The Devil is in the Implementation

Yossi Klein Halevi is a wonderful writer. I recommend his book Like Dreamers: The Story of the Israeli Paratroopers who Reunited Jerusalem and Divided a Nation to anyone who wants to appreciate the nuances of Israel’s political tribes.

But like many wonderful Israeli writers on such subjects, his brain is stuck.

It is stuck on the horns of the dilemma Micah Goodman calls Catch-67: if Israel tries to absorb all of Judea and Samaria, it will either have to undemocratically deny the franchise to the Arab population or become an unstable binational state (or both). But on the other hand, if Israel gives up Judea and Samaria, it will have to deal with a security nightmare in which terrorists will be in easy shooting range of Israel’s most populated regions. A Gaza times ten. Neither choice is acceptable. Stuck.

So how does he get unstuck? Like many Jewish intellectuals, he sees the demographic problem as worse than the security problem, and opts for partition. In a recent Wall Street Journal article (unfortunately behind a paywall) he argues that both sides have legitimate aspirations to possess all of the land; but although partition is unjust for both, it is the only practical solution.

I strongly disagree with him about the legitimacy of Palestinian aspirations (so does Yisrael Medad, here), but that isn’t what I want to discuss in this post. I want to look at one small piece of the issue that is a show-stopper for everyone that takes a similar pro-partition line: the question of implementation.

Halevi writes,

Like a majority of Israelis—though the numbers are dropping, according to the polls—I support the principle of a two-state solution, for Israel’s sake no less than for the Palestinians. Extricating ourselves from ruling over another people is a moral, political and demographic imperative. It is the only way to save Israel in the long term as both a Jewish and a democratic state—the two essential elements of our being. Partition is the only real alternative to a Yugoslavia-like single state in which two rival peoples devour each other.

But in order to take that frightening leap of territorial contraction—pulling back to the pre-1967 borders, when Israel was barely 9 miles wide at its narrowest point—we need some indication that a Palestinian state would be a peaceful neighbor, and not one more enemy on our doorstep. The practical expression of that goodwill would be Palestinian agreement that the descendants of the refugees of 1948 return to a Palestinian state and not to Israel, where they would threaten its Jewish majority.

We know, and Halevi notes, the depth of Palestinian hatred for Israel and that “the relentless message, conveyed to a new generation by media and schools and mosques, is that the Jews are thieves, with no historical roots in this land.” We know, from our experience with Gaza and South Lebanon, how easy it is for a terrorist organization like Hamas or Hezbollah to establish itself in areas from which Israel withdraws. We know that the geography of the Land of Israel, with the commanding high ground of Judea and Samaria makes a pre-1967 sized Israel almost indefensible.

No Palestinian leadership has ever indicated that it is prepared to give up the “right of return.” Indeed, this idea – that all of the land from the river to the sea has been unfairly taken from them – is the single essential ideological principle of Palestinian identity. Any Palestinian agreement to two-state plans has always been hedged as temporary, as in the PLO’s “phased plan” or Hamas’ proposal of a temporary truce. Palestinian leaders deny that there is a Jewish people, or that it has a historical connection to the land. This implies that there is a strong possibility that the Palestinian side will not negotiate in good faith or keep its side of the bargain.

There are perhaps 400,000 Israeli Jews residing in Judea and Samaria (excluding Jerusalem). Even with land swaps enabling the Jewish communities with the largest populations to remain in Israel, a partition which required Jews to leave the Palestinian parts of the country would require tens of thousands, perhaps more than a hundred thousand Jews to be resettled elsewhere. Leaving aside the manifest injustice of this, it’s clear that once done it is very difficult to undo.

When a concrete concession by one side – the withdrawal of soldiers and civilians, perhaps (as in the Sinai and Gaza) the physical destruction of communities – which is hard or impossible to undo is balanced against a paper commitment to be peaceful by the other, there is little cost to the latter side to renege on the agreement.

But let’s assume that there have been negotiations and both sides have signed an agreement to give up what they consider their historic rights: Israel’s right to settlement in all the Land of Israel, and the Palestinians’ right of return to Israel for the descendents of the refugees of 1948. Now here are a few questions:

  1. Once the IDF has withdrawn from Judea and Samaria and given control to the Palestinians, what happens if they violate their agreement to be a peaceful neighbor? Our experience during the Oslo period argues that they will not keep their word. How will the agreement be enforced? Will we be asked to depend on the UN or foreign powers? Or will Israel need to invade and retake the areas in yet another war? Neither of this options is acceptable.
  2. Sometimes even democratic Western nations don’t live up to agreements after administrations change (for example, consider the Obama Administration’s renegingon the promises in the Bush letters to Ariel Sharon). Autocratic leaders are even less likely to maintain commitments made by their predecessors. What guarantees that the next Palestinian “President” will observe the agreement? And what if, for example, a Fatah administration is replaced by a Hamas one, or even one aligned with the Islamic State or Iran? All of these things are possible.

So we have a one-sided agreement which is almost impossible to undo, with a party that historically does not negotiate in good faith or keep its commitments, whose basic identity opposes such an agreement, which has an unstable autocratic leadership, and which is prone to being overthrown by extremists.

One of the good things about Halevi’s piece is that he understands that any agreement between Israel and the Palestinians is not in the cards for the near future. There is too much extremism (“on both sides,” he says, but I think it is mostly on the Arab side). And he doesn’t think that “the status quo is not sustainable.” We’ve been sustaining it for 50 (or 70, if you prefer) years, and we can sustain it a bit longer. He seems to agree with Micah Goodman that there is no “solution” that can be implemented next week:

A deepening Israeli-Sunni strategic relationship could evolve into a political relationship, encouraging regional involvement in tempering if not yet solving the Palestinian conflict. One possible interim deal would be gradual Israeli concessions to the Palestinians—reversing the momentum of settlement expansion and strengthening the Palestinian economy—in exchange for gradual normalization with the Sunni world.

Unfortunately, this too is wishful thinking. Regardless of what the Sunni leaders would prefer, the Palestinians are moving in the direction of more extremism, not less. If they don’t get support from Saudi Arabia, they are happy to take it from Iran or Turkey. The Death Factory set in motion by Yasser Arafat maintains itself, and concessions by Israel just encourage it.

I believe that the Jewish state has a legal, moral and historical right to all of the Land of Israel that the Palestinians do not have (although they do have human rights and ought to have at least a limited right of self-determination). I have argued this at length elsewhere. But that’s not the point.

The point is that implementing partition of the Land of Israel would risk national suicide. There’s no rush. Perhaps the best “solution” is not to look for a political agreement, but just to keep the status quo with small modifications as needed. If you must have a program, there are other options than partition for an end game. So could we stop insisting on this one?

Originally Published in Abu Yehuda.


Why a Palestinian state would be a disaster for Israel and the region.

Howard Kohr, AIPAC’s (American-Israel Public Affairs Committee) CEO created a bit of an uproar among certain Jewish organizations when he stated at the AIPAC conference earlier this month that, “We must work toward that future: two states for two people. One Jewish with secure and defensible borders, and one Palestinian with its own flag and its own future.”  It was a reiteration of last year’s call on the U.S. administration to undertake steps that “Could create a climate that encourages the Palestinians to negotiate in pursuit of the goal we desire: a Jewish state of Israel living side by side in peace and security with a demilitarized Palestinian state.”

