For a whole generation, the Israeli left continues to stubbornly trust in the solution of the conflict with the Palestinians according to various versions based on the “two states for two peoples” formula, which would be reached in an agreement after negotiations with Palestinian representatives. Most of them are based on a limited number of central aspects.
A. Stop the violence and end the conflict situation
B. Mutual recognition
C. Territorial commitment
D. Establishment of an independent Palestinian state
E. Peaceful relations between the two states
In several documents we witnessed the Oslo Accords, the Geneva Initiative, General Ami Ayalon’s National Census, the Clinton scheme, the initiative of the Arab League. Beyond the more or less common points mentioned above, those who proposed it and all those who still support the “two states for two peoples” solution have repeatedly and even passionately argued, in opposition to the Israeli right, that “there are partners to negotiate in the Palestinian side”.
Each one, at the time, created expectations and hopes that, in all cases and without exception, ended in painful disappointments.
There is no doubt that the leaders of both sides of the conflict can reach an agreement based on the aforementioned points, in which the minimum requirements and aspirations of each side can be guaranteed and a reasonable basis for their existence and duration can be guaranteed. Having reached such an agreement, I am convinced that behind the delegation of each party the necessary majority of their citizens would enlist to approve the agreement.
With all this, it is nothing more than a fantasy, both for the signing and approval of the agreement, and for its materialization on the ground. Not because either side is lying or cheating. I believe that the representatives of the parties have a real and true intention to implement the agreement as written. But no one can ignore the reality that, on both the Israeli and Palestinian sides, their own extremist groups coexist, defending the “all or nothing” principle and expressing their positions with dissuasive and generally violent messages. Palestinians have Hamas and Jihad groups and in Israel extremist groups within the settlers and their supporters. Hamas suicide bomb attacks and Rabin assassination are a good example.
These groups will not hesitate to thwart and even sabotage any effort to sign an agreement, in particular to implement it. As long as both parties do not repress these groups, there is not the slightest possibility of reaching and fulfilling any reasonable political agreement between the parties.
In this context, a large part of Israeli society became convinced that, in the current situation, there is no point in talking about an agreement with the Palestinians. This resulted in a permanent weakening of the Israeli left that has continued for the past 25 years and has reached the point of possible disappearance in the recent elections. Therefore, if you want to continue in the battle for the future of Israel, it is essential to end with the melody of “Two states for two peoples”
To tell the truth, the sensible part of Israeli society is right to point out that, for the moment, there is no two-state solution, but that same electorate makes a serious mistake when they interpret this situation as the reason to give a free hand to continue the status quo and expand settlements in the West Bank
There is no discussion that with the continuity of the status quo we will witness the constitution of the monster called “binational state” with all the tragic implications for the Jewish people. With Netanyahu’s annexation plans the process will accelerate. Without annexation it will simply drag on for a few more years. That’s all unlike
This should be the starting point for the new position of the Israeli left
There is no doubt that in the near future there is no point in seeking a permanent solution based on the “two-state” formula. This is true even for the entire Trump program that in its original version is on its way to the garbage can. It is not by chance that both the Palestinians and many of the Israeli settlers in the West Bank reject it.
Between the hammer of the Israeli and Palestinian extremists, and the anvil of the “binational state”, one must stop thinking about “solving the problem” in order to “escape the trap”, find “a starting point” that, for a one hand ensure that Israel remains with a solid Jewish majority and, on the other hand, offer security to its citizens, which at the moment is basically only possible through the Israeli security forces.
On the one hand, it is about creating long-term conditions for a significant territorial separation between the Jewish population and the Palestinian population of the West Bank, including the evacuation of Israeli settlements, but, on the other hand, the Israeli security forces will continue to operate in the entire territory for the security of Israel, as it is carried out today
The most important thing is to avoid the creation of a binational state now, physically separating the populations, so that in the future a two-state solution can be accessed in the medium and long term.
In this way, while limiting and repressing the sectors that sabotage the possibilities in accordance with the Palestinians, Israel will preserve its security assets and, on the other hand, will project to the Palestinians its long-term predisposition to the constitution of its own independent state. At the same time, as long as the Palestinian leadership cannot beat extremist groups sabotaging an attempt to reach an agreement, Israel will act on the ground to maintain its security as it is known today.
It must be emphasized that, if Israel has a secure majority of Jews today, and wants to keep it under a democratic regime, it has no choice to abandon the aspirations of territorial expansion and must place all the emphasis on security through its forces.
This proposal has nothing to do with the 2005 Gaza disengagement. Then Israel withdrew with its citizens and soldiers. This decision proved that the Israeli army soldiers in Gaza did not protect Israel as stated by Sharon (“The Netzarim colony in Gaza is like Tel Aviv”), but were only concerned with defending the Israeli settlements there.
By evacuating settlements from the West Bank, the Israeli army will continue its presence to protect Israel. If today they can guarantee a reasonable level of security for the people of Israel, there is no reason why tomorrow they cannot do so without the presence of the settlers.
The main message for the people of Israel should be to emphasize the need to base their security on Israeli forces, but at the same time, avoid the possibility of turning the entire territory into a binational state.
The motto should be: “Yes to security. No to a binational state and annexation”
Herzlya – Israel 10-7-2020