Ever since the British took over Palestine more than 100 years ago, there has been a constant push from world leaders for a Jewish state and an Arab state to coexist in the Holy Land. Studies have been done, hearings have been held and maps have been drawn, without such an idea coming to fruition.
Now that the terrorist group Hamas has launched a war with Israel, with devastating consequences for both Israelis and Palestinians, “two-state solution” has once again become a popular catch phrase with diplomats and world leaders. If only the Jews and Palestinians could agree on a peaceful split of one of the most contentious places on Earth, the violence and bloodshed would finally come to an end.
Unfortunately, among the only people that count – Israelis and Palestinian Arabs – there is little appetite for a two-state solution. In a joint poll conducted by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research (PSR) and the International Program in Conflict Resolution and Mediation at Tel Aviv University, only 33% of Palestinians and 34% of Israeli Jews are in favor of it. Two-thirds of Palestinians and 53% of Israeli Jews are opposed.
Even more to the point, what two-state solution? Where would these two states be located, exactly? This is the aspect of the diplomatic rhetoric that gets left out. There are no current proposals for where these two states would be. Prior attempts to draw boundaries have failed miserably and have led to repeated armed conflicts and loss of life that, obviously, continue to this day.
And let’s be honest: It’s not the Jews who have been consistently intransigent – it’s the Arabs. It’s always been the Arabs, even as Jews, in the early days, were open to compromise.
Since the day Jews start returning to the Holy Land in the late 1800s after thousands of years exile and persecution, the resident Arabs of the region have fought the idea of sharing even one parcel of land with Jews.
I’ve never heard of an Arab leader acknowledging that there is a historical rationale for Jews to want to reestablish residency in the land we came from, and likewise, no call from an Arab leader for the Arab community to accept this as the basis of working together on peaceful co-existence.
For instance, in 1947, when the United Nations was handed the task of sorting out “the Palestine Problem,” Jews participated in the process while the Arabs boycotted it.
The UN came up with a plan anyway, and the Arabs rejected it. Then, when the British Mandate ended and Israel declared sovereignty, the Arab nations attacked from all sides, hoping to snuff out the Jewish State before it could get started.
The world leaders tossing out “two-state solution” are too smart and well-versed to believe that this is a viable idea for creating a path to peace in the Holy Land. So the only explanation is that they say this publicly as a way to sound empathetic to both sides, without having to change the policies and stances they’ve previously adopted.
And in reality, until Arabs fully accept that Jews have a legitimate reason to re-establish residency in our land of origin, the strife will continue and the idea of two states existing side-by-side will be nothing but a fantasy.
(Images sourced from Wikimedia)