There is no question that Howard Kohr’s motives are pure and honorable in seeking a secure Israel alongside a peaceful and demilitarized Palestinian state.  Unfortunately reality dictates otherwise.  At the moment we actually have a need to solve more than a two-state question.  We have a third state question and that is the Hamas ruled Gaza Strip.  Hamas has vowed to fight until the liberation of all of Palestine and the destruction of Israel.  The Los Angeles Times reported (March 1, 2017), “In a shift, the new document (as it relates to the Hamas Covenant-JP), formally endorses the goal of establishing a Palestinian state in Gaza and the West Bank, with Jerusalem as its capital, as part of a ‘national consensus’ among Palestinians (this was during the reconciliation process with Fatah and the Palestinian Authority-JP).  While that may be a tacit acknowledgment of Israel’s existence, the revision stops well short of recognizing Israel, and reasserts calls for armed resistance toward a ‘complete liberation of Palestine’ from the river to the sea.”

The attempted assassination of the Palestinian Authority (PA) Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah earlier this month in Gaza, put a stop to the reconciliation efforts between Hamas and the PA, which is dominated by Fatah.  Fatah spokesperson and Revolutionary Council member, Osama al-Qawasmi said, “Hamas is fully responsible for this cowardly operation that targeted the homeland, reconciliation, and unity. This cowardly act is outside of our values and national relations, and has repercussions.”  It is clear that even if PA President Mahmoud Abbas should return to the negotiating table, and that is doubtful, Hamas will continue its campaign of terror against Israel.  Hamas is unwilling to give up control of its arms, its rockets, or its mortars, to the PA.

In December, 1998, President Bill Clinton responded to Arafat’s letter.  He thanked Arafat for the move in January of the same year, which allegedly struck out and amended the call in the Palestinian Charter for the destruction of Israel, by the raised arms verbal vote of the Palestinian National Council (PNC).  The Palestinian Charter specifies in Clause 33 as amended in 1968, that the charter can only be changed if 2/3rds of its membership met to vote on the change.  This did not occur.  It is abundantly clear that the PA is still committed to the destruction of Israel, albeit, without openly using the extremist verbiage that Hamas is using.  The continued incitement to violence and terror by Mahmoud Abbas, and the entire educational and informational apparatus of the PA that advocates hatred for Jews and Israel, negates the idea of a peaceful Palestinian state living side by side with the Jewish state of Israel.

The idea that a future Palestinian state would adhere to being a “demilitarized state” is totally unrealistic, especially if we consider the history and nature of Arab regimes. Louis Rene Beres, Emeritus Professor of International Law, has pointed out that even “If the government of a fully sovereign Palestinian state were in fact willing to consider itself bound by some pre-state agreement to demilitarize, in these improbable circumstances, the new Palestinian Arab government could likely identify ample pretext and opportunity to invoke lawful ‘treaty’ termination.

Palestine could withdraw from any such agreement because of what it would regard as a ‘material breach,’ a purported violation by Israel, one that had allegedly undermined the object or purpose of the accord.  It could also point to what international law calls Rebus sic stantibus: permissible abrogation,’ known more popularly as a ‘fundamental change of circumstances.’  If Palestine should declare itself vulnerable to previously unseen dangers, perhaps even from interventionary forces, or the forces of other Arab armies or insurgencies that it could claim might be trying to occupy it, it could lawfully end its previously codified commitment to stay demilitarized.

There is another reason why any hopes for Palestinian demilitarization must remain unsupportable. After declaring independence, a Palestinian government — any Palestinian government – could point to particular pre-independence errors of fact, or to duress, as appropriate grounds for invoking selective agreement termination. In this regard, the grounds that may be invoked under domestic law to invalidate contracts could also apply under international law, whether to actual treaties, or, as in this particular case, to lesser treaty-like agreements.”

Professor Beres pointed out that according to the ‘Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties’ (1969), an authentic treaty must always be between states.”  Beres argues that “any treaty or treaty-like compact is void if, at the time of its entry into force it conflicts with a ‘peremptory’ rule of international law — that is, one from which ‘no derogation is permitted.’ As the right of sovereign states to maintain military forces for self-defense is always such a rule, Palestine would be within its lawful right to abrogate any pre-independence agreement that had (impermissibly) compelled its own demilitarization.

The “2005 Gaza experience,” of unilateral withdrawal from Gaza, has taught Israel a painful lesson.  Once it vacates land it will ultimately become a base for terror attacks against its cities and citizens.  With Israel’s major cities within rifle fire of a Palestinian state, not to mention rockets, life inside Israel would become impossible.  Palestinian terror attacks and Israel’s retaliation will serve as an excuse for the future state of Palestine to discard demilitarization.  International guarantees, even by its closest allies won’t have any meaning. Israel learned this lesson following the Sinai Campaign of 1956.  The Maritime powers guarantees (including the U.S.) didn’t prevent Egypt’s dictator, Abdul Nasser, from closing the Straits of Tiran and the Suez Canal to Israeli navigation. The International community did nothing.

A one-state solution in which Israel would absorb about two-million Palestinians as its citizens is not an ideal solution either.  It isn’t so much the demographic threat that it once was, but rather a threat to peace within the country, where two cultures are in conflict.  Perhaps the ideal solution is for the Kingdom of Jordan to federate with the West Bank Palestinians.  Israel would annex area C under the Oslo Accords, where most of the 500,000 Jews live, and the Jordan River would serve as the international border between Israel and Jordan, which would insure Israel’s security.  The Palestinian-Arabs will have a flag (the Jordanian and Palestinian flags are almost identical), a representation in the federated government, possibly a Palestinian Prime Minister (Jordan’s population is already 70% Palestinians), an outlet to the sea (Aqaba if not Gaza) and total religious homogeneity (Sunni-Islam).

Under normal circumstances many Israelis, much like Howard Kohr, would prefer a two-state solution.  But the realities in the Middle East indicate that another authoritarian state (and most likely terrorist state) won’t contribute to stability or peace in the region.  On the contrary, it would serve as a focal point of conflict.  Perhaps in the next few generation things might change, but for now a Palestinian state would be a disaster for Israel and the region.

Originally Published in FrontPageMag.

Why Does AIPAC Still Support Palestine?

Either AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee) didn’t get the memo on the Trump administration’s shift in policy for Israel and the non-existant Palestine or it simply doesn’t care.

The above clip featuring AIPAC CEO Howard Kohr has him clearly stating his support for “Palestine.”

“We must all work toward that future: two states for two peoples,” said Kohr. “One Jewish with secure and defensible borders, and one Palestinian with its own flag and its own future. Today that dream seems remote. This is tragic.”

This sort of line would be understandable during the Obama administration, when Israel’s rightwing government had to pay lip service to the two-state solution, but now with Trump’s moves in the region, other alternatives have been acknowledged to be on the table.

So why is Howard Kohr stating this?  His statements appear to be in contradiction to the shift in both the US government and Israel? Afterall, AIPAC only came out in support for Sharon’s Gush Katif evacuation after tremendous pressure from Sharon himself.  AIPAC is only supposed to push for the stated interests of the people of Israel through its elected officials, not its own.

