One need not go back very far in time to see why a two state solution between Israel and the Palestinians is not sensible. As I fully understand that not even all Jews see either the religious or historical basis for Israel maintaining full control over Judea and Samaria (the West Bank), I will show why, even from a practical point of view, such a two state arrangement makes no sense.
Last month, both Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyhu spoke at the UN General Assembly annual meeting. After bemoaning the "notorious Balfour Declaration" of 1917, Abbas claimed that it "paved the road for the Nakba (catastrophe) of Palestinian people and their dispossession and displacement from their land." At the end of the Great War Allied forces had captured much of the Middle East, which had been under the control of the Ottoman Empire for hundreds of years. Britain had control of the area known as Palestine. In 1917 British Foreign Minister Arthur Balfour announced "His Majesty's Government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people..."
Palestine was a geographic area, not a country, which had also been the biblical and historical Jewish homeland. Israel did exist as a country there - 2000 years ago. So, the first question is, if the Palestinians view the establishment of the modern state of Israel as a "catastrophe," how does that make a two state solution feasible? After several decades of control, the British turned over their "Mandate" area of Palestine to the UN, which in 1947 voted to partition the land into a Jewish state and an Arab state. Abbas: "Israeli forces seized more land than that allotted to Israel..."
Seized more land? In 1948, following the 1947 vote for partition, the tiny State of Israel declared their independence. The very next day at least five Arab countries attacked the new state, in the Arabs first effort to wipe Israel off the map. Israelis were greatly outnumbered and outgunned. But a miracle occurred (with G-d's help, perhaps) and the tiny country won their war for independence. And yes, at the end of that war in 1949, Israel did control more land than the original partition granted them.
But Israel did not "seize" that land. The Jews were willing to accept the tiny bit of land allotted to them by the partition. But the Arabs announced before the UN vote that they would never accept the existence of a Jewish state. So, the second question is, in what ways have the Arabs shown a change in their attitudes towards Israel since 1948? By lying about Israel "seizing" land, as opposed to being attacked and winning? By the constant wars and terrorist attacks against Israel since 1948? By the Palestinians launching thousands of rockets and missiles into civilian areas of Israel? By Abbas repeatedly saying that not one single Jew may live in a new state of Palestine, while over a million Arabs live in the State of Israel? Or by Abbas still referring to Israel's existence as the Palestinian Nakba?
Abbas went on to engage in more lies by claiming that "Israel reneged on the (Oslo) agreements it signed..." Here is the third question: when the Palestinians consistently reject their own state as long as Israel still exists, how is a two state solution feasible? You see, Abbas was lying again. He neglected to mention the meeting at the White House with President Bill Clinton and then Israeli P.M. Ehud Barak and P.A. leader Yasser Arafat. Barak offered Arafat a state on almost all of the West Bank. Arafat walked out, went back to his headquarters in Ramallah, and started the second intifada in which Arab suicide bombers blew up Jews on buses, in cafes and other places, and even at a Passover Seder. And Abbas also turned down a state when offered one by then Israeli P.M. Ehud Olmert. But Abbas stands up at the UN and says it is Israel that is not abiding by agreements.
Israeli P.M. Netanyahu had been the Israeli Ambassador to the UN from 1984 to 1988. It was the custom for many Israeli political and military leaders to meet with the Chabad Lubavitch Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson. The Rebbe is widely considered to be the most influential rabbi of the twentieth century. So, upon his appointment, Netanyahu, too, spoke with the Rebbe. As Netanyahu tells it, the Rebbe advised: "You will be serving in a house of many lies. Remember that even in the darkest place, the light of a single candle can be seen far and wide." Clearly, Netanyahu took to heart the Rebbe's advice, and to this day speaks with greater moral clarity at the annual UN assembly than any other world leader.
In addressing the General Assembly last month, Netanyahu said this: The UN "began as a moral force and has become a moral farce." In recognizing the ongoing refusal of Palestinian leaders to accept Israel's existence, Netanyahu said: "How can we expect young Palestinians to support peace when their leaders poison their minds?"
It is anticipated that the French will put forth their resolution to the UN Security Council establishing a Palestinian state on land now controlled by Israel, after the US Presidential elections. While the US has consistently vetoed such anti-Israel measures, the Obama Administration this time advised Israeli leaders that there is no guarantee they will do so again. So Netanyahu, as leader of the tiny Jewish nation, announced: "We will not accept any attempt by the UN to dictate terms to Israel. The road to peace runs through Jerusalem and Ramallah, not through New York."
I believe that the world should stop pretending that a two state solution is feasible. After all, the Palestinians have shown no such pretense.