Commentary Magazine


Contentions

The No-State Solution

In the last ninety years, there have been ten formal peace proposals, every one of them accepted by the Jews and rejected by the Arabs.  The two-state solution, having already had more lives than a cat, is now on its way out, the casualty of one-too many Arab rejections.  After a trip to Sderot, Michael Yon yesterday reported:

The idea of a two-state solution, once popular with many Israelis, is evaporating. More and more Israelis are coming to believe that any appeasement with the Palestinians is merely a reward for terrorism. And so it is. The Palestinians have become prisoners by their own hand. The hand that builds the bombs, wields the guns, and welds the rockets, has caused a fence to be built around them.

They are isolated and imprisoned. But it’s not only Israel who’s done this. The Gaza Strip borders Egypt, and Egypt has done the same. . . . If the Palestinians truly were a peaceful lot, victims only of Israel, one might think that they would have free entry into Egypt. But they do not.

George Mitchell will now take on the task of the prior Secretary of State, who transformed herself into a special envoy, overseeing a year-long negotiating process with endless trips to create a Palestinian state as her “legacy” – and came up dry.  No one reasonably thinks the new envoy will succeed.

In place of the two-state solution, some favor a one-state solution.  But that proposal is a non-starter for several reasons – beginning with the fact it is not intended as a solution but as a means of dismantling Israel as a Jewish state.  It is most often used simply to threaten Israel if it does not make the concession du jour.  In any event, it is impractical:  Fatah and Hamas cannot live in a single state even with themselves.

Some favor a three state solution, featuring Hamastan and Fatahland, perhaps in federations with Egypt and Jordan.  But not only do Egypt and Jordan not support it; neither do the Palestinians.  A poll published this week found that 1% favor it.  Egypt and Jordan might favor a one-state solution as long as Israel is the state at risk; if the solution is for Egypt or Jordan to do the absorbing, they see the same existential threat Israel does.

That leaves, by process of elimination, the no-state solution.  The State Department has become so wedded (against all evidence) to a Palestinian state as a “solution” that it has failed to consider that the real solution may be no state at all.  This solution would be patterned on what Israel and Egypt agreed upon in their 1978 peace treaty:  eventual Palestinian autonomy, without control of borders or airspace.

The no-state solution would be better than the one-, two- and three-state ones, because (like democracy compared to other forms of government) it would be the worst except for all the others.  But unlike the others, it might one day be possible.