AIPAC has been headed by Howard Kohr since 1996.  He has navigated various administrations and has been known to standup to various Presidents. In 2012 he seemingly took on Obama as noted by the Washington Post here.

So why is he still toting the two-state line? Kohr himself is seemingly not the issue, but rather the outsized influence AIPAC’s board and delegates have.  These people found themselves part of AIPAC at a time when both Democrats and Republicans saw eye to eye on Israel.  The push for a two-state solution and rising support for “Palestine” among Jewish Democrats has in a sense forced Howard Kohr to somewhat moderate his positions.

Ultimately, AIPAC itself is not what it used to be.  More about tradition than anything else, AIPAC’s role has become secondary to the growing chemistry between Trump and Netanyahu as well as the direct influence of Christian Zionist leaders on individuals in congress.

AIPAC’s board and delegates have been so used to the two-state paradigm, their ability to recognize its collapse has been subsequently diminished.  What needs to happen now by nationalists in Israel is a serious reeducation process to help American supporters of Israel, especially Jewish Americans understand the alternative to the two-state solution before its inevitable collapse.

The Humanitarian Paradigm – Hobson’s Choice for Israel (Part II)

y rigorous process of elimination, we are left with the Humanitarian Paradigm, as the only possible policy prescription able to adequately address the imperatives needed to preserve Israel as the nation state of Jews.

O, who can hold a fire in his hand; By thinking on the frosty Caucasus?

Or cloy the hungry edge of appetite; By bare imagination of a feast?

Or wallow naked in December snow; By thinking on fantastic summer’s heat?

– William Shakespeare,  in Richard II, Act1 Scene 3, on the futility of self-deception

There is nothing more deceptive than an obvious fact. Sherlock Holmes, “The Boscombe Valley Mystery

Last week I began  a two-part analysis of the policy paradigms that have emerged in the public discourse for dealing with the more-than-century old dispute between Jews and Arabs over control of the Holy Land as the conflict approaches its third post-Oslo decade.

In it, I identified four such archetypical paradigms for its resolution—and one for its “management” (a.k.a. its perpetuation). Moreover, I undertook to demonstrate that only one of these alternatives, the Humanitarian Paradigm, advocating funded emigration of the Arab residents of Judea-Samaria (and eventually Gaza)—is consistent with the long-term survival of Israel as the nation-state of the Jews. Accordingly, for those dedicated to the preservation of the Zionist ideal, it is nothing less than “Hobson’s choice”.

To recap briefly

Readers will recall that I confined the analysis last week to those policy proposals that eschew full or partial Israeli annexation of territory, deferring analysis of those that endorse such annexation for this week’s discussion.

To recap briefly: In the aforementioned prior analysis I dealt with the (a) idea of “managing the conflict” and (b) the two-state formula.

As for the former, it was shown to reflect disregard for the fact that, without appropriate decisive proactive initiatives, Israel is facing a growing threat and decreasing freedom to deal with it.   Accordingly, “managing the conflict” is little more than a pretext for backing away from confrontations in which Israel can prevail, while backing into a confrontation in which Israel might not prevail—or do so only at ruinous cost.

As for the latter, it has shown to be a fatally flawed formula, devoid of any sound theoretical foundation or empirical evidence on which to base its naïve prognoses for resolving the conflict by means of Palestinian statehood. Indeed, given the past precedents, there is little reason to believe—and  two-state proponents have never provided one—that any future Palestinian state will not rapidly become a mega-Gaza on the fringes of Greater Tel Aviv, precipitating all the harrowing realities, wrought on the hapless residents of the South on those of the coastal megalopolis.

So having dealt with the policy paradigms that eschew annexation– whether full or partial–it is now time to assess those that endorse it.

One-state: Lebanonization of Israeli society

Some pundits on the Israeli “Right,” keenly aware of the infeasibility of the two-state paradigm, have in large measure adopted—albeit for very different reasons—a prescription very similar to that touted by their radical Left-wing adversaries—that of a single state stretching from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea.

According to this proposal, Israel should extend its sovereignty over the entire area of Judea-Samaria and offer immediate permanent residency to all its Palestinian-Arab residents, as well as the right to apply for citizenship at some undefined date, via some undefined process to ascertain loyalty—or at least the absence of disloyalty—to Israel as the Jewish nation state.  

The rationale, allegedly underpinning this ill-conceived proposal, is the new, optimistic demographic assessments suggesting that even if Israel were to enfranchise the Muslim population of Judea-Samaria, it would still retain a more than 60% Jewish majority.

Even conceding that this may be true, such a measure is likely to herald disaster for the Zionist enterprise and the future of Israel as the nation-state of the Jews. For the initial electoral arithmetic is hardly the defining factor in assessing the prudence of this approach, but rather the devastating effect it will have on the socio-economic fabric of the country and the impact this will have on preserving Israel as a desired/desirable place of residence for Jews inside and outside the country.

It would take considerable—and unsubstantiated—faith to entertain the belief that Israel could sustain itself as a Jewish nation-state with a massive Muslim minority of almost 40% – as the societal havoc that far smaller proportions have wrought in Europe indicate.

Indeed this is a clear recipe for the Lebanonization of Israeli society with all the inter-ethnic strife that tore Israel’s unfortunate northern neighbor apart.

Lebanonization of Israel (cont.)

Any forlorn hope that life under Israeli sovereignty will somehow “domesticate” the Palestinian-Arabs into reconciling themselves to life in the Jewish nation-state should have been well and truly dashed by the behavior of Israel’s Arab citizens.

After all, despite living (and prospering) for seven decades under Israeli sovereignty—and more than  a half-century after military rule over the Arab population was abolished—they not only voted, almost en-bloc, for the vehemently anti-Zionist “Joint List” in the 2015 elections, but displayed great empathy in a mass funeral for the terrorists, from the Israeli town of Um-al Fahm, who murdered two Israeli police officers on the Temple Mount.

Once the Arab population of Judea-Samaria becomes incorporated into Israel’s permanent population, at least two crucial elements of national life are almost certain to be dramatically—and in Zionist-compliant terms, negatively –impacted.  The one is the distribution of national resources; the other is population flows into, and out of, the country.
With regard to the former, clearly once the Arab residents of Judea and Samaria—whether enfranchised or not—become incorporated into the country’s permanent population, Israel will not be able to afford the kind of socio-economic disparities that prevail between the pre- and post-annexation segments of the population.

Accordingly, huge budget resources will have to be diverted to reduce these disparities – siphoning off funds currently spent on the Jewish population (and Israeli Arabs) in terms of welfare, medical care, infrastructure, education and so on.

Indeed, if enfranchisement (eventual or immediate) is envisaged, the electoral potential of the Arab sector is liable to be elevated from its current 13-15 seats in parliament to 25-30.  This will not only hugely bolster its ability to demand enhanced budgetary allotments, but also make it virtually impossible to form a governing coalition without their endorsement.

Moreover, collaboration   on various ad hoc parliamentary initiatives with radical Jewish left-wing factions is likely to nullify any formal calculations of an ostensible “Jewish majority”, and lead to legislative enterprises that ultra-Zionist proponents of annexation would strongly oppose – in an ironic manifestation of unintended consequences.

