Is the two state solution dead?

I want true peace. Not pseudo peace. True peace is when my people can go to the state of Palestine, be themselves and not be harmed or harassed. True peace is when Palestinians can go to the state of Israel, be themselves and not be harmed or harassed. True peace is where there is education reform. Where children are not raised to hate, but rather raised to coexist with one another.

I want two states because that is the most feasible thing to do when two nations clearly can’t get along (sugarcoating it). But let’s be honest here. There have been some serious mistakes on the part of politicians, from both factions, along the way. Especially in the last 15 years. As the former foreign minister of the state of Israel Shlomo Ben Ami said, regarding this conflict “there is a shared blame”.

The Israeli leadership’s hardline approach at Camp David in 2000 and the Palestinian leadership’s intransigence at Taba in 2001, where the Palestinian leadership was afforded the most generous offer by Israel ever, has all but sealed the fate between both parties.

Camp David failed because Israel offered a Palestinian state that no Palestinian leader could ever accept and live to see another day. Taba failed because Arafat stalled and became intransigent. He believed that he would get a better offer with the new Israeli leadership, as well as, he believed that Bush Jr would be like his father and usher in a better deal. It turned out that Bush Jr was really the son of President Reagan in regards to Israel. His support for Israel was unparalleled; he rubber-stamped practically whatever the Israeli government wanted.

That is just on the political realm. During that time the second intifada was just getting under way. Both sides going at it full ahead. Bloodshed seemed endless.

However, the prospects for a two state solution look quite dim now with Naftali Bennett seeking a higher cabinet position in the upcoming Israeli elections. “We are not going to give up more land”, he said in an interview last week, even if the “world will penalize us, that is unfair but so be it.”

If the “Bibisitter” and Bennett win in the next elections the two state solution will more than likely be dead. In one felled swoop Bennett will usurp more than half the West Bank and offer full economic cooperation to the Palestinians.

Why are we deciding their fate for them?

Making unilateral moves is not the way to go. We experienced this with Gaza. Remember?

If we do this, if we annex over half the West Bank unilaterally, we risk perdition. But to some, they claim it is better to be shunned and strong than popular and endangered.

Personally, I believe there will be no peace until the Palestinian leadership ceases its destructive practices such as funding terror through monthly stipends. There will be no peace when the Israeli leadership withholds tax payments or allows electricity to be shut off for Palestinians. The “two states” solution will continue to be less and less likely as long as the Israeli leadership keeps building and expanding the settlements. There will be no peace until the Israeli people have another Rabin and the Palestinian people have a Martin Luther King Jr.

But until then, the Palestinian people should do their very best to try to hold democratic elections so that the Israeli leadership will open up diplomatic channels. For Israelis, it should be a no-brainer, Buji Herzog and Tzipi Livni is our only shot at bringing things back to reality and not this illusory “status quo” that Bibi thinks will keep us “secure”.

For true peace to happen there needs to be drastic changes on both sides. I may be a dreamer but I am not delusional. Peace won’t come tomorrow. It may not come next year or the year after that. But we need to start working towards it as much as possible. All of us. The majority of people want peace. There are many peace movements, including the one I am part of, that are pushing for it as much as possible. The problem is the majority is not being listened to. That is an indication of how broken the system really is.

There is a growing movement within the Israeli military leadership which is vehemently urging us to push for negotiations. We should listen to them.

Special thanks to Fred Maroun who helped me with the editing.

Left to right: Sholom Neistein and Mohamed Ghumrawi
Left to right: Sholom Neistein and Mohamed Ghumrawi
About the Author
Sholom Neistein was born and raised in Miami Beach, Florida. He graduated Florida International University with bachelor degrees in Biological Sciences and Psychology. He is currently the Co-founder of Humans Refusing to be Enemies which is geared to bringing peace not only to Israel and Palestine but to the world at large.
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