David FriedmanThe writer serves as the President of American Friends of Bet El. He is a practicing trial lawyer in New York and maintains a residence in Jerusalem.
There has never been a “two-state solution” – only a “two-state narrative.” The former never existed because a “solution” to the Israel-Palestinian dispute would have required, as a threshold matter, that Palestinians accept Israel as a Jewish state, renounce terrorism, discontinue anti-Israel incitement in their schools and abandon their desire to flood Israel with so-called “refugees” from other countries who never spent a day of their lives in Israel.
Notwithstanding “agreements” reached at Camp David, Oslo, Wye Plantation and elsewhere, neither Yasser Arafat nor Mahmoud Abbas ever had any intentions to observe the minimal conditions required of a two-state solution. And not necessarily because of ideological differences, but rather because the creation of a democratic Palestinian state would have abruptly caused the end of the villainous Arafat/Abbas regime and its corrupt stranglehold on the blood money extracted for years from the US and other western nations.
The Arafat/Abbas shakedown – a masterful game of extortion played out on the world stage – goes like this: They threaten the United States that if they don’t receive a massive sum of unrestricted cash, they will not be able to “restrain” terrorist attacks against Israel and other targets around the world. Such attacks will force the United States to defend Israel’s right of self defense and thereby jeopardize its ability to maintain the appearance of a “balanced approach” in the Middle East.
This, in turn, will make it more difficult for America to maintain its once highly profitable relationship with the Saudis and other Gulf states. The US State Department – with a hundred-year history of anti-Semitism -- promotes the payoff of corrupt Palestinians in exchange for their completely duplicitous agreement to support a two-state solution.
The US then pressures Israel to uphold this non-existent “solution” and, lo and behold, the United States is at the epicenter of a “peace process” and well-positioned to access the wealth of the Persian Gulf without interference from the rage of the “Arab Street.” Participation in this scam also occasionally results in the receipt of a Nobel Prize.
Once Arafat, and now Abbas, receive their ill-gotten bribes, they put most of the money off-shore in anonymous bank accounts, and purchase enough muscle and fire-power to control and subordinate their constituents (who have never known any other form of government). Importantly, they never permit any substantial funds to be used to improve the quality of Palestinian Arab life, thereby ensuring that the street rage that is so essential to their extortionate threats is never extinguished.
That’s the “two-state solution” – an illusion that serves the worst intentions of both the United States and the Palestinian Arabs. It has never been a solution, only a narrative. But even the narrative itself now needs to end.
The narrative needs to end because it is preventing the opportunity for real progress that has the potential to improve the lives of Palestinian Arabs and Israelis alike. Instead of enabling Abbas to steal hundreds of millions of dollars from his people and to perpetuate an environment of poverty and despair, the United States, once and for all, must call his bluff, and demand complete accountability and transparency before any funds are released. Even if Abbas threatens a hundred intifadas, call his bluff. This cycle must end.
The US State Department – with a hundred-year history of anti-Semitism -- promotes the payoff of corrupt Palestinians in exchange for their duplicitous agreement to support a two-state solution.
The approach to peace between Israel and the Arabs living in Judea and Samaria now should be premised upon the fact that the Arabs dislike Abbas and his ruling class even more than do the Jews. These Arabs are far better informed with regard to world affairs than their parents: they know there’s a better life out there, they know that Israeli Arabs receive the best education from the best universities in the Middle East, they know that education is critical for economic advancement, and they know that they are being subjugated and deprived of all the things they see others obtaining.
Palestinian Arabs are now heading in two distinct directions: the completely disenfranchised are becoming more radicalized and moving towards ISIS; the remainder are looking for a share in a developing world with enormous possibilities. Critically, neither group cares a wit about whether they are governed by Abbas or Netanyahu – in their minds it makes no difference and has no effect on their lives.
This is why the “two-state narrative” has become a damaging anachronism. It is a discussion of an illusory solution in search of a non-existent problem. What we need to focus on is identifying and supporting the Palestinian Arab existing and aspiring middle class – hopefully, and quite possibly, the majority of the population -- and advancing their education, infrastructure and opportunity. These folks want a better life and have absolutely no confidence in getting there through the Palestinian Authority ruling regime. At this juncture, a Palestinian state is the last thing the middle class wants – they know better than anyone how corrupt and inept their people are at self-government.
Much has changed over the decades since the two-state narrative began. Palestinian leaders have a much harder time lying to their people. Palestinians can witness – through the internet and first hand experience – the advantages of integration into Israeli society and the bankrupt values and barbarism of radical Islam.
In addition, Saudi Arabia is running out of money, America and Israel are both energy independent and Israel’s neighbors – Jordan and Egypt – are far more concerned about ISIS and Iran than about Judea and Samaria. The world is a different place, diplomatic and security alignments have shifted, and only Mahmoud Abbas, John Kerry and Hillary Clinton are still stuck in the past, clinging to stale ideas that will only continue to fail.
Radicalized Palestinian terrorists need to be rooted out and eliminated. But the remainder – perhaps the majority – of Palestinians should finally benefit from the hundreds of millions of dollars in bribes paid by the US State Department to Abbas. Fostering a Palestinian middle class is the solution of the 21st century and it has nothing to do with two states.