Partial Annexation: The Balkanization of Israel

Thus, while full annexation of Judea-Samaria will almost inevitably result in the Lebanonization of Israel—i.e.  create a single society, so fractured by interethnic strife that it would be untenable as the nation- state of the Jewish people; proposals for the partial annexation of Judea-Samaria will result in the Balkanization of Israel –  (i.e. dividing the territory up into disconnected autonomous enclaves, which will be recalcitrant, rivalrous and rejectionist, creating an ungovernable reality for Israel.)

Proposals for partial annexation appear to be fueled by (a) concern that total annexation would be too drastic a step for the international community to “swallow”, and (b) a sense that some semblance of self-rule must be facilitated for the Arabs resident in Judea and Samaria. As will be shown, partial annexation will address neither of these issues effectively. Indeed quite the opposite is true.

Proposals for partial annexation are commonly of two types:  Those that prescribe including  selected areas of Judea-Samaria under Israeli sovereignty   (such as Area C as advanced by Education Minister Naftali Bennett) ; and those that prescribe excluding certain selected areas from Israeli sovereignty such as the large urban centers in  Judea-Samaria (such as advanced by Dr. Mordechai Kedar in his “Emirates” plan)

Sadly, neither of these paradigms will solve any of the diplomatic or security problems Israel faces today, and will in fact exacerbate many.

The Balkanization of Israel (cont)

It is hardly necessary to go into the intricate details of the individual proposals for partial annexation to grasp how impractical they really are.

For whatever the configuration of the un-annexed areas left to Arab administration –whether the disconnected enclaves of Areas A and B, or the micro-mini “city states”—they will leave the sovereign territory of Israel with dauntingly long and contorted frontiers, making it almost impossible to delineate and secure. Clearly if one cannot effectively demarcate and secure one’s sovereign territory, there is little meaning to one’s sovereign authority over that territory.  

Although Haaretz is not my preferred source of reference, I find it difficult to disagree with the following assessment of Bennett’s plan for annexing Area C:

“… Bennett’s plan is groundless from the security, diplomatic, legal and, especially, physical angles. It’s easy to discern that, contrary to what was presented in a video produced by Bennett’s…party recently, Areas A and B in the West Bank are not contiguous blocs, spreading over 40 percent of the West Bank. Instead, they consist of no less than 169 Palestinian blocs and communities, cut off from one another by innumerable Israeli corridors and unused IDF firing zones that are together defined as Area C”.

It correctly pointed out: “… in fact, Bennett is proposing to increase the length of the Israeli border from 313 kilometers to 1,800 kilometers (194 to 1,118 miles). If [one] believe[s] Bennett, he will doubtless back the dismantling of the security barrier that Israel has built to the tune of 15 billion shekels ($3.9 billion), but [one] will have to accept that annexing Area C means Israel will have to build a barrier along the new border at the cost of 27 billion shekels and allocate another 4 billion shekels per year for maintenance purposes.”

Partial Annexation: Full political price

Similar criticism can be leveled at Kedar’s proposal for setting up an array of up to eight micro-mini “emirates” or city states.  It is not difficult to envisage the problems of future expansion beyond the highly constricted confines of disconnected enclaves, and of the need to severely curtail the authority of the local administration to deal with cross border issues such as pollution (particularly the carcinogenic emissions of the wide spread charcoal industry), sewage, pollution  from  industrial effluents, agricultural run-off, transmissible diseases and so on.   

Of course, any hopes that partial annexation, which entails extending Israeli sovereignty over about 65-75% of the territory, leaving the Palestinian-Arabs with an emasculated  25-30%, in a quilted patchwork of disconnected enclaves and corridors, will in any way diminish  international censure, are utterly unfounded. The political “pain” involved in such schemes would be no less than annexing 100% of the territory—without having to deal with the attendant chronic problems associated with partial annexation (as detailed above).   

Fanciful suggestions  that Nablus and Hebron might flourish into entities like Monaco and Luxembourg are as risible as those which, in the heady days of Oslo, predicted that Gaza would become the Hong Kong of the Mid East—and would be rightfully rejected as such.

Humanitarian Paradigm: Hobson’s choice

Even from the far-from-exhaustive analysis conducted over the last two weeks, it should be clear that an indisputable picture emerges as to the Zionist-compliant feasibility of the various policy paradigms proposed for dealing with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.


– The attempt to manage the conflict is little more than a formula for backing away from confrontations in which Israel can prevail, while backing into a confrontation in which Israel might not prevail—or may do so only at ruinous cost.

– The two-state paradigm will almost inevitably result in the establishment of a yet another homophobic, misogynistic, Muslim-majority tyranny, which will rapidly become a mega-Gaza on the fringes of Greater Tel Aviv, menacing the socio-economic routine in the commercial hub of the country.

-Full annexation of Judea-Samaria together with the Arab population will result in the Lebanonization of Israeli society and thrust the country into ruinous inter-ethnic strife that will imperil it status as the nation-state of the Jewish people.

– Partial annexation of Judea-Samaria will result in the Balkanization of Israel, dividing the territory up into disconnected, rivalrous, recalcitrant and unsustainable autonomous enclaves, which will create an ungovernable reality for Israel.

Thus, by a rigorous process of deductive elimination we are left with the Humanitarian Paradigm, advocating funded emigration for non-belligerent Palestinian-Arabs to third party countries, as the only possible paradigm that can adequately address both the geographic and demographic imperatives needed to preserve Israel as the nation state of Jews.

As such, for Zionists, it is Hobson’s choice. Anything else is self-deception.


It can’t be dead because it never lived.

“Is the two-state solution dead?”

The two-state solution, a perverse euphemism for carving an Islamic terror state out of the land of Israel and the living flesh of her people, is in trouble. The solution, which has solved nothing except the shortage of graves in Israel and Muslim terrorists in the Middle East, is the object of grave concern by the professionally concerned from Foggy Bottom to Fifth Avenue.

Obama set up his betrayal of Israel at the UN to “save” the two-state solution from Trump. The media warns that David Friedman, Trump’s pick for ambassador, is so pro-Israel that he’ll kill the “solution.”

But you can’t kill something that was never alive.

The two-state solution is a zombie. It can’t be dead because it never lived. It was a rotting shambling corpse of a diplomatic process. If you stood downwind of the proceedings, it looked alive.

Up close there was only blood and death.

Like the Holy Roman Empire, the two-state solution didn’t solve anything and it wasn’t in the business of creating two states. Not unless you count a Hamas state in Gaza and a Fatah state in the West Bank.

What problem was the two-state solution solving?

It wasn’t the problem of terrorism. Turning over land, weapons and power to a bunch of terrorists made for more terrorism. It’s no coincidence that Islamic terrorism worldwide shot up around the same time.

The consequences of giving terrorists their own country to play with were as predictable as taking a power drill to the bottom of a boat or running a toaster in a bubble bath. The least likely outcome of handing guns to homicidal sociopaths was peace. The most likely was murder. And that was as intended.

The problem that the two-state solution was solving was the existence of Israel; the Jewish Problem.

