Robert Festenstein

We need a plan, a real one

Day 113.  David Aaronovitch is a good man.  He writes sensibly in the UK newspaper The Times and is a strong supporter of Israel.  Recently he wrote about the necessity of a two state solution and has been met with some of hostility amongst the UK Jewish Community.

My own views on the two-state solution – TSS – are well known; I have been railing against it for years now.  Having said that, I agree with David.  In order for there to be peace there needs to be a solution which involves an accord between Israel and her immediate, currently belligerent neighbours.  It cannot though be the TSS of old.  That deal is dead.  The deal which involved the Palestinian leadership getting pretty much everything they wanted and then refusing to carry through is a thing of the past.

Any new TSS has to be different, and it cannot be delivered in a short period of time.  Bear in mind that the reports from the 7th October 2023 told of how non-terrorists from Gaza followed Hamas operatives and took part themselves in killing and raping Israelis.  That level of hatred from ordinary Gazans does not disappear overnight, or in the space of a few weeks.  It will take a considerable time for that murderous psyche to fade away.

The solution also will take time and starts in a place which is counter intuitive.  The starting point is Europe.  The funding of Hamas and the Palestinian Authority comes in substantial amounts from both individual European countries and the European community as a whole.  For years now, money flowing to Gaza and Judea & Samaria has been diverted to terrorist groups, despite the claims by the donors that this is not possible.

There is no doubt that aid is needed in view of the poor living conditions of the Palestinians.  The problem though is that so much money has been and continues to be stolen by the leaders of Hamas and the Palestinian Authority so as to keep the ordinary Palestinians in poverty.  The former leader Yassar Arafat stole so much money, his wealth on his death was estimated in the billions.  The corrupt leaders depend on the continued flow of money to enable them to get rich and the Jews are blamed for keeping the Palestinians poor which in turn serves to fuel the ongoing hatred.

On day 1 of the war, I wrote that Hamas had made a mistake in their evaluation of the Israeli response.  I said I believed that Hamas thought that many Israelis would refuse to fight in the IDF, given the number of those who had said so, as part of their opposition to the judicial reforms.  I speculate also that the open antipathy towards the Israeli Government by various UK large and small Jewish communal groups played a part (however small) in pushing Hamas leaders into believing Israel would not get support from the diaspora following their infamous attack.

The European Jewish leadership also has a crucial role to play. UK Jewish leaders have for years been calling for a TSS, oblivious to the reality on the ground that the Palestinian leadership had no interest in this.  It is this myopia which needs to change.  For as long as there is a belief that the old TSS can succeed, there can be no peace since it is based on a false premise, that the current Palestinian leadership actually want peace.  They don’t.

There have been some references to a scheme similar to the Marshall Plan whereby hundreds of millions of dollars were poured into post war Germany.  History tells us that this was successful, though it is vital to remember that there were no countries funding Nazis to continue to fight the allies and no handing out of sweets when they managed to kill allied soldiers after the end of the war.  Money alone will not create peace; we know that already since vast amounts have been spent with absolutely no peaceful result at all.

What is needed is a massive shift in the approach to the whole peace process whereby the Palestinian people are persuaded away from Jew-hatred, away from their corrupt leadership and towards a something which represents a different future than the one facing them now.  A future which includes decent economic growth, the abolition of those schoolbooks which promote hatred of Jews and above all a leadership which doesn’t bleed the population dry.

I suspect that it is this sort of outcome that David Aaronovitch had in mind when he wrote of a two-state solution, one which is based on a wholly different philosophy.  It is this new approach which needs to be explored since clearly the old one hasn’t worked, and we all desperately need one that does.

About the Author
Robert Festenstein is a solicitor based in Manchester with considerable experience in Court actions. He is active in fighting the increase in anti-Semitism in the UK and is President of the Zionist Central Council, an organisation devoted to promoting and defending the democratic State of Israel.