Einstein's definition of insanity and the two-state solution

On May 14, President Obama said that the two-state solution is “vital” for peace between Israel and its Arab population.  Furthermore, in a Huffington Post interview dated March 21, the president reiterated his belief that “[a] two-state solution is the only way for the long-term security of Israel, if it wants to stay both a Jewish state and democratic.”

The question is why anyone is still talking about a two-state solution.  After all, no one person or body has succeeded in imposing or implementing this “solution” to the satisfaction of all parties, even going back as far as the 1937 Peel Commission, when it was first suggested that the Mandate for Palestine could be divided into two states for two peoples.  And if we can all agree that the two-state solution hasn’t worked, one might reasonably ask whether the two-state solution is really the “only” solution available toward the resolution of what Ruth Wisse calls “the Arab war against Israel and the Jews.”

Isn’t it time to come up with something better – something that works?  Otherwise, aren’t we merely proving Einstein’s axiom that insanity is repeating the same thing over and over again and expecting different results?  Maybe the reason why president after president has failed at making the two-state solution a reality is that it’s an unworkable idea?

Yet, again and again, American presidents tell us that the “only” way forward is with this idea that no one has been able to effectively implement.  Have the American people really elected president after president with no truly new, groundbreaking solutions to the problem?  At what point does America offer something fresh and untried that might make a difference or, alternatively, admit failure and bow out?

Even the late, unlamented Moammar Gaddafi did better than that.  He, at least, came up with a new idea, “Isratine.”  So why is America, not to mention the EU, beating a dead horse?

From the perspective of the so-called Palestinians, the two-state solution doesn’t adequately address their aspirations.  They want not just autonomy and Judea and Samaria.  They want all the territory known as the State of Israel.  As the two-state solution does not achieve this goal, the Palestinians will never accept the two-state solution.

From the perspective of most Israelis, ceding Judea and Samaria to its Arab population will only make things worse for Israel.  For one thing, it’s salami tactics.  You give one slice, and they demand another.  Better not to give them any slices at all.  Or at least hold your ground and refuse to give another inch, literally, or have your weakness exploited.  

For another thing, ceding more territory means leaving Israel more vulnerable to attack.  This truth exposes the rot at the core of the two-state solution: that leaving Israelis further exposed at the middle to terror and mayhem is the antithesis of a “solution.”  Or rather, the two-state solution is a solution that more closely resembles Hitler’s Final Solution, in which millions of Jews die to placate anti-Semites.  

This will neither keep the Jewish State Jewish nor make it democratic.  It will lead to Israel’s ultimate eradication.  

So there it is, all laid out: the truth of the two-state solution and what it can and cannot achieve.  It’s not enough for the Arabs.  It’s way too much for the Jews.  

What are we to conclude, then, from the insistence of American presidents (beginning with Lyndon B. Johnson) on pursuing this failed solution that is, in fact, no solution at all?  Are we to understand that after all, the U.S. and the EU want only for Israel to disappear?  Is the eradication of Israel the reason for beating the dead horse that is the two-state solution?   

Or is the two-state solution, rather, all about the pretense of giving a damn about the people who actually live in the region?

Varda Meyers Epstein is editor and contributor at the Kars4Kids educational blog for parents.

On May 14, President Obama said that the two-state solution is “vital” for peace between Israel and its Arab population.  Furthermore, in a Huffington Post interview dated March 21, the president reiterated his belief that “[a] two-state solution is the only way for the long-term security of Israel, if it wants to stay both a Jewish state and democratic.”

The question is why anyone is still talking about a two-state solution.  After all, no one person or body has succeeded in imposing or implementing this “solution” to the satisfaction of all parties, even going back as far as the 1937 Peel Commission, when it was first suggested that the Mandate for Palestine could be divided into two states for two peoples.  And if we can all agree that the two-state solution hasn’t worked, one might reasonably ask whether the two-state solution is really the “only” solution available toward the resolution of what Ruth Wisse calls “the Arab war against Israel and the Jews.”

Isn’t it time to come up with something better – something that works?  Otherwise, aren’t we merely proving Einstein’s axiom that insanity is repeating the same thing over and over again and expecting different results?  Maybe the reason why president after president has failed at making the two-state solution a reality is that it’s an unworkable idea?

Yet, again and again, American presidents tell us that the “only” way forward is with this idea that no one has been able to effectively implement.  Have the American people really elected president after president with no truly new, groundbreaking solutions to the problem?  At what point does America offer something fresh and untried that might make a difference or, alternatively, admit failure and bow out?

Even the late, unlamented Moammar Gaddafi did better than that.  He, at least, came up with a new idea, “Isratine.”  So why is America, not to mention the EU, beating a dead horse?

From the perspective of the so-called Palestinians, the two-state solution doesn’t adequately address their aspirations.  They want not just autonomy and Judea and Samaria.  They want all the territory known as the State of Israel.  As the two-state solution does not achieve this goal, the Palestinians will never accept the two-state solution.

From the perspective of most Israelis, ceding Judea and Samaria to its Arab population will only make things worse for Israel.  For one thing, it’s salami tactics.  You give one slice, and they demand another.  Better not to give them any slices at all.  Or at least hold your ground and refuse to give another inch, literally, or have your weakness exploited.  

For another thing, ceding more territory means leaving Israel more vulnerable to attack.  This truth exposes the rot at the core of the two-state solution: that leaving Israelis further exposed at the middle to terror and mayhem is the antithesis of a “solution.”  Or rather, the two-state solution is a solution that more closely resembles Hitler’s Final Solution, in which millions of Jews die to placate anti-Semites.  

This will neither keep the Jewish State Jewish nor make it democratic.  It will lead to Israel’s ultimate eradication.  

So there it is, all laid out: the truth of the two-state solution and what it can and cannot achieve.  It’s not enough for the Arabs.  It’s way too much for the Jews.  

What are we to conclude, then, from the insistence of American presidents (beginning with Lyndon B. Johnson) on pursuing this failed solution that is, in fact, no solution at all?  Are we to understand that after all, the U.S. and the EU want only for Israel to disappear?  Is the eradication of Israel the reason for beating the dead horse that is the two-state solution?   

Or is the two-state solution, rather, all about the pretense of giving a damn about the people who actually live in the region?

Varda Meyers Epstein is editor and contributor at the Kars4Kids educational blog for parents.