The two state solution and its follies can aptly be named the delusions of Oslo. The Oslo Accords created the illusion that the PLO had changed from an unrelenting terrorist organization into a legitimate political entity. Consider: from 1965-1982, the PLO terrorists murdered 1,390 Israelis, over 300 of whom were targeted outside of Israel, and they trained and armed 2,300 terrorists from 28 countries. Despite these facts, and that only 12 years earlier the PLO had taken over Southern Lebanon and fired rocket indiscriminately at Israeli cities and villages, Israel sought to negotiate with them. As a result, Israel brought back Yasser Arafat from Tunisia and treated him and his men as a legitimate negotiating partner. Israel legitimized the leaders of an organization whose charter had explicitly called for the annihilation of the Israeli state, an organization that committed thousands of terrorist atrocities killing over 1,400 Jews around the world, and an organization that had chosen war and terror over peace at every available opportunity. It was wishful, delusional thinking to be sure, but one could understand Israel’s dilemma. Israelis were desperate to live without fear of their children being blown up on their way to school, or attacked while on patrol, or attacked while traveling abroad. Quite simply, they were desperate for peace.
These resulting Oslo Accords proved to be a horrendous mistake. Not soon after the signings of the first Oslo Accords, in which Israel agreed to an interim framework that would gradually transfer control of major Palestinian population centers (Jericho, Nablus, Bethlehem, Hebron ) to the PLO in exchange for an end to terrorism and incitement, the PLO began to show its true colors. Arafat routinely spoke to Arab audiences of the PLO’s “plan of phases”, in which they would continually enact diplomatic and territorial concessions from Israel until the Jewish state was weak enough to finally be destroyed. He routinely compared Oslo to the Treaty of Hudaibiya, which “Mohammad had signed in 628 and abandoned when his forces became strong enough to overwhelm his adversaries.” He began, repeatedly, telling Arab sympathizers variations of, “You understand that we plan to eliminate the state of Israel and establish a purely Palestinian state. Peace for us means the destruction of Israel…We will not bend or fail until the blood of every Jew from the youngest child to the oldest elder is spilled to redeem our land.” The PLO showed their inability to govern as well; While Israel “occupied” the territories, the West Bank Arabs had the fourth fastest growing GDP in the world (the Singapore of the Middle East), infant mortality plummeted, life expectancy almost doubled, 7 new colleges were created, and quality of life improved exponentially-especially as compared to Arab countries. All of these trends were immediately and drastically reversed within MONTHS of Israel giving control of daily life to the PLO (standard of living in Gaza dropped by 25% and unemployment quadrupled). Instead, not shockingly, the PLO used their newfound civil and municipal control to increase the incitement and animosity against the Jews in the media and the schools, and consequently, terrorist attacks against Israel were committed as frequently as before (Between Oslo 1 in 1993 and Oslo 2 in 1995, 90 Israelis were murdered by Palestinian terrorists.)
In 2000 Ehud Barak offered Yasser Arafat the equivalent of 95% of the West Bank (with land swaps), a capital in East Jerusalem, sole control of the temple mount, and billions of dollars to build an infrastructure with. After suffering 5 unprovoked conventional wars against its very existence, thousands of terrorist attacks against its citizens, and diplomatic antagonism at world forums against its legitimate right to exist, Israel was offering the Palestinians almost EVERYTHING they claimed to want. It was the most bizarre peace offering in world history; the only case in history in which the historical aggressor didn’t suffer any retribution for being on the losing side of multiple aggressive wars, and the winner gained NO additional territorial security nor peace of mind for surviving. As Foreign Minister Abba Eban once reflected about war with the Arabs, “I think that this is the first war in history that on the morrow the victors sued for peace and the vanquished called for unconditional surrender..” As Alan Dershowitz has written, “A price must be paid for violence. That’s how the laws of war are supposed to work and there is no reason to make an exception in the case of the Palestinians.”
