sort of protection from the violence against Israel that may (or may not) occur from a Palestinian state. Yet, political leaders and pro-settlement voices continue to promote a narrative that demonizes the two-state solution and ignores the threats, even security threats, posed by a one-state solution.
This week, 21 members of Knesset penned a letter to the US Congress claiming that the two-state solution was “dangerous.” Whereas the two-state solution used to be considered mainstream, it is now being rejected and even demonized by political leaders in a hyper-polarized environment. In fact, what appears to be more dangerous today is the demonization and intolerance of perfectly legitimate political viewpoints. 
How can we expect to make peace, or even to speak to the next generation when dissenting opinions are silenced? The two-state solution is a mainstream idea in Israeli society, and it is widely supported by the Diaspora Jewish community, yet a small but vocal minority is seeking to shut those voices out of the conversation – including members of Knesset.
At the government level, the US Congress resoundingly supports a two-state solution even at a time of extreme polarization in US politics. Amazingly, this comes at a time when the Democratic Party itself is facing a crisis of anti-Israel extremism from Congress members like Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib – and yet 21 right-wing members of Knesset took this opportunity to send a letter demonizing support for the two-state solution, despite that a House bill rejected the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel. 
The letter stated that a Palestinian state would be “far more dangerous” to Israel than BDS, and asked the US Congress to “refrain” from using such language. While these members of Knesset are certainly entitled to their beliefs, one can’t help but wonder what exactly these lawmakers intend to do with the 3.3 million Palestinians who reside in the West Bank, given the same members of Knesset also believe in the importance of Jewish state.
THERE IS no simple answer to this conflict. Proponents of one state claim that a two-state solution would be dangerous to Israel’s security, but in what situation would that not also be the case in a one-state solution? Imagine a future without the two-state solution. One possibility is of course a continuation of the status quo: an occupation that morally degrades Israel, and a deteriorating situation in the West Bank and Gaza that disproportionately harms Palestinians and perpetuates an oppressive and inept Palestinian government. 
Another possible future without a two-state solution could be a state in which 3.3 million people do not have equal rights, a state where there will almost certainly be perpetual violence and internal strife due to sectarian or religious violence that would only be exacerbated by legal inequalities. 
A third possibility could be a state in which 3.3 million people are equal citizens and Israel is either no longer a Jewish state or no longer a democratic state. Even then, there will likely be horrendous violence. As improbable as the two-state solution is, it’s no less palatable than a one-state solution. 
Political leaders on the Right cannot simply will away Palestinians, and the desire to do so is as fanatical as the Palestinian leaders’ refusal to accept that Israel is here to stay. The two-state solution, and every other proposed solution, all have costs and benefits. These are politically valid discussions, but the rejection of the two-state solution out of hand is problematic even if the primary motivations are the repeated failures of Palestinian leaders and the inefficacy of the Oslo Accords. Israel’s Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon stated in 2012, “Enough with the two-state solution. Land-for-peace is over. We don’t want a Palestinian State. We need to apply Israeli sovereignty over all Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria.”
Even if that is what the Israeli government chooses to do in the future, a statement that refuses to take into account the human rights and dignity of both peoples is both unacceptable and unhelpful.
The foundation and the motivations behind Zionism are not mutually exclusive to Jewish self-determination. Our liberation and return to our indigenous home doesn’t need to come at the expense of the peoplehood of Palestinians or a future state of Palestine. When political leaders present an inaccurate picture that demonizes the two-state solution, it damages the prospects for peace and it hinders dialogue.
The writer is a freelance writer and the founder of Social Lite Creative, a digital marketing firm.