‘One state’ means no state

The next round of Israeli-Palestinian talks is in the offing, but it will probably be as futile as the last one.

Tanks 370 (photo credit: REUTERS)
Tanks 370
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The next round of Israeli-Palestinian talks is in the offing, but it will probably turn out to be as futile as the last one. At least as long as the Palestinian leadership persists in its unrealistic preconditions, i.e. Israel to accept a priori the 1967 armistice line as the border of the proposed Palestinian state, and stopping all construction beyond that line, including in Jerusalem.
Students of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict can without difficulty rattle off a list of failed international, mostly though not exclusively American, as well as Israeli peace initiatives (including MK Shaul Mofaz’s recent hodgepodge of hastily dusted off ideas – as reported in The Jerusalem Post). However, it might be more fruitful at this point to come to grips with the underlying reality behind this ongoing failure, namely the fact that the Palestinian body-politic has over the decades persistently shirked any peace plan or formula predicated by the acceptance of Israel as the rightful nation-state of the Jewish people, never giving up hope that one day it would disappear.
The Arabs’ rejection of the 1947 UN partition plan and the ensuing military aggression by seven Arab armies were a clear signal of this, as was their refusal to accept UN Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338 in the sense that they were phrased, i.e. permanent peace based on secure and mutually recognized borders. One could go on and mention Arafat’s walkout at President Clinton’s Camp David or Mahmoud Abbas’ rejection of Olmert’s and Livni’s wholesale concessions. Nor can one ignore the on-and-off attempts to reverse the course of history by resorting to force of arms and terrorism.
The 1967 war was an Egyptian-Syrian-Jordanian effort to strangle Israel, while in the 1973 Yom Kippur War, the Egyptian army commander General Murtagee exhorted his troops to “conquer the land which had been stolen from the Arabs in Palestine.”
Though Israel’s enemies may have grasped by now the impossibility of destroying Israel by military force or terrorist acts, because of Israel’s overall military superiority and its strategic alliance with the US, many of them haven’t given up hope of ultimately achieving the same result by other means. Economic boycotts were tried, and failed, but destabilizing Israel from within by flooding it with “returning refugees” has not been taken off the table. Then there is always the subterfuge to forgo negotiations altogether if those might lead to acquiescing to Israel’s permanent existence, by going to the UN.
The latest, though not necessarily the last, Palestinian stratagem is the so-called “one-state solution.” The former Palestinian prime minister, Ahmed Qurei, a.k.a. Abu-Ala, has endorsed this move and even his antagonist Abbas has, albeit halfheartedly, raised it from time to time, and according to press reports, he now intends to “warn” Israel’s prime minister that “if the two-state solution dies” – he would press for adopting the onestate way.
The Washington Post’s former Jerusalem correspondent, Joel Greenberg, a few months ago wrote about a network of “young Palestinian activists” who see the creation of a Palestinian state in the areas occupied by Israel in 1967 as inadequate, calling instead for the creation of one state “that would also include the area of Israel, with equal rights for Jews [and] Arabs, and Palestinian refugees allowed to return.” In other words, finis the Jewish State!
NONE OTHER than Harvard University’s Kennedy School (Harvard’s motto is “Veritas,” Truth...) has recently sponsored a “One-State Conference” jointly with several pro-Palestinian and anti-Semitic groups with the clear aim, as one observer described it, of giving “an academic seal of approval to the de-legitimization of Israel,” among other things, pairing “apartheid” and “Israel” and refuting the Jewish people’s very existence as a national entity under international law.
Not surprisingly, there are those on the anti-Semitic Left and Right who support a one-state solution, confidently expecting that this would result not only in the destruction of the Zionist dream, but also in a situation where the continued existence of the remnants of the Jewish population there would be tolerated, at best, as second-class citizens.
But strange as it may seem, there are also some on the Israeli patriotic Right who delusionally support the one-state concept, though, of course, for opposite reasons. The very idea of giving up parts of the Land of Israel is anathema to them, outweighing any reference to potential matters of demography or democracy.
Some of them quote Jabotinsky to bolster their stance, forgetting that his perception was of an Arab minority living in a Jewish majority state in which, after renouncing their extremism, they would enjoy equal, civil and national rights.
He even believed that Arabs should then be given the opportunity to appoint a deputy to a Jewish prime minister – and vice versa, eventually an Arab prime minister with a Jewish number two (the more skeptical Ben-Gurion never entertained such ideas).
By any stretch of the imagination, also considering what’s happening around us, can such a scenario seriously be considered today? Palestinian separate statehood may or may not be the ideal solution to the Palestinian problem. There may be different ones, some of which were considered and perhaps too rashly shelved in the past, and there may be others still on the drawing boards. Even Israeli-initiated unilateral steps may have their day again. But the one-state idea, whether raised by the Left or the Right, is not one of them. This, by the way, is the view not only of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, but also of most Israelis.
The writer is a former member of Knesset and Israel’s past ambassador to the U.S. and serves at present as a Special Envoy for the Prime Minister.