Nonetheless, Yasser Arafat rejected the 2000 offer, refused to offer a counter offer, and launched (what everyone now knows to be) a premeditated intifada against the Israeli people. Then in 2005, with the second intifada still in full swing, Ariel Sharon decided to unilaterally leave Gaza and removed over 1,000 Jewish settlers who would have been massacred had they stayed without Israeli protection (and yet 1.2 million Arabs live in full and equal freedom in the Jewish state of Israel). Israel gave back land to the Palestinians in the hopes that they would use it to improve the lives of their people and that Gaza would become a fact on the ground proving to Israelis that a future Palestinian state would not be a security threat. What happened? Gaza elected Hamas, a terrorist organization, to power, and they immediately dismantled the greenhouse agriculture the Jews had built and instead built weapons compounds and acquired rockets that they would immediately start firing indiscriminately onto Israeli cities and towns. Today, Gaza is a terror theocracy, supported economically and militarily by the world’s most dangerous state sponsor of terrorism (Iran), and whose charter promises, “the day of redemption will only come when Muslims fight the Jews and kill them, when the Jews hide behind the rocks and the trees, and the rocks and the trees cry out, ‘Oh Muslim, there is a Jew hiding behind me. Come and kill him.’”
Still, in 2008 Ehud Olmert offered another generous peace offering to the Palestinian Authority led by its dictator Mahmoud Abbas (who the year before had done away with elections and declared himself “Chairman” of the PA), and once again it was rejected. The Palestinian Arabs have rejected a state each and every time it has been offered to them. Every time Israel gives up land in the hopes of gaining peace, they are received by terrorism, rockets, and decreased security. This is the history that clouds the current negotiations, and this is the history that the Obama/Kerry team ignores when attempting to pressure the Israelis to make more dangerous concessions for the sake of “peace.”If the Palestinian Arabs truly wanted a state, if gaining Palestinian statehood was actually the chief goal of the PA, it would have a state today. This is indisputable. In 1948, the Jews wanted a state so badly that they agreed to accept a state on only 10% of the land that had been legally awarded to them in 1922, of which, over half was arid desert, and even knowing that 8 Arab armies would try to annihilate them as soon as Ben-Gurion declared statehood. A Jewish state was that important. The Palestinians, after 6 decades of losing wars and inflicting terror upon Israeli citizens, had been offered over 95% of what they claimed to want. A sane government that actually cares about self-determination and prosperity for its people would NEVER reject this.
The second truth is equally telling. The Palestinians refuse to acknowledge that Israel is the Jewish state, and this is what led to the demise of the current negotiations. Abbas acknowledging this truth would mean accepting that the Jewish state of Israel is here to stay and that he doesn’t seek to replace it with an Arab state. This is the heart of the conflict. The Palestinian Arab leadership has never accepted the idea that Israel, as the Jewish homeland, is a part of the Middle East and forever will be. A state in the middle east not dictated by Sharia Law and where Jews and Christians aren’t treated as Dhimmi second class citizens is, by and large, not acceptable to Muslim leaders that dream of a global caliphate. By their logic, any state not ruled by Sharia rule is considered to be Dar-al-Harb (House of War) and must be treated as a perpetual enemy until its Jews/Christians are either subjugated or killed, and “western” rule is replaced with Islamic Law. Israel, as the lone non-Muslim state in the Middle East, and as part of a region that had previously been ruled by Islam (during the Ottoman empire’s reign) is naturally the first Western nation that must be conquered.
When Abbas declared that he would never acknowledge Israel’s existence as the Jewish state, he once again revealed his true motivations: he is interested in the peace process as long as it forces Israeli concessions and doesn’t force him to end the conflict. How could he end it even if he wanted to? Palestinian nationalism is based, first and foremost, on the rejection of Zionism. In Palestinian schools, students are taught that the “Jews are descendents of apes and pigs” and that the “Zionist entity” needs to be destroyed at any cost. Maps of the Middle East show a region without Israel, Jewish connections to the land are explicitly denied (Abbas did this at the UN recently as well), and praise is heaped upon those who kill in the name of the “resistance.” The Palestinian Authority names streets, forests, and parks after Palestinian terrorists, and the families of murderous terrorists are financially rewarded for their children’s actions, as are the terrorist themselves when held in Israeli prisons. The Palestinian Authority television channel routinely has Muslim Clerics like Sheikh Ibrahim Mahdi yelling, “All weapons must be aimed at Jews, at the enemies of Allah, the cursed nation in the Qur’an, whom the Qur’an describes as monkeys and pigs. We will blow them up in Tel Aviv and Netanya.” President Abbas recently named dozens of Palestinian terrorist as “national heroes” and “honored martyrs” including Dulal Mugrahbi, a Palestinian woman responsible for murdering 37 Israelis, including 12 children, in 1978. The PA demanding (and John Kerry enforcing) the release of terrorist murderers guilty of the most heinous crimes imaginable is a testament to the culture of Palestine, and to the violence endemic to its political society. It is a culture of hate and incitement, and, thus in one sense it is perfectly logical that Mahmoud Abbas would reject an end to the conflict: he has not prepared Palestinian society to live side by side with a Jewish state.
