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

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.

Read more at Evelyn Gordon

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

An Israeli Buffer Zone in the Gaza Strip Doesn’t Violate International Law

 The IDF announced on Thursday that it is safe for residents to return to some of the towns and villages near the Gaza Strip that have been abandoned since October 7. Yet on the same day, rocket sirens sounded in one of those communities, Kibbutz Mefalsim. To help ensure security in the area, Israel is considering the creation of a buffer zone within the Strip that would be closed to Palestinian civilians and buildings. The U.S. has indicated, however, that it would not look favorably on such a step.

Avraham Shalev explains why it’s necessary:

The creation of a security buffer along the Gaza-Israel border serves the purpose of destroying Hamas’s infrastructure and eliminating the threat to Israel. . . . Some Palestinian structures are practically on the border, and only several hundred yards away from Israeli communities such as Kfar Aza, Kerem Shalom, and Sderot. The Palestinian terrorists that carried out the murderous October 7 attacks crossed into Israel from many of these border-adjacent areas. Hamas officials have already vowed that “we will do this again and again. The al-Aqsa Flood [the October 7th massacre] is just the first time, and there will be a second, a third, a fourth.”

In 2018 and 2019, Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad organized mass marches towards the Israeli border with the goal of breaking into Israel. Billed by Palestinians as “the Great March of Return,” its name reveals its purpose—invasion. Although the marches were supposedly non-violent, they featured largescale attacks on Israeli forces as well as arson and damage to Israeli agriculture and civilian communities. Moreover, the October 7 massacre was made possible by Hamas’s prepositioning military hardware along the border under false cover of civilian activity. The security perimeter is intended to prevent a reprise of these events.

Shalev goes on to dismantle the arguments put forth about why international law prohibits Israel from creating the buffer zone. He notes:

By way of comparison, following the defeat of Nazi Germany, France occupied the Saar [River Valley] directly until 1947 and then indirectly until reintegration with Germany in 1957, and the Allied occupation of Berlin continued until the reunification of Germany in 1990. The Allies maintained their occupation long after the fall of the Nazi regime, due to the threat of Soviet invasion and conquest of West Berlin, and by extension Western Europe.

Read more at Kohelet

More about: Gaza Strip, Gaza War 2023, International Law, Israeli Security