A quote often attributed to Albert Einstein defines insanity as doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. If this is true, then the American government, the British government, and the European Union are insane.
Last month, it was reported that US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken ordered an examination of the possibility of America recognizing a Palestinian state following the current war between Israel and Hamas. Separately, British Foreign Secretary and former Prime Minister David Cameron stated that the UK could recognize a Palestinian state even in the absence of a negotiated agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. And Vice-President of the European Commission Josep Borrell has been emphatic in his support for the creation of a Palestinian state ever since the Hamas massacre of October 7.
Are these supposedly intelligent people living on another planet?
The US and the entire Western world has relentlessly pursued the creation of a Palestinian state for over three decades now, without taking into account Britain’s offer to create an Arab state in most of the land of Israel in 1937 and the UN’s attempt to partition the land into a Jewish and Arab state in 1947. And all they have to show for their efforts is death and mayhem.
Any hope of a Two State Solution died when Yasser Arafat, instead of putting in the minimum effort to create the institutions necessary for a functioning state or to prepare the Arabs living under his rule for statehood or to live in peace, created a corrupt kleptocracy, stole billions in foreign aid from his own people, created an entire culture of incitement to murder, and chose terrorism and the mass murder of innocents as his modus operandi. Had he accepted the generous offers of statehood presented to him by Ehud Barak and Bill Clinton in 2000 and 2001, it is unlikely he would have been capable of effectively governing such a state.
The final nail in the coffin of the Two State Solution occurred when Hamas took over the Gaza Strip in 2006, shortly after Israel withdrew not only its entire military forces, but all of its civilians, from the coastal enclave. Rather than make anything productive of Gaza or work for the well-being of the people living there, every action Hamas has taken for the last two decades has been in service of its genocidal intentions for the Jewish people.
Ehud Olmert’s offer to Arafat’s successor, Mahmoud Abbas, to create a Palestinian state in 2008, was a joke. By that point, Abbas had no power whatsoever in Gaza, and he was bound to be overthrown by Hamas if made the head of a state in Judea and Samaria just as had happened in Gaza. Even if he wanted to accept a state and make peace, and there is no evidence that he ever did, self-preservation would mandate that he refuse.
In the following 15 years, Abbas has like Arafat before him done nothing to prepare his people for peace and everything to incite them to murder Jews. He has made continuing the ‘pay to slay’ program, in which the Palestinian Authority pays salaries to terrorists who murder Jews and others as well as to their families, the most important policy of his presidency. And under his rule everyone, from the smallest children to the elderly, are taught constantly that there is nothing they could do in their entire lives that is more valuable or honorable than killing Jews.
All this is to say nothing of Abbas’ corruption and repression of his own people. Not for nothing is he in the 19th year of a four-year term and deeply unpopular among the Palestinian Arabs. Their lives would not improve if he was made ruler of a state. They would continue to be oppressed and live through billions in international donations through organizations such as UNRWA rather than on their own two feet.
Is this who Blinken, Cameron, and Borrell want to reward with a state? Why is the creation of another failed state like Lebanon or Syria that will not live at peace or benefit anyone such a priority for them?
Israeli President Isaac Herzog, the former leader of the left-wing Labor party and no radical rightest, stated that it is too soon to even talk about a Two State Solution after the trauma all Israelis experienced on October 7, the deadliest massacre of the Jewish people since the Holocaust.
“What I want to urge is against just saying ‘two-state solution’. Why? Because there is an emotional chapter here that must be dealt with. My nation is bereaved. My nation is in trauma,” Herzog told the Associated Press in December.
“In order to get back to the idea of dividing the land, of negotiating peace or talking to the Palestinians, etc., one has to deal first and foremost with the emotional trauma that we are going through and the need and demand for a full sense of security for all people,” he said.
If this is how even a left-wing Israeli leader feels, why are the Biden Administration, the UK, and the EU pushing full-steam ahead with a plan that is guaranteed to fail?
The Trump Administration demonstrated how to make peace in the Middle East. By thinking outside the box, by standing with Israel and embracing new ideas, Trump’s team brought peace and normalization agreements between Israel and four Arab and Muslim states, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Morocco, and Sudan.
The Trump Administration did not abandon the Two State Solution. Trump’s ‘deal of the century’ featured the creation of a Palestinian state. The secret of how the Trump Administration succeeded where all others have failed is that it did not make the creation of a Palestinian state the be-all and end-all of its efforts.
Early in his presidency, Trump said that he would support whatever solution the parties agreed upon and was examining multiple ways to achieve peace, not just one.
In other words, unlike every other administration, the main goal of the Trump Administration in its negotiations with the various actors of the Midde East was peace, not a Palestinian state. This is the right approach.
Peace, in its most basic form, is the absence of violence. It means no Hamas, no more October 7s, no more suicide bombings, no more rocket attacks, no more stabbings, no more rammings, no more firebombings, no more lynchings, and no more stone-throwing attacks. And it means that Israel would no longer have to take action to prevent all of these attacks its citizens have been repeatedly subject to. And yet, this most basic and obvious of goals has almost never been the main goal of the American government, the British government, the European Union, or the Western world. The pursuit of a Palestinian state has almost always overridden and been treated as more important than the pursuit of peace.
An actual peace plan, a real peace plan, would be focused on ending the anti-Jewish violence and genocidal antisemitism in Gaza and the Palestinian Authority as a prerequisite for any peace agreement. Forcing the PA to end its pay for slay program would be one of the highest priorities, as would ending the incitement to murder Jews that infects the PA’s schools, media, and mosques.
All this assumes that Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and all the other terrorist organizations are taken out of the picture and cannot resume their attempts to wipe out the State of Israel and the Jewish people. It also assumes that Iran’s malign influence is ended, its evil tentacles severed forever, so that it cannot provide funding, weapons, and training to create a new Hamas or Hezbollah.
Peace will not be achieved easily or soon. It will take years to de-Nazify to society Arafat and Abbas have spent so many years deliberately Nazifying, and this will likely be impossible during Abbas’ lifetime. But that is the only way to achieve the bare minimum of what peace is, ending the conflict.
The focus on the creation of a Palestinian state to the exclusion of all else is not only misguided, it is actively harmful. It tells Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Hezbollah, Iran, and even Abbas’ Fatah organization that violence works and mass murder will be rewarded. It incentivizes more October 7s, just as Hamas has promised. It pushes the day when true peace is finally achieved further away and only invites more death. Every day they refuse to adopt a policy that has any chance in actually ending the conflict ensures that the conflict will last a day longer.
If the US, UK, EU and the rest of the world are serious about peace in the Middle East, they must change their priorities. They must stop putting the means, the Two State Solution, above the goal, peace. They must recognize that there is no value in a Palestinian state if such a state is unwilling or incapable of living in peace with its Jewish neighbors, or even effectively governing itself. They must end the insanity of pursuing the same policy for 30 years and counting, which has only brought death and destruction to both sides.
They must stop pursuing a Palestinian state, and start pursuing peace.
Gary Willig is a member of the Arutz Sheva news staff.