Neither One Nor Two States

By Ted Belman

Will that be one state or two?

Pres Trump told PM Netanyahu in their joint press conference on Wednesday, he that “likes the one both parties like.” He also said on another occasion that he wasn’t going to pressure Israel to make a deal.

The importance of his remarks is that the object of the exercise for the US is to make a deal rather than to create a Palestinian state. The push back on this has been substantial, not only from the EU and the UN but also from some officials in the State Department.

To deflect some of the criticism, the Nikki Haley, the US Amb to the U.N., framed it this way, “We absolutely support the two-state solution but we are thinking out of the box as well.”

“The solution to what will bring peace in the Middle East is going to come from the Israelis and the Palestinian Authority,” Haley said. “The United States is just there to support the process.”

Saudi Arabia and the Gulf Emirates have been working together with Israel to confront their common enemy, Iran. Both Netanyahu and Trump want to build on this and formalize it. They hope that as part of building this alliance, Saudi Arabia and the Emirates will soften their demands on Israel regarding the solution to the Arab/Israeli conflict or perhaps enter a peace agreement with Israel without reference to the conflict.

DEBKAfile reports that

“these sentiments reflected agreement in principle between Trump and Netanyahu to seek an Israeli peace accord with Saudi Arabia and the Gulf emirates as the lead-in to negotiations for an accord with the Palestinians. Egypt, Jordan and Turkey with whom Israel already has normal relations would jump in later. This deal fits in with the US plan reported more than once on these pages for a regional peace between the Sunni Arab nations and the Jewish State.”

At the press conference, Trump also said, “This is one more reason why I reject unfair and one-sided actions against Israel at the United Nations — just treated Israel, in my opinion, very, very unfairly — or other international forums, as well as boycotts that target Israel.”

That was not the first time that he indicated that he would not tolerate the U.N.’s war on Israel.

To buttress this, Haley said in her U.N.S.C. remarks, “I am here to say the United States will not turn a blind eye to this anymore.  I am here to emphasize that the United States is determined to stand up to the U.N.’s anti-Israel bias.”

The message to Saudi Arabia and the PA is that they can no longer fight Israel through the U.N.  It is hoped that Saudi Arabia will be more amenable to burying the hatchet particularly given the threat from Iran. The PA will realize this is a blow to them, one of many to come.

But let us go back to the one-state, two-state choice.

Neither is doable.

Israel will not accept a bi-national state inherent with the one-state choice. The PA won’t accept it either, if there isn’t such a state. Neither will compromise on this.

As for the two-state plan, Netanyahu laid out his long-standing demands in the press conference:

“But rather than deal with labels, I want to deal with substance.  It’s something I’ve hoped to do for years in a world that’s absolutely fixated on labels and not on substance.  So here’s the substance:  There are two prerequisites for peace that I laid out two years — several years ago, and they haven’t changed.

“First, the Palestinians must recognize the Jewish state.  They have to stop calling for Israel’s destruction.  They have to stop educating their people for Israel’s destruction.

“Second, in any peace agreement, Israel must retain the overriding security control over the entire area west of the Jordan River.  Because if we don’t, we know what will happen — because otherwise we’ll get another radical Islamic terrorist state in the Palestinian areas exploding the peace, exploding the Middle East.”

He went on to say:

“Now, unfortunately, the Palestinians vehemently reject both prerequisites for peace.  First, they continue to call for Israel’s destruction — inside their schools, inside their mosques, inside the textbooks.  You have to read it to believe it.

“They even deny, Mr. President, our historical connection to our homeland.”

Both of these pre-requisites have been adamantly rejected by both the Palestinians and all Arab states from day one.  Obviously, if the Saudis agree, the Palestinians would be isolated in their refusal.

But even if they accept such pre-requisites, Israel will still insist on borders which include most of the settlements so that their citizens don’t have to be uprooted as they were in Gaza. Aside from Jerusalem, there are close to 500,000 Israelis living in Judea and Samaria, their homeland. The political will or the physical ability to remove even 100, 000 of them is not there.

Another reason Israel wants to retain part of these lands is that they wish to widen their midriff from 6 miles to perhaps 30 miles or even more. Naftali Bennett, head of the Jewish Home Party, is demanding that Israel annex all of Area C as laid out by the Oslo Accords.