Spray the two-state solution over an irritating country full of Jews who managed to survive multiple Muslim genocides. Apply and wait for as long as it takes until the Jewish Problem is solved again.

The two-state solution didn’t end the violence. It turned it up to eleven. It didn’t even create a Palestinian state. But it did a moderately decent job of solving the Jewish Problem by killing Jews.

It killed thousands of them. It filled cemeteries, ethnically cleansed towns and villages, and brought war to Jerusalem and Tel Aviv for the first time in a generation. It turned terror from an aberration into a routine. It made death into a way of life for the Muslim population controlled by the terrorists and the Jewish population targeted by them. It endangered the existence of Israel for the first time since 1973.

The two-state solution isn’t dead. It is death.

The “solution” has turned children into orphans and left parents weeping at the graves of their daughters. It has sown hilltops with dragon’s teeth of rockets and sent cities fleeing to bomb shelters. It has ushered in an endless age of wars against terrorists who can’t be utterly defeated because that would destroy the two-state solution.

And it can’t get any better. Only worse.

Death is the only thing that the two-state solution has ever accomplished. That’s the only thing that it was meant to accomplish. It’s all that it will ever accomplish.

The two-state solution is a zombie. Its existence has no purpose except death. As long as it goes on moving, it will go on destroying. But, like a zombie, the two-state solution is weak. It’s a slow and shambling thing. It’s absurdly easy to escape it. The only way it can catch you is if you let it.

In the nineties, the two-state solution looked like a living thing. There were negotiations and big plans. There were ceremonies and Nobel prizes being handed out like party favors. There were equally big bombings and mangled body parts smeared along sidewalks and storefronts. But it was easier to listen to another round of peace songs and pay no attention to the ghastly carnage.

But by the oughts, the Muslim settler population in ’67 Israel, for whose benefit the two-state solution had been crafted, made the same “democratic” decision that the Egyptians and other Arab Spring countries would later make. They chose the Muslim Brotherhood and the Islamic law that demands that non-Muslims must surrender and be ruled by Muslims as before. Or be massacred and subjugated.

And then the zombie solution began to rot from the head.

The two-state solution was kept alive by pretending that Hamas had never won. An illegal takeover by Fatah, the “good” Islamic terrorists who were willing to pretend to negotiate in exchange for enough foreign aid from the United States, led to two Islamic terror states, one in Gaza and one in the West Bank. These states occasionally tried to form a united government, but couldn’t even get along with each other. Never mind getting along with Israel.

The two-state solution had become a ghoulish joke.

Some two-state solutionists urged embracing Hamas. A crazed collection of leftist activist “Rabbis” even signed a petition calling for outreach to the Muslim Brotherhood terror state despite a charter which called for exterminating all the Jews. Kerry aided a Code Pink mission to Hamas.

Most two-state solutionists decided to pretend that nothing had gone wrong. The zombie solution was in the best of health. Pay no attention to the stench of decay and the way it keeps trying to eat you.

They wanted to strengthen the “good” Islamic terror state in the West Bank to discredit the “bad” Islamic terror state in Gaza. Anyone who opposed the “good” terror state was accused of trying to kill the “two-state solution” which had already killed more people than the average natural disaster.

But then the “good” terror state stopped even pretending to negotiate.

Since the terrorists wouldn’t negotiate, Obama and Kerry just propped up the corpse of the two-state solution on their shoulders, Weekend at Bernie’s style, and tried to pretend it was still alive by negotiating with Israel on behalf of the terrorists without telling either Israel or the terrorists.

But the “good” terrorists rejected the unsolicited deal that Obama and Kerry got for them.

Obama and Kerry solved that problem the way that the solutionists had been solving it for decades. They blamed Israel. The insane logic of the two-state solution demanded it.

An Islamic terror state is the “solution” offered by the two-state solution. If you blame the terrorists, you undermine the credibility of the solution. If you admit the terrorists don’t even want to negotiate, you kill the two-state solution. And then how will you justify destroying Israel?

The great two-state solution began incrementally with an autonomous territory of disarmed terrorists. This fantasy led to a two-state solution of heavily armed terrorists inside Israel. The next stage is a one-state solution in which Israel will be forced to take in every single Muslim claiming to be a refugee.

And you can’t get from one stage to the next without blaming Israel when the previous stage fails. As it was always intended to. Each planned failure advances a more extreme incarnation of the “solution”.

All the way up to the final solution.

Each failure has to be blamed on Israel to justify an even more extreme solution. Each attack on Israel, like Obama’s UN treachery, is justified as a defense of the two-state solution. As long as the lie that the two-state solution is a pro-Israel policy lives, it can be weaponized as a pro-Israel attack on Israel.

In its terminal stage, the solution zombie will kill Israel and then die. Unless we kill it first.

The two-state solution hasn’t solved anything. It is the problem. And now it’s time to solve the problem of the two-state solution. Like the rest of the Jihad, the two-state solution is not a potent threat. It is a lie that we have become too weak to resist.

Lies die when we see them for what they are.

Like the old Monty Python bit, the two-state solution is a dead parrot. The shopkeepers of the press who keep trying to sell us its stiff unmoving body insist that the peace process is just pining for the Norwegian fjords of the Oslo peace accords. Feed it some more of Israel and it’ll fly back to life.

It’s never worked before, but there’s always an Nth time.

Lies are zombies. They are mimicries of the truth that feed off what we wish to be true.

The two-state solution is a parasite that thrives by feeding off our hopes and fears, our optimism on the one hand and our inability to imagine an alternative on the other. When we see the lie for what it is, when we turn our hopes and fears to sustaining what we truly care about, then it will fall.

Real solutions, such as Caroline Glick’s Israeli Solution, already exist.

The two-state solution however never existed. There will only be one state in Israel. The question is whether it will be a Jewish State or an Islamic terror state.

Originally published in FrontPageMag.

Who Has the Moral High Ground?

(Originally published on Arutz Sheva)

As many of you know I have long been promoting an alternative Humanitarian Paradigm, to replace the failed Two-States-for-Two-People (TSS), that has dominated the discourse for decades.  This alternative paradigm involves the funded relocation and rehabilitation of the Palestinian-Arabs living beyond the 1967-Green Line, in third party countries.

Putting aside the question of feasibility for the moment I should like to focus on the relative morality of the two paradigms. (After almost a quarter-century of failed endeavors to implement it, the TSS has proved itself a fatally unfeasible fiasco.   It certainly can claim little advantage in terms of feasibility over an alternative that is based on the eminently plausible proposal that economically hard-pressed individuals will accept a generous financial grant to enhance their economic well-being).

So in answer to the numerous critics, who have excoriated the Humanitarian Alternative, allegedly on “moral” grounds, I suggest reflection on the following question:


Those who promote the establishment of (yet another) homophobic, misogynistic Muslim-majority tyranny, which will comprise the diametric opposite and utter negation of the very values its advocates invoke for its establishment – and whose hallmark would be: gender discrimination, gay persecution, religious intolerance and oppression of political dissidents?


Those who advocate providing non-belligerent Palestinian individuals with the opportunity of building a better life for themselves elsewhere, out of harm’s way,  free from the recurring cycles of death, destruction and destitution that have been brought down on them by the cruel corrupt cliques, who have controlled their lives and led them astray for decades?

