Is the Two-State Solution in Palestine Still Alive?

Benjamin Netanyahu in the 1970’s

Benajamin Netanyahu Today

What does Netanyahu’s big election win mean for the future of Arab-Israeli coexistence? It is a right-wing success, a challenge to liberals and a victory of fear over hope. There is fear of Hamas militants in Gaza, fear of Iran’s nuclear potential, and fear of Obama’s utopian objectives and his lack of understanding of Middle East realities.

Netanyahu is convinced that Mahmoud Abbas is not capable of heading a viable Palestinian state. So is the two-state solution dead and buried? It certainly seems to be, even as Netanyahu is now soft-pedaling his earlier pessimistic statements. This has been a masterful performance on his part, a skillful tap dance while juggling many balls in the air. This fancy footwork means that he has had to convince the Israeli people that he alone could provide security while at the same time trying not to alienate the rest of the world by adopting a hard line stance.

How can there be a Palestinian state when Jewish settlers are occupying much of the land that was to be part of that state? How can there be a Palestinian state as long as Israel will not consent to the division of Jerusalem? How can there be a Palestinian state when the Palestinian Authority is threatened by Hamas militants? How can there be a Palestinian state when Iran-supported Hezbollah continues to fire missiles at Israel or when ISIS (which calls itself DAESH) is only waiting for an opportunity to march into Jerusalem?

The disintegration of the Middle East as a whole is posing a threat to Jordan, Egypt and Israel and certainly to any future emerging state. A Palestinian state would end up being governed by groups who have sworn enmity to Israel. This common threat has brought Israel closer to Jordan and to Egypt.

At the same time, the risk of Israel finding itself isolated from the European Community and at the mercy of sanctions adopted by the U.N. Security Council is very real.

That is why Netanyahu has had to tread carefully to appease the United States. It alone can veto any anti-Israel resolutions. It is also the United States that contributes to Israel’s safety by helping finance the Iron Dome anti-missile system.

Now Netanyahu needs to make things easier for both the Arabs in the occupied territories and Israel’s own Arab minority population (about 20%) which is suffering from discrimination, marginalization and restrictions. They need more work opportunities, easier check-point crossings, help in rebuilding Gaza after the recent war and in general a softening of the harshness of their daily existence. Will he do that?

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  1. I was so sad when Netanyahu won, and with such a fear mongering campaign! As I’ve grown older, i’ve felt the division growing within myself between how I feel about being Jewish and how I feel about Israel. I used to be 100% pro israel, they could do no wrong, but now I don’t feel the same way.

  2. I will always thankful for for Netanyahu vivtory. Nowadays I cannot imagine Israel without Netanyahu. His name means the favor of God. In fact God anwers prayers. He is the right man, the suitable leader. No other Prime Minister could stand all this inner and outer pressure from the enemies of Israel. God bless Israel.

  3. I am an Israeli and belong to the minority that thinks Netanyahu is an unmitigated disaster to our country. As are Palestinian leaders to their citizens.

    I do have to take exception to the last paragraph of the article. the Israeli Arabs do not have to pass check points, enjoy full rights same as Jewish citizens are represented in parliament (Knesset) with 15 out of 120 members in their own party plus a few in non denominational parties. There is an Arab judge in the Supreme Court and many Arabs in other high positions. Their position is not ideal but better than regular citizens in most every Arab country.

    As regards: “the bride is already married” I suggest reading the chapter on Palestine in Mark Twains book “the Innocents abroad” which was written before political Zionism existed.

    Finally, I am a Holocaust survivor who had to be hidden for almost three years in order to escape the gas chambers between the ages of three and six. As history has taught me there is no safe place for Jews in this world. I grew up in Holland and today you cannot walk the streets there as an identifiable Jew without a good chance of being attacked, verbally or otherwise. I suggest that as things look in the USA today racism there is increasing with a chance of a racist president next year. Jews lived in Spain for over 500 years before they had to flee the inquisition. There is no guarantee it could not happen again. In Israel, with all its problems, at least we can defend ourselves and this I owe to my descendant.s

  4. I am happy to have a comment that states the Israeli point of view, You are certainly more knowledgeable than I am in the matter. I agree that Israelis can defend themselves . This does, however, come at the cost of strong security measures that Israelis accept to live with. About crossing checkpoints I was thinking of Arabs in the occupied areas . Let us also hope that that racist and ignorant presidential candidate in the US is thoroughly defeated.

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