If this sounds overly aggressive to some of you, let me state for the record, these lands are not Palestinian occupied territories.  They are territories awarded to Jews/Israel by the Palestine Mandate. The U.N. or anyone who believes in international law, has no power to change that.  Furthermore, Israel has no obligation to relinquish any part of these lands having come into possession of them by means for a defensive war.

U.N.S.C. Res 242 did not require Israel to withdraw from all the territories she liberated in the ’67 War. It will surprise you to learn that the entire West Bank, properly named Judea and Samaria, amounts to only 10% of the territories.

Pres Trump and PM Netanyahu are now working out an understanding of what and where Israel can build in Judea and Samaria (West Bank).  It is fairly certain that Israel will be permitted to build inside the settlement blocs and inside Jerusalem. But what if anything will she be permitted to build in the rest of Judea and Samaria?

Those who want Israel to freeze construction essentially want Israel to hold these lands in trust for the Palestinians no matter how long it takes to reach agreement. Why should she do this given that she has the legal right to these lands? If anything, a freeze forestalls an agreement because there is no cost to the PA’s policy of not negotiating or compromising.  On the contrary, allowing Israel to build puts enormous pressure on the PA to cut a deal.  The longer it waits, the more construction. So rather than settlement construction being an obstacle to peace, it advances peace.

Although the international community keeps declaring that the settlements are illegal, the truth is otherwise.
See The Legal Case for Israel’s ‘Settlements’

Unfortunately, even Trump, wants to curtail Israel’s right to build on lands given to her by the Palestine Mandate.

So, it would appear, neither the one-state nor the two-state solution will be agreed upon. To achieve peace, the U.S. must think outside the box, as Haley suggests.

David Friedman, Trump’s trusted friend on matters of Israel and present nominee for the post of US Ambassador to Israel, before Trump’s election, gave an interview to Algemeiner in which he said:

“We trust Israel. We think it is doing an excellent job of balancing its respect for human rights and its security needs in a very difficult neighborhood. Israel is a partner with the US in the global war against terrorism. And we want our partner to be attendant to that task and not distracted by foreign countries telling it what to do. That’s really the overall premise of the policy — to respect Israel as a partner, and not to unduly influence its decisions.”

“It is inconceivable there could be a mass evacuation on that magnitude (referring to the Israelis living in Judea and Samaria), in the unlikely event that there was an otherwise comprehensive peace agreement. It makes no sense for Judea and Samaria to be ‘Judenrein [void of Jews],’ any more than it makes sense for Israel to be ‘Arabrein [void of Arabs].’ It’s not fair.”

“The critical thing is to recognize that there is not going to be any progress on a Palestinian state until the Palestinians renounce violence and accept Israel as a Jewish state. Until that happens, there is really nothing to talk about in terms of a political process.”

Now that Trump is president, he will implement these policies just as he is implementing most of his platform promises. In essence then, he will tell countries to stop telling Israel what it should do and will tell the PA to clean up its act first. He has already told the UN to stop bashing Israel. The U.S. will no longer treat Israel as a client state but as a trusted partner.

Trump’s first priority is to push back against Iran and to build the Sunni-Israel alliance to help in so doing. The second priority will be to negotiate an understanding with Russia that ends the war in Syria, excludes Iran from Syria and defeats ISIS. The peace process is way down on the list. Meanwhile, Jarad Kushner, whose job it is to broker a deal, will spend his times below the radar, investigating the possibilities.

The New York Times recently published an article by Yishai Fleisher titled  A Settler’s View of Israel’s Future, in which he decried the two-state solution and laid out five alternatives which currently are being discussed.  I like the first one:

“The first option, proposed by former members of Israel’s Parliament Aryeh Eldad and Benny Alon, is known as “Jordan is Palestine,” a fair name given that Jordan’s population is generally reckoned to be majority Palestinian. Under their plan, Israel would assert Israeli law in Judea and Samaria while Arabs living there would have Israeli residency and Jordanian citizenship. Those Arabs would exercise their democratic rights in Jordan, but live as expats with civil rights in Israel.”

I recently wrote an article setting out my version of this plan which was first published by American Thinker. Thereafter, I published it on Israpundit with significant changes. It is followed by close to 200 very knowledgeable comments.

It needs only the agreement of Israel and the U.S.



February 21, 2017 | 4 Comments » | 43 views

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4 Comments / 4 Comments

  1. Israel to be secure needs the heights of Samaria plus the Jordan Valley. This is a security requirement that there can be no compromise on. This must be explained to foreigners.