The Peace process is dead. The idea of the two state solution is dead. The Palestinians are not interested in either, and until they are capable of living alongside a Jewish state of Israel, they will never be. I wrote this article before the unity deal between the PA and Hamas happened, and this deal only enforces every point I’ve made thus far. The PLO and Hamas have always had the same ultimate goal and the same agenda, they just went about achieving those ends differently. The PLO put on a diplomatic show for the west, lined their own pockets with foreign aid money in the process, and delegitimized Israel at every international forum they could. Hamas took care of the majority of the terror, killing and aggressive public rhetoric. This unity deal should make it blatantly obvious even to the John Kerry’s of the world that Israel cannot negotiate with the PLO anymore. Hamas is quite transparent in its desire to eradicate Jewish life, their unofficial motto remains, “We love death as much as the Jews love Life, “ and as Prime Minister Netanyahu recently made obvious, “the PA would rather make peace with Hamas than with Israel.”
The current US administration has equated the creation of the state of Palestine as an end to the region’s problems, as if the existence of the world’s 22nd Muslim State and 2nd majority-Palestinian state (Jordan) will cure the relentless hatred towards Jews and Christians that is inherent to the Middle East. Palestine’s creation, far from ending the conflict, would create yet another Jew-free, Islamic, apartheid dictatorship 10 miles away from the world’s lone Jewish state. The utter hypocrisy of this “two state” narrative is made even more ridiculous when you consider that even if a perfect Israel-Palestine peace was achieved, the Middle East would be no closer to “peace”. Irrespective of “Palestine”, the genocidal Muslim Brotherhood is ascending throughout North Africa, Iran is inching closer to a nuclear bomb, Iraq is a tribal nightmare and a growing terrorist (ISIS) safehaven, and the Syrian civil war has claimed over 160,000 lives. Christians are being slaughtered so relentlessly that they will soon be extinct in the Middle East, and women in the Middle East endure the most brutal forms of oppression imaginable. The Middle East is a collection of warring families, tribes, and Islamic sects; an end to the Israeli Arab conflict will nary make a dent in creating “peace in the middle east”. Indeed, calling the Arab Israeli conflict the “Middle East Conflict” is, a misnomer of epic proportions.
For the past 20 years Israel has been open to negotiating with the PLO, despite all evidence to the contrary, and they have been open to the creation of a Palestinian state on its tiny sliver of a homeland. It has not worked because this entire process is a facade. The PLO has had every opportunity to make the state of Palestine a reality. They have not. The definition of peace needs to change: peace and the “two state solution” are not synonymous. The goals of world leaders need to change: a clean, perfect peace like the two state solution is imagined to be does not exist. As Naftali Bennett has argued, the Israeli government must begin to think of how they can unilaterally create a stronger and more prosperous Jewish state of Israel, while improving the lives of the Palestinian Arabs in the process. Peace needs to be developed from the ground up: this means more economic integration between Jews and Palestinian Arabs, more joint economic projects, and more economic opportunities for the Palestinian Arabs to become successful When the Palestinians realize that they can give their children a better life than being martyred, that prosperity is possible, and that accepting Israel’s existence allows them the greatest chance of freedom and dignity of any Arab people in the Middle East, a real and genuine peace is possible.
Zionism is the concept of being practical, courageous, and creative in the face of terrible adversity and of doing what needs to be done to survive. At a time where the state of Israel and the very tenants of Zionism are questioned throughout the world, its time for Israel to once again be strong in its resolve and take the initiative to achieve stability. It is time to move past the delusions of the two state solutions. It is time for a new era of Israeli sovereignty.