The End of the Palestinian State

Since 1947, when the United Nations partitioned Israel into two separate states, one for the Israelis, one for the Palestinians, the assumption has been that there will be peace in the region under a “two-state solution.” The time to believe in this long-held fantasy is over. Here’s why.

The “two states” generally refer to Israel (as it was composed prior to the 1967 war), and a State of Palestine, an area west of the Jordan River and contingent with Israel (generally referred to as the West Bank), as well as Gaza (an area along the Mediterranean coast). The simple reason that the two state solution is a fantasy is that the Palestinians repeatedly have made clear that they would not be satisfied with their own state on the West Bank and Gaza. They seek that, plus the land comprising the State of Israel. Always have. Always will. Their goal is the one-state solution, Palestine, with the elimination of Israel. No serious person can conclude otherwise.

If there was ever any doubt about that, the historical record proves it beyond doubt. Recent events, including action taken by the Palestine Liberation Organization just this past week, confirm this fact beyond question.

It is quite simply a fact of history that, over the past 70 years, the Palestinians repeatedly have rejected any offer to establish their own state on the West Bank and Gaza. These facts can be ignored, and often are, but they cannot be changed. They rejected the United Nation’s original partition plan in 1947 that would have created their own state. More recently, in 2000, at Camp David, Israel offered the Palestinians  a state of their own comprising 95% of the land in Gaza and the West Bank with Arab Jerusalem as its capital. Yasser Arafat rejected the offer and did not present a counteroffer. In 2008, Israel once again offered the Palestinians a state of their own, this time one comprising 98% of the land in the West Bank and Gaza.  Again, the Palestinians turned down this offer, without making a counteroffer.

Instead of accepting the repeated offers of a two-state solution, Arabs and Palestinians have launched genocidal wars of extinction – – in 1947, 1967, and 1973. When those failed, they turned to terrorism, culminating in the second intifada in 2002, killing over 1,000 Israelis – – the population equivalent of 50,000 Americans.

The death knell of the “two-state solution” actually occurred nine years ago in 2005. At that time, Israel decided unilaterally to end its occupation of Gaza, forcibly removed Israeli settlers from the land, and left behind apartments, schools, hospitals, and irrigation systems it had constructed in Gaza.  The Palestinians in Gaza immediately destroyed all the Israeli improvements and, in spite of the end of the “occupation,” began a series of rocket attacks on Israel that has continued to this day. Since 2005, when Israel left Gaza, Hamas, Gaza’s governing body, has launched over 8,000 missiles at civilian targets in Israel.  This has led Israel to respond with military action in 2008, 2012, and this past summer. After Gaza, can any serious person support the establishment of a similar terror state on the West Bank just nine miles from Tel Aviv?

This past week, the Palestinians put the final nail in the two-state solution’s rotting coffin. They introduced a resolution in the United Nations calling for an end to the conflict and the establishment of a Palestinian state by 2017. Of course, this one-sided resolution, which did not take into account any of Israel’s legitimate security concerns, was just another propaganda ploy on their part as they knew that any such resolution would eventually be vetoed by the United States. That wasn’t even necessary. The resolution failed to get the nine votes needed for passage. Instead, the Palestinians have now announced that they will seek to hold Israel responsible for war crimes at the International Court of Justice. This latest folly will not bring them any closer to a state of their own and they know it. In fact, it is likely to backfire as Israel will counter in the Court by holding Hamas responsible for its own atrocities committed against Israeli citizens.

The second, and less compelling, reason that the two-state solution is dead (second to the overriding fact that the Palestinians have never supported a two-state solution) is the Israeli settlements in the West Bank. But not for the reasons generally given. President Obama has long championed the misguided notion that the settlements are the main obstacle to peace in the Middle East. In doing so, the President of the United States has bought into the Palestinian vision of a Judenfrei Palestinian state. Why should there not be Jewish residents of a Palestinian state, just as there are two million Arab citizens living with full civil rights in the State of Israel? There are approximately 400,000 Jewish settlers currently living in the West Bank. And they aren’t going anywhere. The idea that Israel will forcibly evacuate such a large group of people (8,000 settlers were evacuated from Gaza and that did not pacify the Palestinians’ blood thirst) is ludicrous. The notion that the President of the United States would spread the myth that the settlements are the “main” obstacle to peace and endorse the concept of a Judenfrei Palestinian state is nothing less than shameful.

At this point, any reasonable person or country would draw the logical conclusion that the two state solution is dead and the Palestinians are responsible for blowing it up. But for some inexplicable reason, President Obama and Secretary of State Kerry, as well as a host of other world leaders and commentators, continue to press for the creation of a Palestinian state. Of course, none of these people would urge the establishment of such a terror state set upon destruction of its neighbors on its own borders.

So what will become of this conflict? What you ask, is the alternative to a two-state solution? What does the future hold for Palestinians? Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn. They have had abundant chances over the last century to build their own state and live peacefully alongside the State of Israel. They have repeatedly squandered their chance. They were given the choice between life and death and they have chosen death. Their time has passed. Supporters of Palestinians should ask themselves: how many chances would you give a terrorist to kill your own children?

So the status quo will continue, perhaps indefinitely. Presently, and contrary to most people’s understanding, the Palestinians in the West Bank enjoy considerable autonomy. The Israel army does not patrol their cities. There are no checkpoints between Palestinian cities. The Palestinian people control their own fate within their territory, with their own police, courts, hospitals, and universities. The Israelis’ sole goal concerning them is to ensure that they don’t (or make it more difficult for them to) engage in their primary preoccupation — killing Jews and destroying Israel.

Perhaps in a generation or two or three, the Palestinians will be willing to accept what, up to now, they have rejected, a state of their own living peacefully along side the State of Israel. Until that time comes, they will continue to govern themselves as if they had their own state. They will simply lack the ability to kill Jews. Or to kill as many Jews as they would like. After so many futile efforts to make peace with their Palestinian neighbors only to be met repeatedly by wars and savage terrorism, the Israelis rightfully can say: “never again.”

About the Author
Steve Frank is an attorney, retired after a thirty-year career as an appellate lawyer with the United States Department of Justice in Washington, D.C. He sits on the Board of Directors of the Lawfare Project which fights anti-Semitism throughout the world. His writings on Israel, the law and architecture have appeared in numerous publications including the Washington Post, the Chicago Tribune, the Times of Israel, the Jerusalem Post, and Moment Magazine.