With the BDS movement gaining momentum, many on the Israeli Left are increasing their calls for negotiations under the premise of a two-state solution. In their minds, the two-state solution is the only practical solution that could end the international isolation of Israel and lead to peace. But in the midst of the exhausted political ping-pong of whether or not the two-state solution is actually viable, the most important question often goes unasked – what if they are wrong?
Despite the Left’s dogmatic insistence that there is no alternative to a two-state solution, they have yet to propose a plan – or even broach the subject – of how Israel can cope with a prospective situation where a peace agreement is made yet the Palestinians do not honor their promises. In the most volatile region in the world, it is foolhardy to presume that even if the current conditions are ripe for a two-state solution (and that is a big “if”), they will always remain so.
It is very easy to point accusatory fingers and claim that the current status quo is unsustainable, but a failed two-state solution could result in the potential economic and political demise of Israel. This past summer, we saw what a single rocket aimed at Ben-Gurion Airport can do to the Israeli economy, and what an incursion into Palestinian controlled territory can do to Israel’s international image.
Withdrawal is absolute. As we’ve seen in Judea & Samaria, Southern Lebanon, and Gaza, once Israel withdraws from territory there is no returning. A two-state solution (even one that excludes the major “settlement blocs”) would indisputably leave Israel more vulnerable to attacks and with no realistic opportunity of ever reverting back to pre-two-state solution borders.
Given this, those who so wholeheartedly push for the two-state solution need to be able to guarantee the Israeli public that Israel will possess the capability to adequately defend herself in the event that the Palestinians do not honor their agreements. Until now, no such guarantee has been made.
Most of those in favor of territorial concessions are not oblivious to the reality – they realize that Palestinian terror will not magically disappear with a peace deal; however, their belief that a two-state solution will cause Israel’s detractors to abandon their insidious obsession with the Jewish state is historically naive and not reassuring in the slightest. As we’ve seen in military conflicts in Lebanon and Gaza, “occupation” plays little to no importance in how Israel is perceived by the international community. Once Palestinian civilian casualties begin to accumulate as a result of an unavoidable military confrontation, any support that Israel had could very easily disappear.
What then? We, the Israeli people, deserve to know what will happen if that situation arises; if rockets are being shot on Ben-Gurion Airport and the world still condemns our “disproportionate” response; if terrorists from Qalqilya or Tulkarem shoot makeshift mortars on passengers travelling on Highway 6 – a mere few hundred kilometers away; if the BDS movement continues to press for boycotts and the right of return for millions of Palestinians.
Rather than dismissing the concerns and warnings that many have regarding the two-state solution as unwarranted, the advocates of such a peace deal must start being truthful about the negative repercussions that a deal of this magnitude could encompass. We cannot afford the Oslo Accords and Disengagement route of hollow assurances accompanied with no foresight or forward planning.
At the end of the day, we are being sold a very risky product with no warranty, insurance or possibility of exchange. Brazen and obstinate reassurances of the viability of the two-state solution are reckless and irresponsible; we need guarantees and concrete alternatives to a failed peace deal – not empty promises.