Why a Two-State Solution in the Middle East Is Not Sustainable
It is anticipated that Trump will announce his “Deal of The Century:” which includes some economic incentives and a two-state solution in the Middle East, one state for the Palestinians and one for the Israelis.
It is common sense that the Palestinians and the Israelis should each have their own state. The fact, however, is that the solution has not been agreed to in the past, I suspect it will not work in the present, and it will not work in the foreseeable future and here is what I believe to be the source of the problem.
The Palestinians do not want a two-state solution. They claim that it is a “trick,” a Western power manipulation, to prevent them from getting back the land that they lost, i.e. the land they claim Israel occupies now. In the past, whether in Oslo or during Ehud Barak’s administration, any time the Israelis and Palestinians have negotiated where the borders will be, even with Israel giving parts of Jerusalem to the Palestinians to have as a capital, the Palestinians have pulled back from the negotiation table and even escalated the terror.
I suggest that the reason for this is that there is no Palestinian leader who is willing to go down in the history books as the leader who gave up on the land they believe is theirs and it is, I understand against the instructions in the Qur’an to ever give up land. A two-state solution would delegitimize their right of return.
The majority of Israelis do not want it either, out of fear. The West Bank as a Palestinian state could be open to Iranian influence and Israel would be surrounded by mortal enemies: Hezbollah to the north, Hamas from Gaza in the South, and now an Iranian sponsored enemy from the new state on the West Bank. The distance from the sea to the 1967 borders, the Palestinians wish Israel to return to, at the narrowest point, is only nine kilometers. Five miles!!!!
After two thousand years of persecution, it is in the Jewish consciousness to be cautious and make decisions based on fear. And who can blame them? Furthermore, Israel is a democracy and the vote of religious fanatics who settled in the West bank count. These messianic religious fanatics might launch an armed resistance before they remove the settlements that they believe belong to the Jewish people by a promise God made to them. This was told to me by a religious general of the Israeli army.
So, here we are with incompatible value systems that cannot be breached. Value systems derived from sacred books. One from the Qur’an that forbids giving up Muslim land and the other from the Torah that promises the land to the chosen people.
In both cases, it seems as if God’s instructions are interfering in resolving the conflict.
It is tragic: being an occupying force is destroying Israel spiritually, and the lack of an economic future in the refugee camps is destroying Palestinian society. Both are losing. Both could be benefiting, if only they were capable of giving up the cornerstones of their religion, culture, and value system which block them from moving forward.
It does not look probable.
An economic solution to improve the lives of Palestinians, which I understand is part of “The Deal of The Century,” is a welcome move, but it should not be expected to remove the conflict. When Yugoslavia was falling apart, the European Union offered billions of euros and membership in the EU to the then-Presidency of Yugoslavia (the Presidency was composed of the various presidents of each republic) if they stayed together and did not break down the Federation. It was rejected and they went to war.
Unfortunately, values and religion are stronger than logic.
Ichak Kalderon Adizes