    Many foreigners do not care about the mandate nor our history in Judea/Samaria but many of those will listen to security needs if they are trying to be objective at all and certainly if they are friends.

    This is does not mean we do not cite our rights to the land but in selling a point it makes sense to speak in language that your audience will listen to.

  2. Two states, one state, no state
    February 20, 2017 By admin
    The Palestinians already have a country of their own. It is Jordan, more than 70 percent of whose population is Palestinian.

    By Moshe Arens

    While greeting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on the White House steps, President Donald Trump stunned the world when, referring to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, he declared: “I can live with a two- or one-state solution.” He might have added the “no-state” solution to the list.

    His remarks brought forth a flurry of comments and interpretations around the world. Does this mean that the Palestinian state is dead, or that Israel is about to absorb a few million Palestinians and that the demographic demon is likely to kill the Zionist dream, or that Israel will become an “apartheid” state?

    I would suggest that we step back a little, take a deep breath, and put our brains to work. Just what are we trying to solve here? There are actually three problems – the problem of the Palestinians, the problem of the Israelis, and the problem of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It is true that they are interrelated and Trump would like to find the “ultimate deal” that would solve all three simultaneously. It is not at all clear that this is in the realm of the possible in the foreseeable future.

    What is the Palestinian problem? Are they seeking self-determination, to have a country of their own? Who would deny them that right? But everyone who knows the Middle East knows that the Palestinians already have a country of their own. It is Jordan, more than 70 percent of whose population is Palestinian. If that is not a Palestinian state then what is?

    And as all know there was a time after the Jordanian conquest of the area in 1948, when Jordan annexed the area of Judea and Samaria and the Palestinian population residing there. And there was a time, in September 1970 (Black September), when Yasser Arafat at the head of the PLO tried to take over Jordan.

    But since then the Jordanian rulers have become wary of the “West Bank Palestinians” who might overturn the Hashemite rule there, not to mention the “Gaza Palestinians” or the Palestinians still languishing in the refugee camps in Lebanon. They claim, though they may not mean it, that they prefer a two-state solution – an East Palestinian and a West Palestinian state. Like North and South Korea.

    In the meantime the Palestinians are left with a mini-state in Gaza, and the ones in Judea and Samaria under Israeli military control. Not comfortable, and unbearable to some Israelis.

    That is the Israeli problem. How does Israel rid itself of this burden without endangering the lives of Israel’s citizens, or else absorb Judea and Samaria into Israel with its Palestinian population without changing the very character of the State of Israel?

    The Israeli advocates of the two-state solution do not want any more Palestinians within the borders of the State of Israel. They believe that there are already too many Palestinians in Israel. So throw caution to the winds they say, and let there be a second Palestinian state. That is their two-state solution to the Israeli problem.

  3. Friedman and Jared K. should be able to inform Trump on what IL is allowed to do regardless of what the rest of the world think or wish!

  4. Ted: I respectfully disagree on POTUS’ priorities. Syria comes first. Trump needs Russia to have any chance of getting Hezbollah out of Syria, & back to Lebanon. Amb. Haley has noted enforcing UNSC Res 1701 as a priority. Netanyahu reportedly asked for USA recognition of Israeli sovereignty over Golan Heights. The dueling peace processes for Syria, Russia’s or the UN, come first. Jordan and Lebanon need to stabilize, which means some resolution of refugees back to safe zones.

    Then the Gulf Emirates will get more serious.

    I guess this bit of news will get echo, when it comes to any talk about ‘settlements’:

    “…Earlier this year, Israel and China reportedly reached a deal for around 6,000 Chinese construction workers to come to Israel to help with housing construction. Israel has long faced a housing shortage, in part due to a lack of sufficient construction workers.

    On Tuesday, Netanyahu was scheduled to visit a Singapore public housing estate, a visit the Israeli prime minister said he requested as he wanted to learn how the island-nation had resolved the issue. Recently, Israeli officials have also traveled to Singapore to study the city-state’s public housing system for ideas on how to help ease its own housing shortage. Ironically, in the 1960s, Singapore set up its own system after studying Israel’s. …”

    I assume the Turks and Arabs are curious about the construction worker shortage causing Israel’s housing shortage.

    Lot of pieces in that “bigger canvas”.

    Especially since North Korea wants more attention…

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