“There never was a Two-State Solution” [Mitchell Bard]

As observed by Mitchell Bard, the persistence in the belief that Israeli-Palestinian conflict can be resolved into two states by partitioning “Palestine” has been flawed since its inception. It is vested in the belief “that the parties only have a dispute over land”; but this was never the case. In essence, it is primarily steeped in religious, historical, geographical and psychological dimensions. Perhaps, what is even more difficult to understand is the persistence of international politicians persistence in adhering to the given belief over and over again in expectation of a different result.

The very idea that a non-Muslim ethnic group would have the temerity or lack of respect for Muslim domination and actually declare independence and claim sovereignty over any sliver of land in the Dar-al-Islam, realizes their deepest emotions of hate and revenge, never ceasing until this catastrophic situation can be reversed. In other words, until restoration to its “rightful” owner. John Kerry and so many of his predecessors did not seem to understand that in order to be able to attain a solution, you need to understand the problem in the first place.

On May 16, 2017, the Gatestone Institute published Bassam Tawil’s “Palestinians: The Threats Trump Needs to Hear”. Among the key points he makes is that. Abbas wishes to avoid his mistake of 2006, when Hamas won the parliamentary election. He also points to Abbas being a weak leader with very little legitimacy among Palestinians. In Tawil’s opinion, “He would never survive any kind of real peace deal with Israel.”

Noting that Palestinians are radicalized against Israel on a daily basis while Hamas’s popularity is skyrocketing, “the talk about a two-state solution and peace sounds downright delusional.” Tawil suggested that Trump might question Abbas on how he planned to cope with the threats that Hamas and Islamic Jihad had issued to destroy Israel and the “treacherous” peace agreement with Israel. In hindsight there are no reports to suggest that either Trump or his aides considered the subject advice.

On the other hand, Abbas undoubtedly subscribes to the edict issued by the Arab League back in March, 2014 announcing its outright rejection of Israel as a Jewish State. He probably lives with the specter of King Abdullah the 1st and Anwar Sadat’s assassination at the hands of the Muslim Brotherhood for their peace agreements with Israel. In fairness, one recalls that in 2014, Abbas pointed out that the PA recognized Israel through the Oslo Agreement but he questioned why he was being asked to recognize the Jewishness of the state and, in particular, why neither Jordan nor Egypt had been required to meet this stipulation in their peace agreements with Israel.

Sari Nusseibeh, Professor of Philosophy at Al Quds University in Jerusalem has possibly presented the most articulate argument for the Palestinians on why [he thinks] Israel can’t be a “Jewish State”. It appeared in the Aljazeera edition of 30 September, 2011. In summary, he reasons as follows:

[a] The term “Jewish” can be applied to both the ancient race of Israelites and their descendents, as well as to those who believe in and practice the religion of Judaism.

[b] A state cannot be in practice – ethnically or religiously homogenous.

[c] Recognition of Israel as a “Jewish state” implies that Israel is, or should be, either a theocracy [ if we take the word “Jewish” to apply to the religion of Judaism of Judaism ] or an apartheid state [if we take the word “Jewish” to apply to the ethnicity of Jews], or both. Israel is then no longer a democracy.

[d] At least one in five Israelis – 20% of the population, according to the Israel Central Bureau of Statistics – is ethnically Arab [ and are mostly either Muslim, Christian, Druze or Bahai], and recognizing Israel as a “Jewish State” as such makes 1/5th of the population of Israel automatically strangers in their own native land and opens the door to legally reducing them, most undemocratically, to second-class citizens.
[e] Before final status negotiations have commenced, the 7 million Palestinians in the Diaspora would have given up their rights to repatriation or compensation, a similar number of Palestinians descended from those who in 1900 lived in historical Palestine [Israel, the West Bank, Jerusalem and Gaza] and at the time made up 800,000 of its 840, 000 inhabitants and who were driven off their land through war, violent eviction or fear.

[f] Recognizing a “Jewish State “as such in Israel would mean legally that while Palestinians no longer have citizens’ rights there, any member of world Jewry outside of Israel [possibly up to10 million people] should be entitled to full citizens’ rights there no matter wherever they may be in the world today and regardless their current nationality. Israel admits publicly that it does not hold the land for the benefit of its citizens, but holds it, in trust, for the world for all times.

[g] In the context of [f], this means completely ignoring the fact that Jerusalem is holy to 2.2 million Christians and 1.6 billion Muslims, as it is to 15-20 million Jews worldwide.

Some extraordinary assertions by Nusseibeh:
“——while Jerusalem is mentioned 600 times in the Bible, it is not mentioned once in the Torah as such – a fact that any Biblical Concordance will easily confirm.”

As observed by the historian Shmuel Katz, “—the admitted capacity of the Arabs to manufacture facts , to deceive themselves into accepting them, and to work themselves up into a public passion over what is in fact a nonexistent emotion.”

In the Torah, Genesis XX11, it states “—–get thee into the land of Moriah;—“. The land of Moriah identifies the locality with the Temple Mount, which, of course, is in Jerusalem.

His quotes extracted from Genesis, Deuteronomy, and Leviticus apparently are intended to apply to others as well as to Jews and also to convey the idea that Jews tend to be warlike. Using the story of Abraham, Isaac and Ishmael only adds to Nusseibeh’s confusion for the Torah clearly states that while only Isaac is to be included in the spiritual heritage, Ishmael, may yet live under the Divine care and blessing. It is the latter and not Isaac who is described as “—-a wild ass of a man; his hand shall be against every man—.” Here again, the distortion brings to mind the words of Hitti writing about the Arabs, “What a people believes, even if untrue, has the same influence as if it were true.”

