David K. Rees
David K. Rees

The Sad Fate of the Palestinians’ Refusal to Negotiate a Two-State Solution.

Both Israel and the Palestinians are paying for the Palestinians’ failure to negotiate a two-state solution.  There is no question that the Palestinians are responsible for this failure.  In 1947, the United Nations authorized the creation of the State of Israel, effective May 15, 1948. Israel accepted this proposal. The Arab countries did not, and the day that Israel became a State invaded it with intention of destroying it. They failed in their objective, though Jordan took a large section of what was supposed to be Israel — the West Bank.  After the 1948 war, Israel continued to settle the land on the Israeli side of the “Green Line” which separated Israel from the West Bank.

In 1967, the same Arab States once again attempted to invade Israel with the intention of eliminating it.  This time, Israel defeated them in only six days, recovering the West Bank in the process.  The United Nations responded with UN Resolution 242, which called for negotiated borders between the countries. Israel agreed to negotiate pursuant to Resolution 242, but the Arab League unanimously refused, issuing its famous three nos: no recognition, no negotiation, no peace. Israel began to settle the West Bank.

In 1973, the same Arab countries once again tried to invade Israel and once again were defeated.  The UN passed Resolution 338, which incorporated 242. This time, Egypt’s Anwar Sadat, realizing that he could never conquer Israel by force of arms, agreed to negotiate. These negotiations resulted in a peace treaty between Israel and Egypt under which Israel obtained recognition and pulled all of its troops and settlers out of the Sanai. This treaty has brought a peace between Israel and Egypt which has lasted for over 40 years  Israel continued to build a modern country and settle the West Bank.

When he was President, Bill Clinton tried very hard to effect a two-state solution, giving the Palestinians a State on the West Bank and Gaza.  Initially, The Palestinians, represented by Yasser Arafat, made an interim agreement with Israel (The Oslo Accords), but in 2000, when final-status negotiations were to take place, Arafat, in Hillary Clinton’s words, “walked away”.  Instead of negotiating a final-status peace agreement, Arafat went back to Ramallah and authorized the second intifada.

The second intifada was very painful for Israel — over 1,000 Israelis were murdered during it, but it was not an existential threat to Israel.   Israel’s response to the second intifada was to  crack down on the Palestinians on the West Bank, building a separation barrier between them and Israel, imposing numerous checkpoints, and increasing military pressure on the Palestinians.

Israel continued to settle the West Bank, but this time it was different.  Originally, Israel was a relatively secular country.  Many of the new settlers are right-wing, religious wingnuts who believe that God promised Jews all the land between the Jordan River and the Sea.  They view the Palestinians, who are a great majority on the West Bank, as interlopers who must be made to leave. In recent  years, young, right-wing, Jewish, religious wing-nuts have violently attacked Palestinians on the West Bank in what are known as “price tag” attacks. These attacks have been widely publicized in Israel. Most Israelis are appalled by them. Major Israeli politicians, including Bibi Netanyahu, Neftali Bennett,  and Yair Lapid, have decried them.

Palestinians are now claiming that the settler violence is part of an Israeli plan to drive them out of the West Bank. They are only half right.  While the wingnuts’ motive is to drive the Palestinians, who are a great majority of the people who live on the West Bank, out of the West Bank, that is NOT the policy of the Israeli government, nor the great majority of people in Israel. Major Israeli politicians, including Bibi Netanyahu, Neftali Bennett, and Yair Lapid have decried them,

It is really a shame that the Palestinians failed to negotiate with Israel for so long.  If they had, perhaps a future war for Israel could have been avoided.  Today, when Iran, Hezbollah, and Hamas between them have 150,000 missiles ready to be fired at Israel and are sworn to replace Israel with a Muslim theocracy, no agreement between Israel and the Palestinians can bring Israel peace. Sadly, for the near future, no two-state solution is possible./

About the Author
After spending an adulthood as a lawyer in Colorado where much of my practice involved the public interest, I made aliyah. As I child I was told by my mother, a German, Jewish refugee, that Israel was a place for her and her child. When I came here, I understood what she meant. Though I am retired now, I have continued my interest in activism and the world in which I find myself.
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