Why does promoting the former make one “moderate and liberal”; while advocating the latter, makes one a …“right wing extremist “?

 Moreover, why is it considered morally acceptable to offer financial inducements to Jews in Judea-Samaria to evacuate their homes in order to facilitate  the establishment of said homophobic, misogynistic tyranny, which, almost certainly, will become a bastion for Islamist terror; while it considered morally reprehensible to offer financial inducements to Arabs in Judea-Samaria to evacuate their homes in order to prevent the establishment of such an entity?


I have decided to take a break from writing my weekly column to catch up on some much neglected administrative tasks and to reflect on the possible restructuring of my future pro-Israel activities.  I am coming to the conclusion that my current mode of operations rapidly exhausting its potential and is beginning to yield diminishing returns on effort invested.  Involving very long hours, seven days a week (apologies to my observant readers) virtually all pro-bono, it is certainly becoming very onerous for me both in terms of my economic, and apparently, health situation.

Faced with an unsympathetic and uncooperative Establishment, on the one hand (even the relatively likeminded portions thereof), and heavily funded ideological adversaries, on the other, it is becoming increasingly difficult to effectively drive our message home—no matter how much thought is invested in its argumentation, and effort in its formulation.

Accordingly without the ability to harness greater resources to enhance the impact presently being made, serious doubts must be raised as to the efficacy of continuing in the current format.

I am working on a few ideas in this regard, which I will share with you in the near future and most probably request your involvement/participation.


Further to my recent article on the Israel-Turkey deal:

FORMULA FOR STABILITY: TURKEY PLUS ISRAEL by  Çevik Bir and Martin Sherman (2002)

This is an article advocating strong Turco-Israeli ties that I co-authored with General Çevik Bir, former deputy chief of staff of the Turkish armed forces from 1995 to 1998, who negotiated several landmark Israeli-Turkish military agreements.

Sadly nothing that was relevant then is relevant today.  Apart from its geographical location and size, nothing in Turkey is as it was then.

To underscore the dramatic metamorphosis: It was Bir’s military, who arrested Erdogan in 1998 for “inciting hatred based on religious differences”, while about 14 years later, Bir, arguably the major architect of Israeli-Turkish ties, was arrested by the Erdogan regime for “overthrowing the Turkish government [of Islamist Necmettin Erbakan] by force”

See also NYT lead story on Turkey (July 4, 2016).

Hardly reassuring!!

Two-statism – The slim chance of success; the grim cost of failure

… in our founding statement [we announced] that we would be artisans and partisans of the two-state solution. We adamantly refuse to drift with those who through a failure of nerve, a lack of political seriousness or a sectarian maximalist agenda are exiting the paradigm of two states for two peoples. – The editors, Spring 2016 edition of Fathom magazine, published by BICOM (Britain Israel Communications and Research Center)

…I swear that if we had a nuke, we’d have used it this very morning. – Jibril Rajoub, deputy secretary of the Fatah Central Committee, to Lebanon’s Al-Mayadeen TV channel, April 30, 2013.

Fanaticism consists of redoubling your efforts when you have forgotten your aim – George Santayana, Life of Reason, 1905

As readers will recall, last week I took issue with the editor of Fathom magazine, Alan Johnson, who decided to withdraw an invitation for me to submit an essay because of my position on how Israel should deal with the predicament it faces regarding the Palestinian-Arabs – i.e. by providing the non-belligerent population the chance of building a better life elsewhere out of harm’s way in third countries, by means of generous relocations/rehabilitation grants.

Political prudence & moral merit

To be more precise, what Johnson took umbrage at was the harsh response he inferred I would prescribe, should, for some reason, the generous relocation grants offered the Palestinian- Arabs be rejected. True, if the initial package of incentives for leaving/ disincentive for staying is not effective, then measures may well have to be taken to make the former more tempting and the latter more daunting. This admission seemingly horrified Johnson’s delicate sensibilities, deeming my policy proposal a blueprint for “starving the Palestinians out of the West Bank.”

However, as I pointed out last week, Johnson, and two-staters in general, while challenging proponents of alternative paradigms to provide and justify an acceptable “Plan B,” should their original intentions not be fulfilled, feel little obligation to do the same themselves.

This is of course entirely inappropriate.

After all, given the inherent uncertainty of the political decision-making environment, when assessing the practical prudence and/ or moral merit of any course of action, apart from the desired outcomes the policy is designed to attain, two additional factors should be appraised: the chances of success and the cost of failure.

No matter how enticing the projected outcomes a given policy might be, if the chances of attaining them are remote and/or the cost of failing to do so is exorbitant, political prudence and moral merit may well dictate abandoning it, and compel a search for more plausible and less hazardous alternatives.

Exasperating pigheadedness; infuriating arrogance

Yet this is a calculus that two-staters never seem to undertake – nor feel any need to. As I have emphasized several times in the past, despite the fact that the two-state dogma has been regularly and repeatedly disproven, somehow it has never been discarded or even significantly discredited. Impervious to reason and reality, two-staters cling, with exasperating pigheadedness and infuriating arrogance, to a political credo that has wrought untold tragedy to Jew and Arab alike.

The obdurate refusal of two-staters to admit any possibility of error, or even to concede that such possibility exists, reveals more than a hint of ideological fanaticism and intellectual dishonesty.

After all, if Johnson and other two-staters were compelled to consider the realities that foisting statehood on the Palestinian-Arabs might precipitate, they would rapidly realize that these would be far more cataclysmic than those that would result from an initial rejection of relocation grants, and the responses called for to contend with them, far more drastic.

As I suggested last week – and promised to elaborate on this week – “my proposed Humanitarian Paradigm for the resolution of the Palestinian predicament will be the most humane of all currently debated options if it succeeds, and result in the least inhumane realities, if it does not.”

But more than that, for many Palestinians it would provide a solution for precisely the predicament the ill-fated two-state endeavor has created for them.

The ravages of two-statism

After all, for many, the ravages of two-statism are no longer a matter of speculation, but of empirical fact. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the place where the ill-conceived enterprise began almost a quarter-century ago: Gaza, the scene of tumultuous jubilation at the triumphant arrival of Yasser Arafat in the summer of 1994.

Compare and contrast the giddy euphoria of then with the dismal despair of now. It is despair that is, demonstrably and indisputably, the direct consequence of the attempt to establish Palestinian self-determination in the Gaza Strip – despite massive international financial aid and political support.

Ironically, for many Gazans, beset by devastating unemployment, awash in flows of raw sewage and under the yoke of theocratic tyranny, the most immediate desire is to leave.

If we are to believe the ever-more frequent reports from Arab and left-leaning sources, generous grants to facilitate their emigration would be no less than a blessed fulfillment of their most fervent dreams.

This is not difficult to understand, since more than a decade after Israel evacuated Gaza, it has become an unsustainable entity, with over 45 percent of the workforce unemployed and 80% of the population dependent on foreign aid.

Gaza ‘uninhabitable’ by 2020?