Two fuller responses to Nusseibeh are sufficient to destroy his fallacious arguments. Quoting Ephraim Karsh from the Jerusalem Post of October 10, 2011: “The Jewish state is a civil, democratic and pluralistic society, something that none of its Arab neighbors can stake a claim to. On the contrary, precisely because Islam is enshrined as state religion throughout the Middle East, the non-Muslim minorities have been denied “equal civil rights” and have instead been reduced to the historic dhimmi status whereby they can at best enjoy certain religious freedoms in return for a distinctly inferior existence, or worst suffer from systematic persecution and oppression.” This is in reply to Nusseibeh’s, “The idea of a ‘Jewish State ‘is logically and morally problematic because of its legal, religious, historical and social implications.”

Shlomo Avineri, “We Are a People, a Response to Sari Nusseibeh” appeared in Haaretz on October 12, 2011. Nusseibeh states that a modern nation-state cannot be defined in religious or ethnic terms. This is factually wrong. Consider the “Arab Republic of Egypt” and “Syrian Arab Republic”. He also points out that around 20% of Israelis are non-Jews but errs in claiming that they are “strangers in their own homeland”. There is no contradiction between Israel being the Jewish nation-state and the fact that members of the Arab minority are equal citizens. Nusseibeh nonsensically maintains that defining Israel as a Jewish state would mean denying citizenship to the country’s Arab population and would grant Israeli citizenship to 10 million Diaspora Jews.

In traversing the world from embracing the one state solution with Israel as a minority to the two state solution, Nusseibeh continues to display any growth in accommodation particularly when referencing refugees.

Arab Nationalism An Anthology edited by Sylvia G. Haim and published in 1976, offers some interesting insights on Arab views on the Jewish people as they relate to sovereignty. In the introduction prepared by Ms Haim, she refers to Jamil Baihum, a Lebanese Muhammad when discussing relations between Zionists and Arab in modern times. He sets out to prove that the Jews had always been a disruptive and treacherous element in Middle Eastern society, and, more important, that the Arabs had lived in Palestine from prehistoric time and had even bestowed on the Jews their religion and literature; Moses married an Arab woman who taught her husband the worship of Jehovah; Job was not a Hebrew but an Arab; the Shulamite was a beautiful Arab maiden, “Such arguments, it must be emphasized, are nothing exceptional, but rather, are typical, of a whole literature of reassurance and self-glorification, which draws on history and other scientific disciplines for its matter and which seems inseparable from the spread of nationalism.”

Haim recognizes that the arguments while appearing crude, absurd and drawing on outmoded science and history, are nevertheless necessary and assume importance in a society which has lost the stable and familiar image it once had of itself, and which is groping for a substitute.

Abd al-Rahman Azzam, the Arab League’s first secretary-general, contributed Chapter 13 of the given book, entitled “The Arab League and World Unity.” He speaks of the Jews having “collided” with the Arab League over 6 months, and it being “a violent collision with a weak and dispersed people who, of all peoples, most need our sympathy, for they are our persecuted cousins—–The calamity of Zionism has overtaken them; Zionism which the British at first supported with their bayonets, and the Americans with their money, so that Zionism may build a foreign, imperialistic state in an Arab land. Azzam displays a dislike for wars, while he is confident that the Arabs will win. In attempting to avert the war, he offers the Jews a hand of friendship. “The Zionists are a curse on the Jews and bemoans the “false claims”, presumably of the Zionists. He declares that the Jews will not be dispersed as “the Europeans dispersed them—-as they are our brothers—–“.

Chapter 16 of the same book covers, “The Near East, The Search for Truth” authored by Charles Malik, Lebanese Ambassador to the US and a former UN GA President, a Christian Arab, writes as follows.”The rise of Israel is certainly a great historic event whose total consequences it is impossible now to foretell.——The fate of the Near East is now intertwined with that of Israel. ——-The existence of Israel presents a real and serious challenge to Arab existence.—-There is today an internationally recognized state in the Near East called Israel—-quickly succeeded in becoming a member of the UN, while such older states as Italy or Ireland have not yet been able to join—–Yet this achievement, great and real as it is, cannot by itself guarantee the future.——-For it must not be forgotten that Israel is not yet at peace her immediate world. Her Arab and Moslem environment has not yet recognized her.—–I do not know of a single other instance in the world where there is such radical existential discontinuity across national frontiers [two entirely different religions, two entirely different economies, two entirely different languages—two entirely different mentalities, two entirely different civilizations]——face each other across this chasm.”

Our salvation can only materialize through unquestionable security and independence.

About the Author
Alex Rose was born in South Africa in 1935 and lived there until departing for the US in 1977 where he spent 26 years. He is an engineering consultant. For 18 years he was employed by Westinghouse until age 60 whereupon he became self-employed. He was also formerly on the Executive of Americans for a Safe Israel and a founding member of CAMERA, New York (Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America and today one of the largest media monitoring organizations concerned with accuracy and balanced reporting on Israel). In 2003 he and his wife made Aliyah to Israel and presently reside in Ashkelon.