Is The Two-State Solution Doable?

Ted Belman
Is the two-state solution for Israel and the Palestinians doable?  Dani Dayan, Chairman of the Yesha Council ‎of Jewish Communities in Judea and Samaria, thinks not. Seth Mandel thinks ‎otherwise.‎

The NYT published a strongly worded Op-Ed this week by Dani Dayan, under the ‎title "Israel's Settlers are here to stay."  Seth Mandel, in an article in ‎Commentary Magazine, called his comments "wrongheaded."‎

Mandel accused him of ignoring "both an accepted reality and the Palestinian ‎people."  Dayan has every right to ignore or even reject, both. Mandel further ‎complained  that "two of his ideas contained in the op-ed would be, if ‎accepted, detrimental to the American foreign policy doctrine that results in ‎such steadfast American support for Israel." I beg to differ for reasons set ‎out below.‎

Mandel writes:‎

‎"First and foremost, a majority of Israelis (usually around the 60 percent ‎mark, sometimes higher) consistently support the two-state solution, even at ‎a time when that proposal is clearly at a post-Oslo low point."‎

If such a poll exists, the wrong question was asked. Last year, a Dahaf ‎Institute poll commissioned by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs sound ‎that seventy-seven percent of Israelis oppose returning to pre-1967 lines, ‎‎[the poll reads "with minor border adjustments"] even if it would lead to a ‎peace agreement and declarations by Arab states of an end to their conflict ‎with Israel.‎

The poll found that large majorities of 85 percent and 75%, respectively, ‎recognized the importance of maintaining a united Jerusalem under Israeli ‎sovereignty within the framework of any final peace deal and opposed ‎transferring the Temple Mount to Palestinian control even if the Western Wall ‎were to remain in Israeli hands. ‎

If that weren't enough, a recent poll in Israel found that 64% of Israelis ‎support the continuation of the settlement enterprise.  The parameters of ‎the two-state solution don't come close to offering the Israelis what they ‎want or will settle for.‎

‎"[T]he American left would like to frame the debate as consisting of two ‎points of view-Dayan's and J Street's. Both are outside the mainstream ‎consensus on this issue, and it is only up against Dayan's arguments that the ‎hard-left can appear reasonable."

To the contrary, it is Dayan's solution that is reasonable compared to J-‎Steet's "Auschwitz borders."  Only Dayan's solution will bring peace.  As for ‎the debate, bring it on.‎

‎"What about the Palestinians Dayan doesn't say Israel should give the ‎Palestinians in Judea and Samaria voting rights. If he would, is he not ‎concerned about the demographics at play If he would not, is he suggesting ‎that the Palestinians should be a permanently stateless people and that ‎Israel would be permanently without clear national borders He writes that ‎Israeli security should be paramount, but the Judea and Samaria he envisions ‎would be a long-term security nightmare for Israel."‎

Dayan didn't offer citizenship nor did he reject it. The vast majority of ‎Israelis who support annexation also support giving citizenship to qualified ‎Arabs while at the same time offering them, in the alternative, a financial ‎inducement to emigrate.  Upon annexation of Judea and Samaria, (West Bank) ‎Israel would have a clear national border, namely the Jordan River, though ‎the international community would not recognize it as the border. It is only ‎in the present situation where Israel's borders are undefined. According to ‎the most recent authoritative study, if Israel were to annex Judea and ‎Samaria, the Jews would outnumber the Arabs in the enlarged Israel by a ‎margin of 2:1.  As for the security nightmare, he is absolutely correct. ‎Where is Mandel on this issue. He doesn't say.‎

‎"Second, has he thought through the implications to U.S. foreign policy of ‎his proposal Specifically, he seems to want the U.S.-a principal external ‎force on the peace process-to ignore its own dedication to the right of self-‎determination for the Palestinians. But that would mean weakening American ‎devotion to the general principle of self-determination, which is a major ‎driving force behind continued American support for Israel. Does Dayan, as a ‎political figure in a country whose right to exist is constantly being ‎questioned by a resurging global anti-Semitism, not just in the Arab states ‎but all over Europe, really want to weaken American support for the idea of a ‎right to self-determination"‎

