The trap of the ‘two-state-solution’

“Israel had the right to change these lines [the Armistice Lines of 1949] in accordance with its needs and it is a good thing that settlements have made that possible.”

A Jewish settler walks at the Jewish settlement outpost of Adei Ad B in the West Bank (photo credit: REUTERS/NIR ELIAS)
A Jewish settler walks at the Jewish settlement outpost of Adei Ad B in the West Bank
(photo credit: REUTERS/NIR ELIAS)
As long as some American and Israeli leaders continue to support the “two-state solution” (TSS) and oppose annexation or incorporation of Area C, the Palestinians (and their supporters) will continue to believe that they will win. This is because the Palestinians present themselves not only as a geographic and demographic entity but, more important, as an ideology: Palestinianism.
This is what the late Robert Wistrich explained in one of his last lectures to the World Jewish Congress. Arab Palestinians cannot and will not abandon their raison d’etre, which is the “liberation of Palestine.” This explains why they “never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity” to resolve the struggle. It is, for them, existential. It’s in the PLO and Hamas charters. It is a fundamental value, and it is the basis of their policy and strategy to defeat and destroy Israel.
The Arabs’ rejection of a Jewish presence in Eretz Yisrael, or Palestine, began over a century ago. They opposed the Balfour Declaration (1917) and attacked Jewish communities during the 1920s and ‘30s. They call Israel’s establishment in 1948 the “Nakba” (catastrophe) and engage in terrorism, or as they call it, “resistance.” The conflict is not about boundaries, civil and humanitarian rights, or statehood. A TSS offers no incentive to change their narrative, or their behavior.
Why offering “bargaining chips” doesn’t work
Despite a history of failures, some suggest that offering the Palestinians more concessions if they agree to recognize and accept Israel’s existence could still work. These include giving away parts of Area C of Judea and Samaria and evacuating Jewish communities; giving away parts of eastern Jerusalem; and facilitating formal, official statehood. Rather than serve as inducements to accept Israel, however, these measures only encourage Arab leaders to reject all offers and demand more. This “land-for-peace” slogan conveys the message that Israel is desperate, vulnerable and uncommitted.
The trap of the TSS is that it is entangled with other issues, including: 1) the “right of return” for descendants of former residents of Palestine currently living in UNRWA-sponsored towns and villages in Syria, Lebanon and Jordan; 2) “the occupation” of land and properties claimed by Arab Palestinians; 3) accusations of “stealing Palestinian land”; 4) compensating Arabs who claim dispossession; 5) demanding boundaries based on the UNGA plan in 1947, or reversing the results of the war in 1948-49; 6) abandoning strategic security areas, such as the Jordan Valley; 7) freeing convicted terrorists from Israeli prisons; 8) allowing “pay-to-slay” cash rewards to terrorists and their families; 9) anti-Israel incitement, including BDS and support for terrorism.
Why annexation/incorporation of Area C makes sense
Annexation would remove the issue of “settlements” from the negotiating table. It would clarify Israeli policy and its commitment to protect and preserve Jewish communities. It would end a self-destructive and misleading ambiguity. It reflects the Israeli consensus. It is based on reality. It will safeguard Israel’s future. It is the only way to convince Arab Palestinians that they will not destroy Israel, and it is the only path to achieve real “peace.”
Establishing Israeli sovereignty in Area C will end the anomaly of the IDF’s “military occupation,” the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories’ (COGAT) independent quasi-government in the area. Israeli law – not that of a military commander – will be established as a coherent legal system. It will end COGAT’s arbitrary determination that state land which was given away by Jordan during its illegal occupation, and registered but never used – “usufruct,” in legal terms, contrary to Ottoman Land Law and accepted legal norms – is “privately owned.”
Under COGAT’s rule, entire Jewish communities and hundreds of Jewish homes have been destroyed without justification. As the designated “legal sovereign” in Area C, however, it is backed by the High Court of Justice. Recently, some District Court judges have rejected attempts to destroy more homes and communities by ruling that homes which were built “in good faith” on what COGAT considers “private Palestinian land” could be legalized retroactively. The High Court has not yet decided.
Why annexation/incorporation serves Arab Palestinians
It will further cooperation among all residents of the area. As Jewish communities expand and infrastructure develops, everyone in the area will benefit. It will diminish the influence of the PLO/Fatah and Hamas and increase security and economic development for everyone.
The TSS offers a simplistic and dangerous political solution. A more thoughtful and realistic approach requires a process that is based on patience and good will. Making Area C part of Israel is an expression of Israeli sovereignty. It is a step toward realizing the Zionist vision.
As Hillel Halkin wrote: “Israel had the right to change these lines [the Armistice Lines of 1949] in accordance with its needs and it is a good thing that settlements have made that possible.”

The author is a PhD historian, writer and journalist in Israel.