Israel vs. Palestine – There May Never Be a Two-State Solutionadmin
I owe a sincere apology to the Jewish people in my life, my cousins, my friends. I did not realize that the devastation wrought by the Hamas terrorists on October 7th was so extreme, and so contrary to the \”Rules of War\”, i.e., that the fighting should be between armies, and not with civilians. Innocent people died on October 7th. At least nine hundred innocent people died, including children. And thousands more were injured. Over 100 were taken hostage. Israel has never experienced an attack of this nature in the 75 years of its existence – seventy-five years of being a Jewish state surrounded by Arab countries who passionately abhor their existence. Never has Israel been so caught unaware, so unprepared, so totally taken by surprise… and so horribly attacked. This is worse than any war they have seen since 1948. They are a country in mourning, as are Jews around the world who love Israel with all of their hearts.
Israel is also a country whose ability to go on the offensive as a form of defense is legendary. And I, like many pro-Palestinians, am afraid for those in Gaza who have to try to survive the wrath of Israel. Israel will not play, they will not negotiate. They are at war, supposedly with Hamas, but inescapably with the Palestinians. Once again.
I stated my position a few weeks ago, while Israel was warning the inhabitants of Gaza to flee south, and the world was hoping that Israel would not crush Gaza in an act of retribution. I felt that the Hamas’ act of terrorism was a result of Israel’s historic disregard for Palestinians. I have a cousin, not Jewish, who regularly blasts me with posts about Israeli apartheid and mistreatment of Palestinians within their border, at the same time that Israeli settlers make inroads on the lands that have been set aside for Palestinians to live in peace. Hamas claims that it was retribution for last April’s attack on the Al-Aqsa mosque in East Jerusalem, where Palestinians were praying during Ramadan, but Israeli settlers wanted access to. There are many accounts of what happened, the worst being the injury and arrest of 400 Palestinians who were met by gas and stun guns as the Israeli military attempted to clear them out for the Israeli settlers’ benefit. There was impotent outrage from the Palestinians. They are not citizens in their own land.
Tensions have been mounting for the last two years between Israelis and Palestinians, and innocent men and women have died. Rocket fire has been exchanged. Arrests have been made. And the world has watched in growing alarm at the fight waiting to happen.
Meanwhile, Trump has moved the US Embassy to Jerusalem and Biden is trying to broker a peace between Israel and Saudi Arabia, one of the last holdouts from the Arab Israeli Wars of 50 years ago. Right when the Arab world is finally coming to terms with Israel’s enduring existence, Hamas strikes. The timing is auspicious. As Israel predictably retaliates, once again, they will be seen as the monster, and a world-wide Pro-Palestinian movement will evolve.
In my dream world of ignorance, I wondered whether this madness could finally be resolved by a two-state solution. I had been saddened when Netanyahu’s hard right administration had put a nail in the two-state coffin. And I say ignorance because my knowledge was that of an outsider. Continues to be that of an outsider. Should I even have an opinion? Well, if the US is going to arm Israel, which they will, then I think I have a right. But it needs to be based on fact. And the fact is: Palestinians don’t want a two-state solution. Most Palestinians have NEVER wanted a two-state solution. Palestinians never wanted Israel to exist. The two-state solution was proposed by outsiders, while the land of Palestine was occupied by the British. When Israel was founded in 1948, there were 600,000 Jews and 1.4 million Palestinians. The borders of Israel favored the Jews even though there were more Palestinians on the land. As Israel opened its doors to Jewish immigrants, their population tripled within 10 years, even while Palestinians lived there, as they had for generations. Israel established itself as a Jewish nation, even while having non-Jewish inhabitants. And yet the Arabs stay, because it is their home.
In a poll taken in 2014, 60% of Palestinians still didn’t want Israel to exist. They want to reclaim the land and establish a Muslim state. It is part of their religious concept of jihad, to fight those who are non-Muslim. There is a minority interested in a two-state solution, and there is also a group interested in a one-state solution where Arabs and Jews have equal citizenship. But even this group believes that it is Allah’s Will that Israel would eventually become a Muslim state. More recent polling in September 2023 indicated that many Palestinians believe that the way forward is through armed struggle. Again, jihad raises its head, and these Palestinians are uncompromising. At the same time, other Palestinians would be willing to compromise in exchange for more jobs, more income, better quality of life. There is extensive poverty in Gaza.
With all of the reading that I have done, I have come to believe that a temporary brokered peace, after Israel damages northern Gaza beyond repair, is the most likely and unsatisfactory outcome. As long as Palestinians believe that the land is theirs by right, and armed struggle is a reasonable path forward, there is no safety for Israel in a one-state solution. Israel may rout Hamas, but another military organization will replace it, with plenty of complicit Palestinian civilians in the background. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict may never end, much as we outsiders might wish for it. There is no point in wanting something like a two-state solution for the Palestinians if they themselves do not want it.