This argument is a crock. American support for self-determination is very ‎selective.  America doesn't support such a right for the Kurds, the Basques, ‎the Tibetans and so on and they are each a real people, not an invented ‎people.  The Balfour Declaration, the legally binding decision at San Remo ‎and the League of Nations Mandate for Palestine all asserted the right of the ‎Jews, to not only self-determination in Palestine but to the reconstitution ‎of their national homeland there. The Arabs were specifically denied such a ‎right in Palestine but not in Jordan which was separated from it. Why don't ‎Mandel and the US government support their right of self-determination in ‎Jordan which is, after all, 80% Palestinian ‎

America also supports the rule of law which favors Israel by a country mile. ‎To prefer the Palestinian "right" to self-determination on these lands over ‎the Jewish historical, legal and moral claims is just ludicrous. They have no ‎right to self-determination there.‎

‎"Additionally, Dayan writes that the return of the Palestinian refugees from ‎around the Arab world to the Palestinian state would be a major security ‎threat. But he also acknowledges that those Palestinian refugees are treated ‎as second-class citizens in those countries and kept in squalor elsewhere ‎‎(chiefly by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency). Should they stay ‎that way?  And isn't a primary goal of Israeli national policy to convince the ‎Palestinians to return to a Palestinian state, not Israel? Humanitarian ‎concerns often clash with security concerns, but that doesn't mean we ignore ‎the humanitarian concerns altogether-it means we go back to the drawing board ‎and get creative, not give up." ‎

Though Israel does support the Palestinian return to a Palestinian state, ‎rather than to Israel, in principle, she doesn't support their return to ‎Palestine in reality, at least not in significant numbers. This support in no ‎way can be described as "a primary goal of Israel national policy."  If only ‎a million would return to Palestine, should it ever be created, war would ‎result.  Dayan knows this. Mandel and the international community couldn't ‎care less. ‎

If America or the international community really cared about the condition of ‎the Palestinians in Syria, Lebanon or Jordan, they would focus their ‎attention on getting them resettled as they have done with tens of millions ‎of refugees since the Second World War. ‎

Dayan has gone back to the drawing board.  Mandel and the west have not.‎

‎"And finally: Dayan claims removing the settlers would be impossible. Why? ‎Today there are no settlers in Gaza. He's also moving the goal posts; many of ‎the settlements would remain in Israel as part of any final-status agreement. ‎Israel's critics often dishonestly ignore this when speaking in broad terms ‎about The Settlers. Dayan is making the same mistake, and playing right into ‎their hands."‎

Though "many of the settlements would remain in Israel," over 100,000 Jews ‎would have to be forcibly removed. That may be acceptable to Mandel but it is ‎not to Israel. Why doesn't Mandel suggest moving the final border to include ‎these settlers on the west of the border.  Why not negotiate on the basis of ‎Israel keeping 10% of the land  That would solve the settler problem.  But ‎the West, let alone the Palestinians, would not condone it. Even if you grant ‎the Palestinians a right of self-determination, it doesn't necessarily follow ‎that it must be on 100% of the land.  The land after all is Jewish land and ‎not Palestinian land.‎

At least Mandel acknowledges:‎

‎"The fact is, Dayan is right that the current Palestinian leadership prefers ‎the status quo, and are not making the effort needed to secure a deal. He's ‎also right that a Hamas takeover of all of the future state of Palestine ‎would immediately nullify the peace deal, and anyone who thinks Hamas isn't ‎still dedicated to Israel's destruction is not paying attention." ‎

Mandel's suggestion:‎

‎"But it would be more constructive if Dayan made these critiques of Mideast ‎policy as part of an effort to reform the current structure of the two-state ‎solution in ways that might make it more workable, not less."‎

Wrong suggestion.  Why not abandon the pursuit of the two-state solution ‎altogether and work from a different paradigm.  First, resettle all the Arab ‎refugees.  Secondly, insist that all Palestinians in Jordan be fully ‎enfranchised so that Jordan becomes the Palestinian state.  Then invite all ‎Palestinians to move there and get citizenship. Now that is a solution worth ‎working toward. ‎

