Left and Right MKs agree: Two-state solution is over

Likud and Blue and White appear extremely close to each other on this most divisive of issues.

Women celebrate inside a peace tent erected as part of an event organized by ‘Women Wage Peace,’ near the Jordan River on October 8, 2017 (photo credit: RONEN ZVULUN/REUTERS)
Women celebrate inside a peace tent erected as part of an event organized by ‘Women Wage Peace,’ near the Jordan River on October 8, 2017
(photo credit: RONEN ZVULUN/REUTERS)
The conflict with the Palestinians is perhaps the most enduring problem the country has faced in its 71-year history, both before and after the conquest of the West Bank in 1967.
The competing ambitions of many citizens who on the one hand want to preserve the Jewish state’s control over its historical heartland of Judea and Samaria, and the Palestinians who on the other seek to fulfil their national ambitions there, have made the conflict one of the most intractable on the planet.
Although the issue has not received much traction in the current election campaign, the two largest parties vying against each other to form a government after the September election – Likud and Blue and White – appear extremely close to each other on this most divisive of issues.
The Jerusalem Post interviewed Blue and White MK Yoaz Hendel and Likud MK Yoav Kisch to see how their parties would approach the issue. Both stated that neither of their parties supported a two-state solution.
It should be noted that Hendel is a member of the right-wing Telem Party headed by MK Moshe Ya’alon, which is part of the Blue and White electoral list along with Yesh Atid, and that there is a plurality of positions among Blue and White’s 35 MKs.
“The two-state solution isn’t relevant anymore,” Hendel told the Post, because there was already “an enemy state in Gaza” and autonomy for the Palestinians in their major population centers in the West Bank.
“There won’t be an independent, sovereign Palestinian state on the 1967 borders,” said Hendel. “That is very dangerous.” But he said his party wanted to strengthen the Palestinian Authority to ensure it can continue to function and provide the Palestinians with autonomy.
Blue and White’s electoral manifesto says it supports “deepening separation from the Palestinians,” while also guaranteeing “a Jewish majority in Israel” and preserving the country as a “Jewish and democratic state.”
In terms of territory, Hendel said Blue and White would never give up the “Jordan Valley in its broadest meaning, the settlement blocs in their broadest meaning, Jerusalem and the Golan,” and that Blue and White would support the imposition of Israeli sovereignty over the settlement blocs and the Jordan Valley.
He said the party was in favor of further construction in the settlement blocs as well as allowing for “natural growth” in the more far-flung settlements, meaning housing construction to keep pace with the growth of the Jewish population.
Hendel also said he does “not see much value” in evacuating the unauthorized settlement outposts, and that “a large portion” of those built on state land, as opposed to private land, should be legalized.
He said, however, that settlers living on private Palestinian land should be evicted because “we are not thieves,” and that if the state decided such construction was illegal the law should be obeyed.
“We do have a political horizon for the Palestinians, but it will not be a state like France,” he said. “We will have full security control, they will have partial diplomatic independence, maximum political freedom, a free economy as far as possible, no right of return, and the IDF will be able to enter their territory when it needs to.”
Kisch said the Likud is also against the two-state solution, which he described as “a suicide plan,” and that there was no one in the party who currently supports it.
“We tried it in Gaza, and nobody wants to try this experiment with a territory 25 times the size of Gaza, in the heart of Israel, and at the edge of Ben-Gurion Airport,” said Kisch. “It’s obvious to every normal person that this cannot work.”
He also refuted a “one-state solution” of imposing Israeli sovereignty over all of the West Bank, saying that such a move – which has been supported by some in Likud – would see Israel “lose its identity as a Jewish and democratic state, which is the essence of our party and our country.”
The MK noted that the Likud Central Committee issued a resolution in December 2017 to impose sovereignty over all the settlements in Judea and Samaria, and that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pledged before the last election to begin imposing sovereignty on some settlements.
“Before the April election I sat with Netanyahu and he told me that he is going to move forward with applying sovereignty [to settlements], and I think that also has to do with the Trump administration peace plan,” said Kisch.
He said “autonomy” for the Palestinians needed to be maintained at present, and that they would have to exercise their right to vote in a sovereign parliament in an alternative manner, perhaps as part of a federation with a regional Arab state in the future.
“Once the Arabs abandon violence and terror and war, I’m sure there will be a good solution for all sides,” Kisch said. “I don’t see this happening in the near future, although we should look for ways to improve the situation as it is now.”