Commentary Magazine


Contentions

Obstacles to Peace

In “The Two State Solution Illusion,” the Vancouver Sun National Post has a devastating report on a meeting earlier this week with Khaled Abu Toameh, the Arab West Bank and Gaza correspondent for the Jerusalem Post, held while Ottawa’s political leaders were meeting at the same time with Mahmoud Abbas:

[W]hile the Conservatives condemned Israel’s settlements as an obstacle to a peaceful “two-state solution”, with Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff and Abbas also mouthing support for the same vision for Israel and the Palestinians, Toameh couldn’t help but chuckle. “I laugh when they talk about a two-state solution,” he said. “It’s unreal. It’s not going to work. But we all have to say we support it, maybe because that’s what [U.S. President Barack] Obama wants.”

. . . [Toameh] dismisses [the idea of a two-state solution] because, as those living in the territories well know, the Palestinians cannot even co-exist with themselves, let alone with Israel. Since Yassir Arafat died-”the only good thing he ever did,” Toameh says-life for the average Palestinian has gone from miserable to worse; the territories descended into low-intensity civil war, with 2,000 Palestinians killed in the last three years amidst the political and revenge-motivated attacks of Hamas on Fatah and Fatah on Hamas, as well as the marginal mayhem of terrorist groups such as the Islamic Jihad Movement in Palestine, Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades and the Popular Resistance Committees. For the first time, more Palestinians are killed from internecine violence than in conflicts with Israel.

Toameh thinks neither Fatah nor Hamas actually govern in their respective areas, and that both have proven themselves incapable of doing so:

Neither [Fatah or Hamas] party enjoys credibility or actually governs in any real sense the anarchic territories, where unemployment exceeds 60%-though Hamas is at least closer to legitimacy, enjoying far more popular support than Abbas does (Palestinians see Western support for Fatah as Zionist meddling, he says, driving them further into the arms of Hamas and other jihadists). “Abbas doesn’t even have power in downtown Ramallah, where he works and lives,” he says.

. . . Far from demonstrating a capability to create a functioning, responsible civil society, he says, Palestinians have only proven their willingness to tolerate chaos, mob-rule and terror. They watched as, instead of building hospitals and schools and infrastructure with the billions sent to Ramallah and Gaza, Arafat lined his own pockets, Fatah fattened its cronies, and Hamas purchased weapons. . . .

. . . Palestinians have opted to make for themselves a new Afghanistan, a savage playground of corrupt warlords and Islamist fanatics. The world already has enough states like that. And any so-called solution that proposes to create another is no solution at all.

Somehow, I don’t think freezing all settlement activity is going to solve this problem, nor will any grand new plan.