Clearly the two-state solution is not doable. ‎

Is the two-state solution for Israel and the Palestinians doable?  Dani Dayan, Chairman of the Yesha Council ‎of Jewish Communities in Judea and Samaria, thinks not. Seth Mandel thinks ‎otherwise.‎

The NYT published a strongly worded Op-Ed this week by Dani Dayan, under the ‎title "Israel's Settlers are here to stay."  Seth Mandel, in an article in ‎Commentary Magazine, called his comments "wrongheaded."‎

Mandel accused him of ignoring "both an accepted reality and the Palestinian ‎people."  Dayan has every right to ignore or even reject, both. Mandel further ‎complained  that "two of his ideas contained in the op-ed would be, if ‎accepted, detrimental to the American foreign policy doctrine that results in ‎such steadfast American support for Israel." I beg to differ for reasons set ‎out below.‎

Mandel writes:‎

‎"First and foremost, a majority of Israelis (usually around the 60 percent ‎mark, sometimes higher) consistently support the two-state solution, even at ‎a time when that proposal is clearly at a post-Oslo low point."‎

If such a poll exists, the wrong question was asked. Last year, a Dahaf ‎Institute poll commissioned by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs sound ‎that seventy-seven percent of Israelis oppose returning to pre-1967 lines, ‎‎[the poll reads "with minor border adjustments"] even if it would lead to a ‎peace agreement and declarations by Arab states of an end to their conflict ‎with Israel.‎

The poll found that large majorities of 85 percent and 75%, respectively, ‎recognized the importance of maintaining a united Jerusalem under Israeli ‎sovereignty within the framework of any final peace deal and opposed ‎transferring the Temple Mount to Palestinian control even if the Western Wall ‎were to remain in Israeli hands. ‎

If that weren't enough, a recent poll in Israel found that 64% of Israelis ‎support the continuation of the settlement enterprise.  The parameters of ‎the two-state solution don't come close to offering the Israelis what they ‎want or will settle for.‎

‎"[T]he American left would like to frame the debate as consisting of two ‎points of view-Dayan's and J Street's. Both are outside the mainstream ‎consensus on this issue, and it is only up against Dayan's arguments that the ‎hard-left can appear reasonable."

To the contrary, it is Dayan's solution that is reasonable compared to J-‎Steet's "Auschwitz borders."  Only Dayan's solution will bring peace.  As for ‎the debate, bring it on.‎

‎"What about the Palestinians Dayan doesn't say Israel should give the ‎Palestinians in Judea and Samaria voting rights. If he would, is he not ‎concerned about the demographics at play If he would not, is he suggesting ‎that the Palestinians should be a permanently stateless people and that ‎Israel would be permanently without clear national borders He writes that ‎Israeli security should be paramount, but the Judea and Samaria he envisions ‎would be a long-term security nightmare for Israel."‎

Dayan didn't offer citizenship nor did he reject it. The vast majority of ‎Israelis who support annexation also support giving citizenship to qualified ‎Arabs while at the same time offering them, in the alternative, a financial ‎inducement to emigrate.  Upon annexation of Judea and Samaria, (West Bank) ‎Israel would have a clear national border, namely the Jordan River, though ‎the international community would not recognize it as the border. It is only ‎in the present situation where Israel's borders are undefined. According to ‎the most recent authoritative study, if Israel were to annex Judea and ‎Samaria, the Jews would outnumber the Arabs in the enlarged Israel by a ‎margin of 2:1.  As for the security nightmare, he is absolutely correct. ‎Where is Mandel on this issue. He doesn't say.‎

‎"Second, has he thought through the implications to U.S. foreign policy of ‎his proposal Specifically, he seems to want the U.S.-a principal external ‎force on the peace process-to ignore its own dedication to the right of self-‎determination for the Palestinians. But that would mean weakening American ‎devotion to the general principle of self-determination, which is a major ‎driving force behind continued American support for Israel. Does Dayan, as a ‎political figure in a country whose right to exist is constantly being ‎questioned by a resurging global anti-Semitism, not just in the Arab states ‎but all over Europe, really want to weaken American support for the idea of a ‎right to self-determination"‎

