Labor’s Temporary Rejection of the Two-State Solution

Isaac Herzog, leader of Israel’s Labor party, recently declared in an interview that he sees the creation of a Palestinian state as desirable in the long run but impossible under current conditions. Were he to become prime minister, Herzog explained, he would focus on short-term measures to improve Israeli security and Palestinian quality of life. Jonathan Tobin notes the implications of this dramatic shift, especially for U.S.-Israeli relations:

Unlike Americans who simply ignore any evidence about the conflict that doesn’t validate their preexisting assumptions, Israelis are aware that their so-called peace partners are both inciting and applauding the most gruesome acts of terrorism. Moreover, they have noticed that Palestinians don’t seem to draw any distinction between Jews sitting in a Tel Aviv café and those living in a West Bank settlement. For them, all are ripe targets for murder, and those who commit such atrocities are considered heroes.

This is an important point American Jewish left-wingers who pose as experts about Israel steadfastly refuse to acknowledge. It also illustrates how pointless the Obama administration’s efforts to pressure Israel have been. . . . No one should expect these facts to influence Israel’s critics. But they ought to have some impact on those vying for the presidency in both parties. The next president’s task will be to repair the “daylight” damage Obama has done. But he or she should also be willing to tell the world that there will be no more talk of two states until the Palestinians give up their dreams of Israel’s destruction and cease terrorism.

Read more at Commentary

More about: Isaac Herzog, Israel & Zionism, Israeli politics, Labor Party, Two-State Solution

Only Hamas’s Defeat Can Pave the Path to Peace

Opponents of the IDF’s campaign in Gaza often appeal to two related arguments: that Hamas is rooted in a set of ideas and thus cannot be defeated militarily, and that the destruction in Gaza only further radicalizes Palestinians, thus increasing the threat to Israel. Rejecting both lines of thinking, Ghaith al-Omar writes:

What makes Hamas and similar militant organizations effective is not their ideologies but their ability to act on them. For Hamas, the sustained capacity to use violence was key to helping it build political power. Back in the 1990s, Hamas’s popularity was at its lowest point, as most Palestinians believed that liberation could be achieved by peaceful and diplomatic means. Its use of violence derailed that concept, but it established Hamas as a political alternative.

Ever since, the use of force and violence has been an integral part of Hamas’s strategy. . . . Indeed, one lesson from October 7 is that while Hamas maintains its military and violent capabilities, it will remain capable of shaping the political reality. To be defeated, Hamas must be denied that. This can only be done through the use of force.

Any illusions that Palestinian and Israeli societies can now trust one another or even develop a level of coexistence anytime soon should be laid to rest. If it can ever be reached, such an outcome is at best a generational endeavor. . . . Hamas triggered war and still insists that it would do it all again given the chance, so it will be hard-pressed to garner a following from Palestinians in Gaza who suffered so horribly for its decision.

Read more at Washington Institute for Near East Policy

More about: Gaza War 2023, Hamas, Israeli-Palestinian Conflict