Can the two current proposed solutions bring peace to the region?
A persistent mantra maintains that only two possible solutions exist to the seemingly intractable, centuries-old conflict between Arabs and Jews in the Holy Land. But is that really true . . . or is there a more sensible alternative?
What are the facts?
The "One-State Solution." Some commentators advocate a one-state solution, in which Jews and Arabs would be joined in one state, with all inhabitants having the same citizenship – call it Israeli or Palestinian. But such a "solution," as most observers know, is totally unacceptable to the Jewish population. Given the murderous hate expressed daily in state-controlled Palestinian media toward Jews, this would be a recipe for a second Holocaust. Within one generation, Arabs, with their high birth rate and inevitable immigration from abroad, would be a majority. They would unleash a civil war that would make the Lebanese and the Syrian wars seem like child's play. With more than half the world's Jews now living in Israel, Adolf Hitler's most fervent genocidal wish would finally be fulfilled.
The "Two-State Solution." This second solution is favored by much of the world, including the U. S. government. But this solution is not much better than one state and almost as unacceptable to those who support the welfare and future of the Jewish state. The example of Gaza is instructive. In order to advance peace and appease world opinion, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon abandoned Gaza with no reciprocal agreement from the Palestinians. All Jewish inhabitants, most living there for generations, were expelled from their homes by Israel and resettled in "Israel proper." What reward, what thanks did Israel get for its generous gesture? Today, almost daily bombardments by deadly Hamas rockets force up to one million Israel civilians into bomb shelters. Israel's forbearance to these affronts is almost unimaginable. One can imagine how our country would respond if Mexico were to launch hundreds of rockets on San Diego. Thus it's easy to foresee what would happen if, under a "two-state solution," Israel were to abandon Judea/Samaria (the "West Bank"). Israel would surely suffer daily rocket assaults on its population centers—Tel Aviv, its international airport, its industrial heartland and its military installations. Life would become impossible.
The surrounding Arab states and Muslim countries beyond (such as Iran) would certainly join the fray and assist in the final destruction of the beleaguered and helpless Jewish state.
Which Solution Should Israel Choose? It's clear that neither the one-state solution nor the vaunted two-state solution would resolve the region's issues. How then should Israelis respond to the demand that they choose either of these "solutions"? In fact they need choose neither. Those who insist that they choose between those two "solutions" either don't fully understand the problem . . . or they oppose Israel's continued existence.
The reality is that, according to virtually every Palestinian leader, including President Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinians are not interested in a resolution of the conflict or even in the creation of a twenty-third Arab state. Their unrelenting, stated mission is destruction of the Jewish state and extermination of its inhabitants. Neither does the conflict have to do with territory. The Arab states occupy territory larger than the United States including Alaska. Israel is the size of New Jersey. Would the seething Arab-Muslim world finally lapse into peace and contentment if they were to acquire this tiny piece of land?
A Practical Solution to Resolve the Conflict. Clearly, Israel cannot agree to a "solution" that would eventually lead to the end of the Jewish state and the slaughter of its citizens. Because the Palestinian leadership refuses to negotiate peace and continues to advocate conquest of the entire Holy Land, like it or not, Israel must for security reasons remain in control of the "West Bank." However, there's no reason that even under today's current impasse the Palestinians should not have full autonomy—which they almost have today—as an "unincorporated territory." While the situation is not ideal, until the Palestinians agree to full peace with Israel, providing they do not resume terrorism, they could be welcomed as partners in the Israeli economic system and should be able to fully participate in Israel's commercial and creative life. Even without statehood, in less than a generation the Palestinians could become the most advanced and prosperous people in the entire Arab world.
Obviously the prospect of the Arabs having to wait longer for the launch of a Palestinian state will be painful for them. But this is a price that must be paid if Palestinian leaders refuse to negotiate peace and cling to the futile dream of conquering Israel. Israel has given its land in Gaza to the Palestinians in the name of peace and receives rockets in return. Israel has offered 97% of the West Bank and a Palestinian capital in East Jerusalem in the name of peace and received rejection. It's time the Arabs acclimate to a status quo of their own making and take advantage of living next to one of the most successful countries in the world. In any case they must accept that their dream of Israel's annihilation will never be fulfilled.
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Gerardo Joffe, President