Since 1947, the 2-state solution (an Arab State alongside the State of Israel) has been the holy grail of Western diplomats. Notice that I said Western; most Muslim countries have never subscribed to that concept. The proof of Muslim antipathy to the Jewish State is the continuous incitement and hostile acts against it, plus the fact that only Egypt and Jordan enjoy peace treaties with Israel, 67 years after Israel’s independence.
Part of the reason for the current upheaval in the Maghreb and Levant (North African/Eastern Mediterranean countries respectively) is the shallow roots of the existing Arab states. Prior to the post-WWI era, there were no Arab “countries” except for Egypt, which existed for thousands of years and gained independence from Britain in 1922. It was the Europeans, particularly the British and the French, who set arbitrary boundaries for the new Arab states in 1916. Before that, Arabs had been colonized by the Europeans and the Turks. (The Ottoman Empire stretched throughout the Balkans and the Levant for many centuries, until it effectively dissolved during WWI.)
The Sykes-Picot Treaty (1916) between Britain and France drew boundaries in the Levant to the Westerners’ benefit, with national boundaries ignoring the prevalent tribal culture – the hallmark of the Arab world. Consequently, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Transjordan (later Jordan), and Palestine were all cobbled together to include hostile components, the better to sustain British/French power. Although there was no equivalent treaty for the Maghreb, there was a similar result: borders drawn irrespective of tribal affiliations.
This Western scheme began to fall apart before WWII, when these Arab countries finally attained independence from Britain: Iraq, 1932; Jordan, 1946; Sudan, 1956; Kuwait, 1961; Yemen, 1967; UAE, 1971; and Israel, 1948. Other countries received independence from France: Lebanon, 1943; Syria, 1946; Libya, 1951; Morocco, 1956; Tunisia, 1956; and Algeria, 1962.
There is no State of Palestine in the above lists because there was no nationalistic movement among the Arab tribes residing in Palestine. At the end of the British Mandate in 1948, neighboring countries, especially Transjordan and Egypt, expected to claim chunks of Palestine. All the Arab states refused to accept the 1947 UN Partition Plan for Palestine, which called for a 2-state solution: a Jewish state and an Arab – NOT Palestinian – state. For all practical purposes, the Arabs residing in Palestine had no say in the matter. (See my article, Jewish Lives Matter for more on this subject.)
Between 1949 and 1967, when Egypt ruled Gaza and Transjordan annexed what became known as the “West Bank,” no viable “Palestinian” independence movement surfaced.
There was one small exception. The Palestine Liberation Organization was founded in 1964:
“The PLO’s originally-stated goal was the ‘liberation of Palestine’ through armed struggle while seeking to destroy the existence of Zionism in the Middle East… By 1967, the PLO had decided that their primary goal was the destruction of the State of Israel [not the building of a State of Palestine].” (www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org)
Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu occasionally makes noises about a Palestinian State sometime in the future. It won’t happen. Take a look around the region: it’s the idea of a caliphate (Muslim political empire ruled by Sharia law) that has ignited the Muslims, necessarily erasing national borders. The Ottoman Empire, which ruled the area from about 1517-1917, is the most recent example of a caliphate. Now, the Iranians and Islamic State (Shia vs. Sunni) are battling to build the supreme caliphate.
How can anyone seriously believe that the Palestinian Arabs, who are already divided between Gaza and the so-called West Bank (Judea and Samaria), could form a stable country? Those who believe that a democratic, non-racist “Palestine” can emerge from the Arab “tsunami” are not critical observers of Middle East reality. Almost certainly, what would emerge would be another Arab terrorist state.
Even left-wing Israelis recognize this. Recently, Isaac Herzog, the head of Israel’s leftist Zionist Union (formerly the Labor Party), said on Israel’s Army Radio station that Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas are, “… stuck in place – they are not able to make progress. I don’t see the ability to apply, right now, a two-state solution.” (Jerusalem Post, Jan 21)
Muslim emigrants are flooding an increasingly reluctant Europe; Russia’s Putin fills the vacuum in the Middle East that the Obama Administration left in 2008; Syria’s President Assad remains in power after killing more than a quarter-million (!) Arabs; Iran has regained respectability and is about to foment even more terrorism around the world because of a misguided nuclear treaty; and Islamic State and similar jihadi movements are gaining new inroads worldwide.
The unsatisfactory situation in the Middle East will worsen unless creative diplomatic insights emerge. Regarding one small facet of the conflict, the Arab-Jewish conflict, possibilities include a Jordan-Palestine confederation; a Gaza-Egypt confederation; a 1-state solution after many Palestinian Arabs take resettlement in Arab or other countries with a hefty financial package (this plan is what the world insists should be applied to 400,000 Jews living in Judea-Samaria, aka West Bank); and others.
Since Bibi has not renounced the 2-state solution, it’s not surprising that the West still clings to it. Perhaps the US should wise up and hint to Bibi that he can drop the charade.
Israeli Arabs, as Bibi correctly noted recently, should shoulder the responsibilities of Israeli citizenship along with its “rights.” Those remaining Arabs who choose to be citizens of an Israel which includes Judea and Samaria would have the same obligation. If ALL Israeli citizens, regardless of religion, agree to abide by the secular laws of the Jewish State of Israel, perhaps a solution between Arabs and Jews can be reached, if not “right now,” then soon.