My wife forwarded to me this morning an email from our friend Jill from Oakland, Calif. Jill asked: “What do you and Yori think about a 2 state solution? I am very interested in your opinions.” All love, Jille.
Hi Ya, Jill!
The 2-state solution – which seems an obvious idea, what could be more logical than a case in which two people are disputing ownership of the same land – they should split it – has been proposed and tried several times:
In 1936, a British fact finding committee recommended it, and the publication resulted in an Arab rebellion that spread across the Middle east, flamed by Nazi support.
In 1947, the UN voted in favor of just such a plan, resulting in immediate hostilities, developing into the 1948-49 war in which local Arabs and invaders from 5 Arab states attempted to annihilate the Jews of Palestine.
In 1994, the Oslo Accords to split the land resulted in several years of the worst terrorist attacks on Israeli civilians.
In 2000, the Camp David agreement negotiated by Clinton between then Israeli PM Ehud Barak and PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat resulted in the Second Intifada, once again, rivers of blood.
Remember what Albert Einstein said about the definition of insanity as doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results?
Mind you, I’m not branding the Arabs in this conflict as the bad guys and the Jews as angels. Israel, for reasons of stupidity, greed, chauvinism – you name it – has missed as many opportunities as the Arabs have to resolve the problem in ways that would be beneficial to everyone living here. But what is the common theme in all the past abysmal failures to turn that very logical 2-state solution into anything other than a bloody mess?
It requires a straight forward, honest and sincere acceptance of a Jewish state in some recognized borders in the area somewhere between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea. So far, every single Arab leader who actually supported this position openly and bravely — was found by an assassin’s knife or bullet or car bomb.
Mahmoud Abbas, the current President of the Palestinian Authority, has been cleverly playing a double game, avoiding an actual recognition of an Israeli state with full rights, but appearing as a man of peace and of law, while the other half of the Palestinian nation, the one in Gaza which is ruled by Hamas, is vowing to eliminate the “Zionist entity” by fire. One hand offers an illusive peace, the other promises – and delivers – death to the Jews.
I’ve lived for almost sixty years and learned at least one thing: There are no spontaneous, popular movements, demonstrations, or eruptions of violence. If those things happen, it means someone wanted them to happen and was willing to pay, be it the U.S., Europe, Iran, the Saudis, the Egyptians, Israel.
The fact is no one actually wants a democratic, independent Palestinian state. Everybody wants and badly needs hordes of Palestinians vying for such a state but never getting one. When they’re in a dynamic state, they can be used – by everyone, including Israel. And each time a Palestinian leader tries to actually go seriously about having a state – he or she meet a bullet.
In my opinion, the best thing for the region would be a Jewish, Democratic state from the river to the sea, with equal rights for everybody. It exists as Israel right now, where some 20 percent of the citizens are non-Jews, mostly Muslim and Christian Arabs. They vote and get elected (11 Knesset seats are held by Arabs), many of them serve in the military, go to university and work as professionals. On Shabbat and Jewish holidays, the Israeli medical system is run almost exclusively by Arabs. Arab municipalities are thriving.
They all recognize that they’re living in a Jewish state. They all bitch about discrimination. They all have a zillion anecdotal stories about how tough it is to live as an Arab minority in a majority Jewish state. But very few of them would rather live in, say, Syria, or Iraq, or Iran, or even Egypt. You may not know this, but Palestinians are kind of the Jews of the Arab world – despised and discriminated against. You may recall that, back in 1991, after the American Desert Storm effort restored the Kuwaiti royal family, the first thing they did was to throw 400 thousand Palestinians out to the desert, punishing all of them for the few who had collaborated with the invading Iraqis.