Thursday, February 16, 2017

  • Thursday, February 16, 2017
  • Elder of Ziyon
The New York Times, Washington Post and Los Angeles Times have all come out deriding President Trump's statement that perhaps a two-state solution is not the solution.

All of these editorials make a basic implicit assumption: that Palestinians should have veto power over any solution - but Israelis shouldn't.

The NYT is most explicit:
His willingness, however, to lend credence to those who would deny a separate state to the Palestinians will certainly make peace harder to achieve. Palestinians have long sought their own state and are sure to reject the idea of having their lands annexed by Israel, even if offered some kind of limited autonomy.
But Israelis are sure to reject the Palestinian demands for peace. As Mahmoud Abbas stated just today, here they are (and this is only a partial description of Palestinian demands):
President Mahmoud Abbas stressed that his administration adheres to the option of two states as well as international law and international legitimacy to ensure an end to the Israeli occupation and the establishment of the independent State of Palestine with East Jerusalem as its capital to live in security and peace alongside the State of Israel on the June 4, 1967 borders.
Abbas specifically rejects Israel's two red lines described by Netanyahu, in either a one or two-state scenario:
The President stressed that persistence of the Israeli Prime Minister in his dictates regarding continuation of Israeli control over the eastern border of the territory of the State of Palestine as well as to demand recognition of Israel as a Jewish state are considered a continuation of the attempt to impose facts on the ground and to destroy the two-state option while replacing it with the principle of one state with two systems - Apartheid.
 In Arabic, Abbas demands even more: the mythical "right to return," the freeing of terrorist prisoners, and more.

All of these are described over and over again by the Palestinian leaders as non-negotiable demands, meaning that they will reject anything less than what they want.

Yet the major media make the assumption that Palestinian rejectionism is legitimate and therefore, unless they get what they want, there can be no solution. The media also tacitly accepts the idea that Palestinians will naturally gravitate to terror if they don't get what they want, and gives those threats legitimacy.

But what about what Israelis want? None of these editorials even give Netanyahu's insistence on controlling the border with Jordan, of the Palestinians accepting that Israel is a Jewish state, or that incitement in schools and media against Israel end, as Israeli red lines that can be used to legitimately reject a Palestinian state.

Only Palestinians are granted veto power over any solution. Only their red lines are real.

The editorials all ignore the most fundamental fact of all: Israel's previous peace offers addressed every single one of their objections and warnings that Israel would become an "apartheid state." It wasn't the Israeli side that rejected peace - it was the Palestinian side, over and over again.

The Washington Post editorial is most interesting  because it accidentally gives the best argument for keeping the status quo. It says that Trump's statement  "increased the chances that one of the few relatively peaceful corners of the region will return to conflict."

Hold on: things are peaceful now without a Palestinian state?

Yes, there are occasional stabbings and shooting attacks and car rammings. But compared to the past, including during the Oslo process itself in the 1990s, things really are comparatively peaceful today.

The reason isn't because Palestinians have hope for a state. They stopped negotiating years ago. The reason is because they have autonomy and political power that they don't want to lose. They will not risk losing what they have in order to try to gain a state they are unlikely to get.

It is Hamas that is stopping rocket attacks, not a peace plan. The Gaza wars are what dissuades them from terror today, not a piece of paper.  They want to hold onto power above all. This doesn't mean that they don't fantasize about spectacular terror attacks, but they are far more careful to make sure that they don't lose more than they could gain from any move they make - which limits their terror options dramatically.

The Palestinian Authority relishes the symbolism of statehood that it has, opening diplomatic missions, fielding Olympic teams and enjoying unparalleled respect at the UN. Its security forces are stopping terror attacks, not the "peace process"  - because, like Hamas, it doesn't want to lose what it has.

This is the most peaceful the region has been since the 1980s, when Israel really did control the territories. Yet unlike the 1980s, it isn't because of the IDF - it is because the Arabs have something to lose and don't want to jeopardize it.

Who can realistically say that a Palestinian state, where they can field an army and openly promote terrorist attacks beyond what they do today, would have anything to do with peace? How can the Washington Post assume that "one of the few relatively peaceful corners of the region" would remain that way (or get better) when the side that openly supports and literally pays terrorists gets a state?

Palestinians who have consistently rejected reasonable peace plans and who still embrace terror today do not deserve a state as long as they remain intransigent.

"Two states" used to be a potential formula to reach a goal of peace. It failed. The mistake that the world is making is that it cannot distinguish between the goal and the means.

The goal remains peace, not "two states." As the Washington Post admits, right now there is more peace in Israel and the territories than Israel's neighbors enjoy, and things in Israel haven't been this peaceful for decades. There is absolutely no evidence that a Palestinian state would make things better - and there is considerable evidence that it would make things worse.

The status quo is not ideal, and Israel every day has to balance its security needs with ensuring that Palestinian Arabs have the best lives and most rights possible. Whether the world likes it or not, that is the best peace plan available today. As long as the Palestinians refuse to compromise, the status quo will remain the option that optimizes real peace.



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