President Obama's 'two-state solution'

Ritual incantations as foreign policy - after Palestinian statehood, strategic circumstances in the region could become markedly less favorable to Israel and the United States.

An Islamic jihad terrorist (photo credit: REUTERS)
An Islamic jihad terrorist
(photo credit: REUTERS)
In Washington, foreign policy has sometimes been constructed upon madness, but more commonly, upon mediocre visions, hackneyed phrases, childish metaphors, and flagrantly empty witticisms. Recently, US President Barack Obama, speaking at the UN General Assembly, and addressing refractory issues of Middle East peace between Israel and the Palestinians, repeated his ritual call for a "Two-State Solution." This tired presidential plea is plainly bound to fail. There is also overwhelming irony to this clichéd plea. Mr. Obama remains correct in affirming determination to fight barbarous jihadi foes called Islamic State (IS), yet his corollary call for "Palestine" could create another jihadist state. The president should finally understand that it makes no sense to fight against jihadi enemies in one chaotic theater of regional conflict, while simultaneously seeking to install similar adversaries in another. Whatever final allocation of power might ultimately emerge between Fatah and Hamas forces in an evolving "Palestine," that newly sovereign state would quickly position itself solidly against the United States. In view of ongoing, complex, and sometimes crosscutting cleavages between Sunni and Shi'ite forces throughout the region, it is also plausible that Palestine, intentionally, or under expectedly coercive duress, would sooner-or-later become part of a growing IS axis. Alternatively, in an always uncertain Middle East, it could wind up as a thoroughly willing client, or merely subordinated proxy, of Iran.
Credo quia absurdum. "I believe because it is absurd." In the pervasively uncertain Middle East, almost anything is possible.
On September 11, 2001, celebrations of American distress were evident all over Gaza and the West Bank, and in those Palestinian areas controlled by both Hamas and Fatah. Nothing has changed. America, despite its consistently misplaced largesse toward the Palestinians, and in spite of its unceasing willingness to look away from egregious Palestinian crimes, remains conspicuously loathed by virtually all Palestinians.
Inevitably, it should be plain. Mr. Obama’s stubborn adherence to a "two-state solution" will backfire. Somehow, despite their endlessly plaintive pleas for “justice,” and also their crudely choreographed efforts at shifting blame from the Arab murderers to the Israeli victims, the Palestinian Authority and Hamas always block their own way forward. From the beginning, from the very start of their lascivious excursions into "sacrificial" terror, both the PA and Hamas, whenever they seem on the threshold of what appears to be a sensible path to independence, lurch backward, confused, into relentlessly new cyclical spasms of shallow vitriol and random violence.
Always, Israel’s ceasefires with Hamas remain tentative; that is, in force until the Islamic Resistance Movement (derivative kin of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood) can re-organize its next round of rocket attacks upon Israeli schools, hospitals and playgrounds.
Always, these predictably unproductive terror attacks fail to generate any legal or geo-strategic benefit for the Palestinian people (quite the contrary), but, nonetheless, and without a scintilla of expected progress, they remain celebrated as a presumptively obligatory tactic of jihad.
Back in Washington, President Obama, in essence, demands that an enemy Palestinian state be carved from the still living body of Israel. Quickly, this rabidly anti-American 23rd Arab state would seek aggressive extensions across the Green Line. How do we know this? Their leaders announce it openly, again and again, unashamedly, as if it should be obvious to everyone. They do not pretend otherwise.
On October 1, Mahmoud Al-Zahar, Hamas Political Bureau senior member, stated in Arabic-language newspaper Al-Ayyam: "Some have said that Hamas wants to create an Islamic emirate in Gaza. We won't do that, but we will build an Islamic state in Palestine, all of Palestine."
For a long while, the official PA map has displayed all of Israel as a part of Palestine. President Obama, in his persistent misunderstanding of Palestinian ambitions, should also recall (1) that Arab terrorism arrived well before the alleged Israeli “occupation” (actually, even before codified Jewish statehood in May, 1948); and (2) that the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) was founded in 1964 – three years before West Bank and Gaza even fell into Israel’s unwitting hands.
What was it, exactly, that the PLO was intending to liberate before there were any "Israel occupied territories?" It's a really basic question, one that no Palestinian leader or supporter would still dare to answer straightforwardly.
Now, more than ever, Israel remains the front line position of anti-terrorist engagement, for the United States in particular, and for the West, in general. Still, having little choice in the matter, it remains the lead “canary” in the "mine." Once current warnings are fully discarded, and this bird falls to the bottom of its cage,  Palestine could become an utterly optimal beachhead for further Islamist terror assaults against "unbelievers."
Let President Obama and the West take heed. The "old days," when a Palestinian movement could still abide a variety of non-jihadi elements, including even openly Marxist parties, are long gone.
Naturally, after Palestine, Israel's security, which would remain absolutely vital to US security in the region, would require (1) a more comprehensive nuclear strategy involving certain deterrence, preemption, and war fighting refinements; and (2) a corollary and interpenetrating conventional war strategy. Without such strategic improvements, America – not just Israel - could be placed at substantially greater risk than before.
After Palestinian statehood, strategic circumstances in the region could become markedly less favorable to Israel and the United States. Then, the only convincing way for Israel to deter large-scale conventional attacks would be by maintaining and enhancing pertinent conventional capabilities. Always, Jerusalem would require an upper-hand in what IDF planners will more formally call "escalation dominance."
Adversarial escalations must be anticipated. A strong conventional capability will always be needed by Israel to deter or to preempt enemy conventional attacks. By definition, however, Mr. Obama’s "two-state solution" would critically impair Israel's strategic depth, and thus the IDF’s indispensable capacity to wage conventional warfare. 
Ironically, after Palestine, if frontline enemy states were to perceive an Israeli sense of expanding conventional weakness, this could strengthen Israel's nuclear deterrent.  If, however, enemy states did not perceive such a sentiment among Israel's key decision-makers, these states, animated by Israel's presumed conventional force deterioration, could then feel encouraged to undertake certain newly attractive attack options. Logically, the end result of any such attack, one spawned by either correct or incorrect perceptions of Israel's post-Palestine conventional weaknesses, could be: (1) defeat of Israel in a conventional war; (2) defeat of Israel in an unconventional (chemical/biological/nuclear) war; (3) defeat of Israel in a combined conventional/unconventional war; or (4) defeat of Arab/Islamic state enemies by Israel in an unconventional war.
For Israel, even the seemingly "successful" fourth possibility could quickly become intolerable. The probable consequences of any regional nuclear war, or even a chemical/biological war in the area, would be calamitous, for the victor, as well as for the vanquished. Here, beyond any reasonable doubt, traditional notions of "victory" and "defeat" would lose their more usual military meanings.
It follows directly from all such informed reasoning that President Barack Obama's call for a Two-State Solution in the Middle East could ultimately prove starkly injurious to the United States and Israel. For the Jewish State, more ominously, it could become another Final Solution.
LOUIS RENÉ BERES (Ph.D., Princeton, 1971) lectures and publishes widely on Israeli and American security matters.  Born in Zürich, Switzerland, on August 31, 1945, he is the author of ten major books on international relations and international law, and is a frequent contributor to leading journals of law, military strategy, intelligence, and counterintelligence. Professor Beres' latest popular writings on jurisprudential and strategic matters can be found in The Atlantic; US News & World Report; The Jerusalem Post; Israel National News; and The Washington Times. His most recent academic writings were published in The Harvard National Security Journal (Harvard Law School); The International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence; Parameters: Journal of the US Army War College; The Israel Journal of Foreign Affairs; The Brown Journal of World Affairs; and Oxford University Press.