The current ongoing series of stabbing attacks by Palestinian youth on Israeli citizens is unacceptable. Murdering civilians with cold hands is no sign of resistance, but rather of cowardice. The same way people on the left condemn unjustifiable violence of Israelis against Palestinian, so the Palestinian moderates should condemn these attacks.
But the bad news, I believe, go beyond the fatalities and the violence itself. This possibly new “Intifada” might be signaling the stabbing and assassination of the “two states for two peoples” solution.
For quite some time, Israeli moderates have taken on the (factually correct) narrative that achieving the two-state solution is not a favor to the Palestinians, but rather the only solution that can guarantee the existence of Israel as the democratic homeland of the Jewish people. This is because all point to the fact that time is not on our side: the more we drag this conflict, the more the two-state solution seems impossible, and by default, the alternative one state solution will start getting official endorsements from the international community.
While I’m a supporter of the two-state solution, I don’t blame any outsider to rationally arrive to the conclusion to stop supporting the two-state solution because, as Einstein said, insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. This shift in the way the international community perceives the conflict is perhaps not an immediate scenario. Nevertheless, it could emerge within 10 or 15 years from now.
There is, however, another worse, very plausible and much more imminent scenario than the one in which the world retrieves its support for a two-state solution. This is the scenario where the Palestinian Authority (PA) officially endorses the one state solution. Back in 2012, I met Saeb Erakat, the chief negotiator of the PA. He said something that worries me up until today: “It is not Hamas who will take over the PA. It is a new generation of secular and ‘westernized’ young Palestinians who will.” This new generation of Palestinians is not motivated by Islamist values, nor it supports Hamas, ISIS or any other Islamist group.
But the Palestinians that belong to this generation do not support the PA leadership either, who has been promising for over 20 years that the way out is through negotiations. They have accumulated frustration about the unfulfilled promises made by the PA and the older generation. Thus, they see in the PA a corrupt body that does not represent their interest anymore. Even worse, they see in Israel no partner and they are against negotiations and normalization with Israel. They know that time is on their side.
I’ve encountered some of this people. They are smart, talented, well educated and with very international backgrounds. They do not like violence. On the contrary, they profess a message based on human rights and democracy. They want a “one man one vote” state: they want a one state solution. But both they and we know that a one state solution means the end of Israel as the homeland of the Jewish people.
Thus, this is why this wave of violence is scarier than anything else we’ve seen before: it might be the beginning of the end of the two-state solution. Of course, Israelis are also responsible for this. We’ve had a government that for 6 years has focused all of its diplomatic efforts on delegitimizing the moderates in the PA (such as Abu Mazen), and have — ironically enough — chosen to negotiate with Hamas every time there is the need for a cease-fire.
When this new generation of Palestinian achieves political power, there will be nothing to talk about. No security coordination and notwo-state solution. That day we will really have no partner to talk to, regardless of how many concessions we will be willing to make. That day will also be the beginning of the end of Israel.