Israel Shouldn’t Embrace a One-State Solution—Yet

Nov. 21 2016

On Wednesday, the so-called legalization bill passed its preliminary reading in the Knesset. Supported by most of the governing coalition, but opposed by the prime minister, the bill would legalize many outposts built on privately owned Palestinian land and provide compensation for the land’s original owners. While the bill is very unlikely to pass, writes Evelyn Gordon, advancing it now, with a lame-duck president in the White House, is “asinine.” Furthermore, Gordon argues, the law would be detrimental to Israel on its own merits:

Most Israeli ministers—albeit not Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu—appear to support a one-state solution, and ever since Donald Trump won [the American presidential election], they have been demanding major steps toward its implementation: unrestricted building in the settlements, legalizing illegal settlement outposts, and annexing roughly 60 percent of the West Bank [the portion of that territory known as Area C]. . . .

[E]ven in a fantasy world where nobody in Washington objected to Israel’s building anywhere in the West Bank, moving full tilt toward a one-state agenda right now would be irresponsible, because should the world become convinced that Israel is abandoning or precluding a two-state solution, pressure for an immediate one-state solution, with Palestinians given full voting rights, is liable to escalate rapidly. And Israel simply isn’t ready for a one-state solution right now.

First, even assuming the world would let Israel ignore Gaza and annex the West Bank only, Jews account for just 66 percent of all residents of Israel and the West Bank according to even the most optimistic calculations. Given how controversial those calculations are, betting the Jewish state’s future on their accuracy would be foolish. But even if they are accurate, that would still leave Israel with a 34-percent Arab minority. Combined with support from Israeli leftists, that’s enough to erase every vestige of Israel’s Jewish character through democratic means. . . .

[Another] final problem is diplomatic. I doubt Republicans would abandon Israel over this issue, but there’s every reason to think Democrats would, and power in Washington changes hands on a fairly regular basis. Thus, unless Israel finds a substitute for America’s diplomatic backing—and I don’t see any on the horizon right now—it can’t afford to alienate Democrats completely.

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Read more at Evelyn Gordon

More about: Israel & Zionism, Israeli left, Israeli politics, Two-State Solution, West Bank

The Palestinian Authority Is Part of the Problem, Not the Solution

Jan. 31 2023

On Thursday, Palestinian Authority (PA) officials announced that they had ceased all security cooperation with Israel; the next two days saw two deadly terrorist attacks in Jerusalem. But the PA has in the past made numerous threats that it will sever its ties with the Israeli government, and has so far never made good on them. Efraim Inbar poses a different set of questions: does cooperation with Palestinian leaders who actively encourage—and provide financial incentives for—the murder of Jews really help Israel protect its citizens? And might there be a better alternative?

The PA leader Mahmoud Abbas seems unable to rule effectively, i.e., to maintain a modicum of law and order in the territories under his control. He lost Gaza to Hamas in 2007, and we now see the “Lebanonization” of the PA taking place in the West Bank: the emergence of myriad armed groups, with some displaying only limited loyalty to the PA, and others, especially the Islamists, trying to undermine the current regime.

[The PA’s] education system and media continue propagating tremendous hostility toward Jews while blaming Israel for all Palestinian problems. Security cooperation with Israel primarily concerns apprehending armed activists of the Islamist opposition, as the PA often turns a blind eye to terrorist activities against Israel. In short, Abbas and his coterie are part of the problem, not of the solution. Jerusalem should thus think twice about promoting efforts to preserve PA rule and prevent a descent into chaos while rejecting the reoccupation of the West Bank.

Chaos is indeed not a pleasant prospect. Chaos in the territories poses a security problem to Israel, but one that will be mitigated if the various Palestinian militias vying for influence compete with each other. A succession struggle following the death of Abbas could divert attention from fighting hated Israel and prevent coordination in the low-intensity conflict against it. In addition, anarchy in the territories may give Israel a freer hand in dealing with the terrorists.

Furthermore, chaos might ultimately yield positive results. The collapse of the PA will weaken the Palestinian national movement, which heretofore has been a source of endemic violence and is a recipe for regional instability in the future.

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Read more at JNS

More about: Israeli Security, Palestinian Authority, Palestinian terror