The “Two-State Solution” is an idea that keeps coming back no matter how many times it is discredited.
At present, the Biden administration and in particular Secretary of State Tony Blinken are promoting this because, they say, this is a way to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian Arab conflict and bring peace.
However, this proposal – which presents insurmountable problems – is not viable. In truth, it is no solution at all:
1) The land legally belongs to Israel from the time of the San Remo Resolution and the subsequent Mandate for Palestine (1922), which is founded in international law.
For further information on this:
2) A Palestinian state would be a failed state.
Secretary Blinken refers repeatedly to the fact that Israelis and Palestinians “should enjoy equal measures of freedom, security, prosperity and democracy.” He is implying that establishing a Palestinian state that sits next to Israel would somehow ensure this for the Palestinian Arabs. However, there is no evidence whatsoever to support this supposition: The Palestinian Authority is a highly corrupt and extremely repressive autocracy devoid of civil rights, and lacking a tradition of free elections. Allowing the PA to become a state would not change these essential characteristics. The suggestion that it would is merely a ruse.
3) Most significantly, the Palestinian Arabs have never been sincere about wanting a two-state solution; their goal is the elimination of Israel.
The Palestinian National Charter (which was amended in 1968 and not since, contrary to popular opinion) reads in part:
“Palestine is the homeland of the Arab Palestinian people (Article 1)
“Palestine, with the boundaries it had during the British Mandate, is an indivisible territorial unit (Article 2)
“Armed struggle is the only way to liberate Palestine (Article 9)
“The liberation of Palestine, from an Arab viewpoint, is a national duty and it attempts to repel the Zionist and imperialist aggression against the Arab homeland, and aims at the elimination of Zionism in Palestine (Article 15)”
The germ of the idea for two-states can be found in UN General Assembly Resolution 181 of 1947, a resolution that Arabs still refer to until this day. It put forth what was commonly known as the “Partition Plan.” Although the whole of Mandate Palestine was allocated for a Jewish homeland, the Arabs were so resistant to this that a compromise was proposed that would have divided the land. It was far more than a plan for simply partitioning Palestine, however: It carried with it a number of stipulations, such as the fact that both proposed states had to be democratic and enter into an economic union.
Today, this resolution carries absolutely no weight.
This is, first, because resolutions of the General Assembly are no more than suggestions and are not legally binding upon the parties.
Additionally, the UN Palestine Commission, which was charged in the resolution with facilitating and finalizing the details of the resolution, never even began its work.
And then, the Arabs rejected the proposal. This was because they would not countenance the idea of sharing the land with Jews, they wanted it all.
Today, there are Arabs who still maintain that they have rights to a state because of Resolution 181. This however is simply not the case. It is an article of international law that one who rejects an agreement does not retain any rights based on that agreement.
Moving ahead in time to September 13, 1993, we find the Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government Arrangements – commonly referred to as the Oslo Accords – signed by Mahmoud Abbas for the PLO, and Foreign Minister Shimon Peres for Israel. This was an agreement that had been vigorously promoted by the left in Israel with the expectation that it would bring peace between Israel and the Palestinian Arabs.
For the success of the accords, it was deemed important to involve the PLO, which was considered the representative of all Palestinian Arabs, and not just the local Arab population of Judea and Samaria. Thus, chairman of the PLO Yasser Arafat and his inner circle were brought from Tunis. The unvarnished truth is that, whatever image Arafat wished to project, he and his associates were unrepentant terrorists. The naïve optimism within certain quarters of Israel at that time was that with new circumstances Arafat would move beyond his previous method of operating. Once that notion took hold, and Israel was committed to working with Arafat, a blind eye was turned, again and again, to the reality of how he functioned.
The Declaration of Principles, the first stage of Oslo, established the Palestinian Authority and set out a five year interim period of self-government for the Palestinian Arabs.
A supplementary agreement was signed on May 4, 1994, stipulating that this self-government would begin with Gaza and the Jericho area. An elected council was to be responsible for education, culture, health, social welfare, direct taxation and tourism within the Palestinian Arab areas; a police force would be maintained for internal security. Israel retained control over roads, borders, and security for areas of Jewish residence.
Negotiations on the permanent status of the Palestinian areas were to begin by the third year of this interim period and were to conclude by 1999.
Note that it refers to “permanent status” for Palestinian areas: Nothing was said in this agreement about a full, sovereign Palestinian state.
On May 10, 1994, mere days after the Gaza-Jericho agreement had been signed, Arafat gave a speech in a mosque in Johannesburg, South Africa, at the invitation of Nelson Mandela. His talk, given in English, was supposed to be off the record, but a South African journalist secretly recorded it and then publicized it. That speech includes this:
“The Jihad will continue…
“This agreement I am not considering it more than the agreement which had been signed between our prophet Mohammad and Quraysh.”