This argument is a crock. American support for self-determination is very ‎selective.  America doesn't support such a right for the Kurds, the Basques, ‎the Tibetans and so on and they are each a real people, not an invented ‎people.  The Balfour Declaration, the legally binding decision at San Remo ‎and the League of Nations Mandate for Palestine all asserted the right of the ‎Jews, to not only self-determination in Palestine but to the reconstitution ‎of their national homeland there. The Arabs were specifically denied such a ‎right in Palestine but not in Jordan which was separated from it. Why don't ‎Mandel and the US government support their right of self-determination in ‎Jordan which is, after all, 80% Palestinian ‎

America also supports the rule of law which favors Israel by a country mile. ‎To prefer the Palestinian "right" to self-determination on these lands over ‎the Jewish historical, legal and moral claims is just ludicrous. They have no ‎right to self-determination there.‎

‎"Additionally, Dayan writes that the return of the Palestinian refugees from ‎around the Arab world to the Palestinian state would be a major security ‎threat. But he also acknowledges that those Palestinian refugees are treated ‎as second-class citizens in those countries and kept in squalor elsewhere ‎‎(chiefly by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency). Should they stay ‎that way?  And isn't a primary goal of Israeli national policy to convince the ‎Palestinians to return to a Palestinian state, not Israel? Humanitarian ‎concerns often clash with security concerns, but that doesn't mean we ignore ‎the humanitarian concerns altogether-it means we go back to the drawing board ‎and get creative, not give up." ‎

Though Israel does support the Palestinian return to a Palestinian state, ‎rather than to Israel, in principle, she doesn't support their return to ‎Palestine in reality, at least not in significant numbers. This support in no ‎way can be described as "a primary goal of Israel national policy."  If only ‎a million would return to Palestine, should it ever be created, war would ‎result.  Dayan knows this. Mandel and the international community couldn't ‎care less. ‎

If America or the international community really cared about the condition of ‎the Palestinians in Syria, Lebanon or Jordan, they would focus their ‎attention on getting them resettled as they have done with tens of millions ‎of refugees since the Second World War. ‎

Dayan has gone back to the drawing board.  Mandel and the west have not.‎

‎"And finally: Dayan claims removing the settlers would be impossible. Why? ‎Today there are no settlers in Gaza. He's also moving the goal posts; many of ‎the settlements would remain in Israel as part of any final-status agreement. ‎Israel's critics often dishonestly ignore this when speaking in broad terms ‎about The Settlers. Dayan is making the same mistake, and playing right into ‎their hands."‎

Though "many of the settlements would remain in Israel," over 100,000 Jews ‎would have to be forcibly removed. That may be acceptable to Mandel but it is ‎not to Israel. Why doesn't Mandel suggest moving the final border to include ‎these settlers on the west of the border.  Why not negotiate on the basis of ‎Israel keeping 10% of the land  That would solve the settler problem.  But ‎the West, let alone the Palestinians, would not condone it. Even if you grant ‎the Palestinians a right of self-determination, it doesn't necessarily follow ‎that it must be on 100% of the land.  The land after all is Jewish land and ‎not Palestinian land.‎

At least Mandel acknowledges:‎

‎"The fact is, Dayan is right that the current Palestinian leadership prefers ‎the status quo, and are not making the effort needed to secure a deal. He's ‎also right that a Hamas takeover of all of the future state of Palestine ‎would immediately nullify the peace deal, and anyone who thinks Hamas isn't ‎still dedicated to Israel's destruction is not paying attention." ‎

Mandel's suggestion:‎

‎"But it would be more constructive if Dayan made these critiques of Mideast ‎policy as part of an effort to reform the current structure of the two-state ‎solution in ways that might make it more workable, not less."‎

Wrong suggestion.  Why not abandon the pursuit of the two-state solution ‎altogether and work from a different paradigm.  First, resettle all the Arab ‎refugees.  Secondly, insist that all Palestinians in Jordan be fully ‎enfranchised so that Jordan becomes the Palestinian state.  Then invite all ‎Palestinians to move there and get citizenship. Now that is a solution worth ‎working toward. ‎

Clearly the two-state solution is not doable. ‎