Avi Shamir
Avi Shamir

Two States, One Option

This comes as no surprise to those who have always said that the two-state solution is the only real option. But it must come as a letdown to some of those Trump devotees, especially the Israeli ones who convinced themselves that the American Savior had come to silence all that bothersome two-state talk.

On balance, Donald Trump is in such deep shit with his colossal failures, e.g. his pledged Obama-care Replacement bill and maligned travel ban, not to mention the FBI investigation of his cahootin’ with Putin, that he needs to restore some credibility. So now the talk surrounding Donald the clown is that he wants to broker a deal that will settle the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. And he knows that no one will take him seriously if he continues to plug his laughable “one-state, two-state, whatever you guys want” strategy.

Let’s get real here: When Trump made that wishy-washy policy statement a short two months ago to the delight of his cynical White House guest, Bibi Netanyahu, the Israeli right was in such a state of false euphoria that Naftali Bennet and his Greater Israel pals were all doing backflips. At last, they exulted, no more US pressure to freeze settlement activity in Judea and Samaria.

But the slapdash US president quickly made an about-face and called for restraint on Israeli settlement activity, demonstrating that whereas his predecessor was unambiguous and predictable, he is perfectly ambiguous and unpredictable. Without a doubt, Donald Trump’s biggest accomplishment is that he has proven that he is not Barak Obama.

However, Trump’s wigwagging and political posturing doesn’t change the Middle East dynamic one bit. There isn’t one Arab leader who would take seriously a proposal that Israelis and Palestinians can live together in harmony in one state, which happens to be both Jewish and Zionist. Even the Bibi-Bennett-Lieberman axis has nothing to say about the embarrassing “one-state” idea. Everyone with eyes in his head knows that the only chance for normalcy in our corner of the world would require a modus vivendi between the parties in the conflict, one that they can both live with: A Jewish state run by Zionist Israelis and a Palestinian state run by liable Palestinians.

Normalcy isn’t what keeps the Israeli right in power. They prefer the low-intensity conflict that best expresses the status quo. They would rather disparage the Israeli left than arrive at a national consensus to resolve the conflict. Which is probably why they like Donald Trump so much. He may not make good on his unworkable campaign promise to move the US Embassy to Jerusalem, and he may be paying lip service to limit settlement expansion, but so what? The settlements already on the ground are keeping the status quo intact. As long as the present circumstances continue, the two-state option is background noise. And if Donald Trump makes less noise than his predecessor about the dreaded two-state plan, then Israel’s constant Prime Minister gets what he wants most, job security.

About the Author
Avi Shamir is a freelance writer, editor, translator and the author of "Saving the Game," a novel about baseball. A Brooklyn College graduate with a BA in English, Avi has contributed to the Jerusalem Post, The Nation, Israel Scene, In English and The World Zionist Press Service.