Arafat was referring to Muslim history: In 628, Muhammad, who assessed his following as not yet sufficiently strong to take Mecca in battle, forged a ten-year peace treaty—the Hudaibiya Pact—with the polytheistic Quraysh tribe that held the city. The pact “agreed to remove war from the people for ten years…” It also permitted the Muslims access to the city for purposes of worship.
Two years after signing, when he had garnered considerably more strength, Muhammad abrogated the treaty and attacked the Quraysh with a force so overwhelming that they surrendered without a fight. Muhammad did this by first quietly preparing while the Quraysh guard was down and then finding a pretext for battle. Desperate entreaties by the Quraysh did nothing to dissuade him.
In Islamic law, the way in which Muhammad conducted himself is viewed as a model of proper behavior when dealing with non-Muslims.
The term for this is hilam – “by stratagems you will make war.”
In 1974, after the Yom Kippur War, it became evident to the Arabs that Israel could not be “liberated” in one operation. The PLO then adopted the “Strategy of Stages,” that spelled out a tactic for weakening Israel slowly in stages, towards the aim of ultimate destruction.
Any subterfuge was considered permissible in service of this goal.
One key subterfuge was a pretense of moderation.
Another was a manipulation of public perception that would deprive Israel of legitimacy.
Dennis Ross, who had served as special envoy during the Clinton administration, later said this about Arafat:
Every agreement he made was limited and contained nothing he considered irrevocable. He was not, in his eyes, required to surrender any claims….he never prepared his public for compromise. Instead, he led the Palestinians to believe the peace process would produce everything they ever wanted…
We can see, then, that Israel has never had a legitimate peace partner. It has all been subterfuge.
Oslo II, which was signed in 1995, divided Judea and Samaria into Area A, under full Palestinian Authority control; Area B, under Palestinian Arab civil control and Israeli security control; and Area C, under full lsraeli control.
But it did not promise a full sovereign Palestinian Arab state any more than the first agreement did.
Yet public opinion was manipulated so that the world began to see that state as the “right” of a poor, beleaguered Palestinian Arab people.
Two states for two peoples, living side by side in peace and security, with Jerusalem as a shared capital.
This became the publicly enunciated goal, but it was no more than a carefully crafted fantasy.
Not only were there to be two sovereign states within this fantasy, the parameters of the Palestinian Arab state were fully defined up front before final negotiations had taken place: Israel was to move back behind the 1949 armistice line, which was called the “1967 border,” and eastern Jerusalem, including Jewish holy sites, was to be the capital of that state.
The proof that the Palestinian Arabs are not sincere when they talk about “two states” lies in the fact that a final peace treaty has never been signed. The PLO cannot sign such a document because it would call for “end of conflict,” and they intend no such thing. Any agreement struck with Israel is intended only to weaken Israel to make further defeat of Israel more possible in the future.
If the PLO leadership had truly wanted a state, they could have had one in 2000, when then-prime minister Ehud Barak made a generous offer, or in 2008, when then-prime minister Ehud Olmert made an even more generous one.
Always, the Palestinian Arabs find an excuse to walk away from an offer.
The true intentions of the Palestinian Authority are exposed again and again, if we take the time to see the reality:
As recently as May 18, 2021, Fatah Deputy Secretary Musa Al-Rajabi, a deputy secretary of Fatah (the controlling party of the PA) declared: “We will rise up every day against this tyrannical occupation that is heavily armed… We’ll continue to confront it with bare chests until the liberation of Palestine – Palestine from the [Mediterranean] Sea to the [Jordan] River, Palestine which is Arab and Islamic. It will remain ours.”
Arafat, and after him Mahmoud Abbas, who is no less a terrorist, have broken every major commitment of the Oslo Accords.
A promise to comply with certain requirements comports well with the desire for acceptance by the West. To actually fulfill them would be to undermine the possibilities for achieving the final goal, the goal as described immediately above by Al-Rajabi. The potential to do violence must be retained as a weapon to be used when needed.
The Palestinian Authority continues to incite, to honor terrorists, and to provide funds (“Slay for pay”) for terrorists in prison or their families.
For a long time, pressure was applied to Israel, to “make gestures for peace,” every time the PA failed to come through. This was precisely the wrong approach, for such gestures are seen by the Arabs as weakness and invite further intransigence and more terrorism. It is a little known statistic that more Israelis have died annually in terror attacks since the signing of Oslo than died annually before.
Today, the majority of Israelis – understanding that there is no “partner for peace” – is opposed to a “two-state solution.”