Even the most doctrinaire advocates of two-statism such as Gershon Baskin was recently forced to confess: “The internal conflict between Gaza and the West Bank is not close to resolution. Gaza remains in ruins with nearly two million people living in total poverty. A majority of Gazans would leave if they had any place to go. (Jerusalem Post, March 2) This assessment echoes those of numerous other sources.

For example, a report published (September 2015) by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development warned that Gaza could become uninhabitable by the end of the decade. Al Monitor (September 24, 2015) in a post headlined “Gazans consider the Strip ‘uninhabitable’ now,” cited the predicament of a mother of five from Beit Hanun in the north of the Gaza Strip, who admitted, “I always think about emigrating, and I am constantly looking for a safe place for my family and myself.”

In similar vein, Electronic Intifada (October 2014), not normally my preferred source of information, in a scathing, dismissive critique of the reconstruction efforts, lamented: “Young Palestinians in Gaza, facing unemployment rates as high as 60%, have lost hope and are putting their lives in the hands of smugglers in a bid to reach Europe and a future.”

Fleeing despair and desperation

Thus, well before the current wave of Muslim migrants engulfed Europe, the lengths some Gazans are prepared to go to extricate themselves from the fruits of the unfortunate two-state experiment are vividly conveyed in several media outlets.

Thus, Haaretz quoted one Gaza resident as declaring: “It’s better to die at sea than to die of despair and frustration in Gaza.”

An Al Jazeera article, headlined, “Palestinian Migrants Fleeing Gaza Strip Drown in Mediterranean Sea,” described how Gazans increasingly turn to smugglers to escape economic privation and deadly conflict. The New York Times wrote of Gazans “Fleeing Gaza, only to face treachery and disaster at sea,” and Ynet reported that “Scores of Gazans die at sea in attempt to flee…”

Now, imagine that an orderly mechanism had been established to help nonbelligerent Gazans extricate themselves from the clutches of the cruel, corrupt cliques that have (mis) led them, time and time again, into penury and disaster, and provide them the resources to build a better life for themselves and their families elsewhere, not as penniless refugees but as relatively affluent immigrants? Surely that is a far more humane approach than insisting they remain tethered to tyranny, in the forlorn hope that a formula that has failed so dismally before, will suddenly magically succeed.

Slim chance of success

Of course, there is little reason to believe that if the IDF were to evacuate Judea-Samaria (as was the case in Gaza) and all trace of Jewish presence were obliterated (as was the case in Gaza), that the same fate would not befall the Arab population that resides there.

Those who might invoke quarantines, security barriers and recurring military campaigns to account for the Palestinians’ socioeconomic plight, should be brusquely reminded that all of these are products of the post-Oslowian two-statism. They are the consequence of post-Oslowian Arab terrorism, not the cause of it.

Indeed, after decades of bloodshed and broken pledges, it seems that the entire “rationale” for continuing to cling to the two-state creed is the quasi-messianic belief that somehow the Palestinians, as a collective, will not only change, but miraculously morph into something, not only different from what they have been for decades, but into the antithetical opposite.

But furthermore, for the two-state construct to be not only momentarily feasible, but sustainably durable, this envisaged metamorphosis cannot be limited to any one particular pliant Palestinian interlocutor, who, whether by ballot or bullet, may be removed by a more radical successor (as was the case in Gaza), eager to repudiate all the perfidious pledges of peace made to the hated Zionist entity.

Slim chance (cont.)

Of course, such hope for a benign sea change in the collective Palestinian-Arab psyche has always been wildly fanciful, but at least in the heady days immediately following the signature of the Oslo Accords there may have been a reason, however flimsy, to succumb to the allure of naïve optimism.

But a gory two-and-a-half decades later, there can be no such excuse – particularly in the post Arab Spring ascendancy of jihadism, sweeping across the Mideast, menacing the Jordanian monarchy and challenging Egypt’s control of Sinai.

It seems inconceivable that under such conditions, and given our experiences, anyone with a modicum of concern for the future of the Jewish state could still adhere to such a patently perilous and implausible paradigm.

Sadly, it seems that obsessive two-staters have failed to internalize the lesson of the Golan Heights, which many land-for-peace adherents urged be handed over to Bashar Assad, then a reputedly moderate, Western- educated reformer. Imagine the dread that would prevail today if affiliates of al-Qaida and ISIS were deployed on the heights overlooking the Galilee and the city of Tiberias.

Now imagine forces of a similar ilk deployed – whether with compliance, or in defiance, of some Palestinian-Arab regime in Judea-Samaria – on the heights overlooking Israel’s coastal megalopolis, within mortar range from its only international airport and tunnel reach of its Trans-Israel Highway (Route 6).

Then, draw your own conclusions as to the prudence and morality of the harebrained two-state scheme.

Grim cost of failure

However, suppose for a moment that a Palestinian state were established on the strategic heights commanding Israel’s most populous and prosperous region – the narrow Coastal Plain.

Suppose, if, as is far from implausible, and irrespective of the purported goodwill of any initial Palestinian regime, control is taken over by a more inimical successor, which began to carry out terrorist attacks along the 500-km. front and from the commanding topographic territory, adjacent to Israeli population centers and infrastructure installations, whether overhead rocket salvos, underground tunnel attacks, or small arms ambushes on transport arteries.

Clearly, the consequences for the civilian populations on both sides of the new frontier would be severe. Israel, faced with recurring disruption of its socioeconomic routine and attrition of its population, would have little option but to retaliate harshly – far more so than in the previous Gaza operations, on a far wider front, with far greater topographical inferiority and far greater exposure of its urban hinterland. Extensive collateral damage among Palestinian-Arab civilians – and commensurate international censure of Israel – would be inevitable…

Moreover, if the regime in Amman were to veer Islamist, the IDF could well find itself embroiled in battle against Jordanian regular military forces, with the consequences unclear but certainly dire…

I could go on, but I think the issue of the grim cost is reasonably clear.

Intellectual cowardice?

Given the starkly slim chances of success and the gruesomely grim cost of failure, the refusal of two-staters such as the folks at Fathom to foster discussion on competing alternatives, likely to produce more humane outcomes, if they succeed, and less inhumane ones, if they fail, is, to say the least, disappointing.

Could it be that two-staters are no longer able to defend their position by rational debate and therefore need to fall back on avoiding debate?

More unforgiving souls might consider such avoidance nothing less than intellectual cowardice.

(Originally Published in the Jerusalem Post)

The 2-State Notion Is No Solution

One of the most perverse paradoxes in the political discourse on the Israeli-Arab conflict is that the people who supported the two-state principle should have been its fiercest opponents — at least if we are to judge by the “enlightened” moral values and progressive political pragmatism they purportedly invoke for endorsing it.

For even the most perfunctory analysis quickly reveals the two-state endeavor to be not only an exercise in utter futility, which will not attain any of its declared aims, but one that is both self-obstructive and self-contradictory. In fact, it would most likely bring about the exact opposite of its stated aims.

The two-state endeavor is immoral, irrational, and incompatible with the long-term existence of Israel as the Jewish nation-state.

It is immoral because it will create realties that are the absolute negation of the lofty values invoked for its implementation.

It is irrational because it will generate the precise perils it was designed to prevent.

