Wednesday, August 15, 2012
Middle East Non-Solutions
By Steven Plaut
The mantra crops up almost everywhere. "You Israelis must make a
choice between two alternatives," it goes. "You have two simple
choices. You can either annex all of the 'occupied territories' and
grant equal Israeli citizenship to all of the Palestinians there, in
which case Israel will no longer be a Jewish state. Or you can agree
to a two-state solution, in which Israel continues to exist alongside
a Palestinian Arab state. Simple. Make your choice!" The posing of
these two "choices" for Israel is part of the campaign to convince
Israelis that there is no alternative to the "Two-State Solution."
The first "alternative" is often dubbed these days the "One-State
Solution" by its anti-Israel advocates. Israel and its Jewish
population would be enfolded within a larger Arab-dominated Islamic
state. A better term for this is the "Rwanda Solution." It is
little more than a recipe for a second Holocaust of Jews, a Nazi-style
final solution, in which the Middle East conflict would end because
the Jewish population of the Middle East would be exterminated.
But the "Two State Solution" is little better. The creation of a
"Palestinian" state "alongside Israel" would not solve anything and
would not end the conflict. To the contrary, it would be the opening
round for a major escalation in the conflict and the launching of an
all-out war by "Palestine" against the rump Jewish state, a war in
which "Palestine" would be joined and backed by the entire Arab world
and much of the non-Arab Moslem world. Like rump Czechoslovakia after
Munich, the remaining Jewish mini-state would be the target for
aggression and irredentist belligerence, manifested in rocket and
missile attacks. The thousands of rockets that were fired at Sderot
and the Negev after the unilateral Israeli withdrawal from Gaza will
appear as a child's game by comparison.
Let us note that neither the "One State Solution" nor the "Two
State Solution" are solutions to the Middle East conflict. Neither
would resolve anything.
There is no Two State Solution, only a Two-State "solution."
There is also no such thing as a "One-State Solution," at least if one
means by that the granting of Israeli citizenship to all those
claiming to be "Palestinians." So how must Israelis respond to the
diktat that they choose either the one or the other? They must
answer NEITHER. The insistence that Israelis choose between these two
non-solutions is in fact nothing more than the newest manifestation of
anti-Israel aggression and bellicosity.
There is a real problem with the debate over "solutions" to the
Middle East conflict. The only way to resolve the Middle East
conflict is to stop the pointless quest for defining "solutions."
For more than 20 years everything that has gone wrong in the Middle
East was because of the search for "solutions" and is the ultimate
reason why the conflict has not been resolved.
Israelis cannot formulate and propose "solutions" to the Middle
East conflict for the exact same reason that the Western allies could
not have proposed or formulated any "solution" to the ambitions of
Germany in the late 1930s. No solution would have satisfied those
ambitions and none could have appeased Hitler. The quest in the 1930s
for "solutions" resulted in years of delay, during which Germany
re-armed and support for Hitler within Germany solidified. Similarly,
no "solution" could have prevented the assaults against Pearl Harbor,
Malaya, and the Philippines by Imperial Japan. The only solution to
those conflicts was Western victory.
"Solutions" are magical panaceas sought by lazy, shallow, and
impatient minds. No "solution" of any sort offered by Israel can
resolve the Middle East conflict because the Arab world has no
interest in seeing the conflict resolved.
The entire Oslo "peace process" initiated by Yitzhak Rabin and
Shimon Peres was based upon the belief that peace can be achieved by
pretending that war does not exist. Its axiom was that if the leaders
of Israel insist loudly enough that there is no war at all going on,
then there will be peace. Never mind what the Arabs are saying.
The Middle East conflict also has nothing to do with territory.
The Arab countries already control territory nearly twice that of the
United States (including Alaska), while Israel is smaller than New
Jersey. The architects of the "peace process" argued that possession
of territory twice the size of the US without the Everglades-sized
West Bank is a recipe for endless war, but if Israel just turns that
Everglades-size zone over to the "Palestinians," all will be peaceful.
22 sovereign Arab states have produced war and barbarism, but
creating a 23rd Arab state as a "Two-State Solution" will produce
No peace solution is possible with an adversary who has no interest
in making peace. And there is nothing that Israel can do, no package
of concessions and goodwill measures it can proffer, that will change
this fact. The 100% Israeli unilateral withdrawal from the Gaza Strip
produced the nazification of Gaza under a Hamas regime, along with
thousands of rockets being fired into Israel by Gazan terrorists.
There is not the slightest doubt that any erection of a "Palestinian
state" in the West Bank will result in far worse.
Now if Israelis refuse to embrace the above two pseudo-solutions,
insists the Left, then Israel will end up as an "apartheid regime."
One in which "Palestinian Arabs" live under endless Israeli
"occupation" and control, but without Israeli citizenship, without the
right to vote. It is always amusing to hear whining about the absence
of the Palestinian right to vote in Israeli elections, especially when
it comes from the very same people who do not care that Arabs have no
free elections anywhere else in the Middle East. And never mind that
Israel is the only country in the Middle East that is NOT an apartheid
regime. Essentially the insistence that Israel must choose one of the
two pseudo-solutions, or else it will morph into an "apartheid
regime," amounts to the belief that Israelis are better off allowing
their country to be annihilated rather than risk becoming the targets
In reality, the most productive way to seek to resolve the Middle
East is to take as the starting point the list of what is ruled out,
what must never be. No "solution" to the Middle East conflict is
possible if it involves creation of an Arab "Palestinian" state, and
none is possible if it involves "Palestinians" being granted Israeli
citizenship. BOTH of these nonstarters must be ruled out absolutely.
Once that is understood, any proposal based upon those two NEVERS can
be taken into consideration.
The immediately implication is that Israel must remain in the
West Bank, and the "Palestinian" population there will neither be
granted Israeli citizenship nor national sovereignty. The United
States occupied Okinawa for decades, and American national historic
and cultural roots did not originate in Okinawa. Indeed American
armed forces STILL fill that island. There is no time limit on how
long Israeli "occupation" can last, and the very word "occupation" is
actually a misnomer. In any case the Israeli presence in the West
Bank is sui generis and not comparable to any other case of
So if West Bank "Palestinians" will neither be granted Israeli
citizenship nor national sovereignty, what can they be offered? The
original "peace proposals" offered by Israel in the 1970s and 1980s
spoke about limited local autonomy. Had the Palestinians played their
cards right, they could have enjoyed as much freedom and prosperity
under local autonomy as do Puerto Rica, Guam, and American Samoa. But
the Israeli Labor Party lost patience with the idea after a few years
and decided to frog- leap to an instant "Two-State Solution." It
imported Yassir Arafat's stormtroopers into the suburbs of Tel Aviv
and Jerusalem, and proclaimed its "recognition" of the "Palestinian
There is indeed another "solution" for West Bank "Palestinians"
unhappy with the two NEVERS defining conflict resolution. They can
leave. There are those 22 sunny Arab states, plus lots of other
Moslem states, whither any unhappy West Bank "Palestinian" can move
and live amongst his kin. After all, Jews unhappy with life in
Argentina, France or Hungary do not demand the annihilation of those
countries but merely the right to move to Israel. The fact that the
"Palestinians" prefer Israeli "occupation" over blissful residence in
these alternative countries states volumes about just how badly
treated the "poor suffering Palestinians" really are.
The "Palestinians" find these constraints on their options
distasteful? Too bad! Part of adulthood means coming to terms with
the fact that, as in Mick Jagger's words, "You can't always get what
you want." What the "Palestinians" and their apologists want is the
annihilation of Israel and a second Holocaust of Jews.
And they are not going to get what they want.