It is incompatible with Israel’s long-term existence as the Jewish nation-state because it will almost inevitably culminate in a mega-Gaza on the outskirts of the greater Tel Aviv area.

Why the two-state endeavor is immoral

Typically — indeed, almost invariably — two-state proponents lay claim to the moral high ground, invoking lofty liberal values for their political credo, while impugning their ideological opponents’ ethical credentials for opposing it.

Indeed, given the socio-cultural conditions in virtually all Arab countries, and the precedents set in Palestinian-administered territories evacuated by Israel, the inevitable outcome of the two-state notion is not difficult to foresee. Indeed , there is little reason to believe (and certainly two-state proponents have never provided anything approaching a persuasive one) that any prospective Palestinian state, established on any territory Israel evacuated, will quickly become anything but yet another homophobic, misogynistic Muslim-majority tyranny.

Why on earth then would anyone who allegedly subscribes to values of gender equality, tolerance of sexual preferences and political pluralism endorse any policy that would almost certainly obviate the ethical tenets they purport to cherish? On what basis could advocating the establishment of such an entity be made a claim for the moral high ground — or indeed for any moral merit whatsoever?

Why the two-state endeavor is irrational

But it is not only in terms of moral outcomes that the two-state paradigm is a perversely self-obstructive endeavor. The same is true for the practical outcomes that it will almost certainly precipitate.

It is hard to say what has to happen before it is recognized that the land-for-peace doctrine, on which the two-state concept is based, is a perilously counterproductive endeavor — as it has in every instance it was attempted, not only in the Arab-Israeli context, but whenever an effort was made to appease tyranny with political concessions and territorial withdrawals.

For whenever that unfortunate formula has been applied, rather than result in peace, it has produced increased violence and bloodshed. Every time territory has been relinquished to Arab control, that territory has, sooner or later — usually sooner rather than later — become a platform for launching lethal attacks against Israel: Almost immediately in Gaza, within months in Judea and Samaria, within years in southern Lebanon and after several decades in Sinai, which is now descending into the depths of depravity and unspeakable brutality — with no good options on the horizon.

In light of the grim precedents provided by previous land-for-peace experiments, together with the no less grim trends in Arab society in general and Palestinian society in particular, continued insistence on this fatally flawed formula is both gravely irrational and grossly irresponsible.

Why the two-state endeavor is incompatible with Israel’s existence

Thus, apart from wishful thinking, dangerously detached from any prevailing (or foreseeable) reality, stubborn adherence to the two-state dogma has no value — neither in terms of its moral merits nor its political pragmatism. Worse yet, the pursuit of it is totally incompatible with Israel’s long-term existence.

To grasp the fundamental validity of this seemingly far-reaching statement it is necessary to recognize that today, with the changing nature of Arab enmity, the major existential challenge to Israel’s existence as the Jewish nation-state is no longer fending off invasion, but resisting attrition.

Nowhere was this more starkly evident than in the 2014 Operation Protective Edge in Gaza, where continued bombardment resulted in the evacuation of entire Jewish communities in Israel’s south.

Without compelling evidence to the contrary, there is little reason to believe, and certainly to adopt as a working assumption, that the realities in the south will not be repeated on Israel’s eastern border — with several chilling differences.

The most plausible outcome of an Israeli evacuation of Judea and Samaria is the emergence of a mega-Gaza on the very outskirts of the greater Tel Aviv area and other major urban centers in the heavily populated coastal plain. But unlike Gaza, which has a border of 51 kilometers (32 miles) and no topographical command of adjacent territory inside the pre-1967 frontiers, the situation in Judea and Samaria would — to understate the case — be alarmingly different.

“Depraved indifference” of the two-state paradigm

Any Arab entity set up there would have a front abutting Israel’s most populous area, of about 500 kilometers (about 300 miles) and total topographical superiority over 80% of the country’s civilian population, vital infrastructure systems and 80% of its commercial activity.

All of these will be in range of weapons used against Israel from territory evacuated and transferred to Arab control. Accordingly, this grim caveat cannot be dismissed as “right-wing scaremongering” for it is merely the empirical precedent.

Any force deployed in these areas — whether regular or renegade — could, with cheap readily available weapons, disrupt at will any socio-economic routine in Israel’s coastal megalopolis, turning the popular tourist city of Netanya into a Sderot-by-the-sea, and making the attrition in daily life increasingly onerous.

There is, of course, little dispute over the assessment, that if Israel were to evacuate Judea and Samaria it would almost certainly fall into the hands of Hamas-like elements, or worse. At the very least, such an outcome is highly probable. Indeed, the only way to ensure that what happened in Gaza does not happen in Judea and Samaria is for Israel to retain control of this territory — thereby obviating implementation of the two-state formula and the emergence of a Palestinian state.

Surely then, given the grave — indeed, existential — risks inherent in the two-state paradigm, considerably heightened by the precarious position of the current regime in neighboring Jordan, threatened, as it is, by ever-ascendant Islamist elements, would it not be eminently reasonable to consider further advocacy of this perilous prescription as “reckless endangerment” — even “depraved indifference”?

Immediate imperative

Accordingly, with the catastrophic consequences of continued insistence on the quest for a two-state resolution of the Israel-Palestinian conflict an ever more ominous likelihood, a determined search for plausible and durable alternatives — more moral, more rational and more compatible with the survival of the Jewish nation state — is now an urgent imperative.

(This article was originally published on Israel Hayom)

Is Merkel Feeling the Heat?

One should not think too deeply on Angela Merkel’s words in press conference with Bibi Netanyahu in Berlin today.  According to i24 News, the German Chancellor said:

“Now is not the time for a significant step forward [in the two-state solution].”

Angela Merkel has been known in the past as a major backer of the two state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.  The fact that she seems to be pushing the pause button should catch more than a few glances.  However, one should not take her pronouncement too far. In the intra-Europe sparring over the refugee crisis, Angela Merkel has been painted (mostly due to her own policies) as responsible for the catastrophic situation that Europe now finds itself.

With the Eastern European countries taking a far tougher approach than herself, she has been struggling to stave of not only a revolt in the EU, but one in her own country. Keep in mind, many Eastern European countries have sided with Israel over the labeling crisis and by doing so they have revealed how fractured the continent is.  Merkel achieves a lot with her statement.  By backing off of Israel, she can show her interlocutors that she isn’t as clueless about the sweeping hordes of Islamic migrants engulfing her continent.  After all Israel has been taking the brunt of radical Islamic violence for years.  Letting it drown in the region’s current typhoon of geopolitical chaos would prove how clueless European leaders really are. So Merkel gains the mantel of “principled leader” without forfeiting too much of her open borders policy.

Keeping Israel in Europe’s Orbit

As Israel continues to build on its economic growth with trade deals and energy agreements with a variety of new partners, Europe understands that Israel is in fact poised to surpass it as a global leader and influencer.  China and India don’t care about the to state solution, backing it only with lip service.  Russia does only what’s best for it and a strong Israel could very well be part of Putin’s plans for the region.  Europe is being cut out of everything and losing influence over Israel would not bode well for it.

Backing Israel on the two state solution is ultimately an attempt to lure Israel away from shifting alliances, especially ones that stand diametrically opposed to the EU’s policy in the Middle East.