The list of those who are beginning to have a more realistic view of the two-state solution is growing by the day.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel was the latest to concede that “this is not the time for progress” on Palestinian statehood, following the lead of the United States and even the United Nations. “We in the EU and in Germany are trying to see things realistically.”
Last May, U.S. President Barack Obama conceded that, despite his best efforts, he was not going to succeed in establishing a Palestinian state by the end of his second term. “We worked very hard, but, frankly, the politics inside of Israel and the politics among the Palestinians, as well, made it very difficult for each side to trust each other enough to make that leap,” he said in answer to a reporter’s question.
“And what I think at this point, realistically, we can do is to try to rebuild trust — not through a big overarching deal, which I don’t think is probably possible in the next year… if we can slowly rebuild that kind of trust, then I continue to believe that the logic of a two-state solution will reassert itself.”
In Israel, too, the political left has acknowledged that peace talks with PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas are a waste of time. How did Zionist Camp (the old Labor party) chairman Yitzchak Herzog put it? “I cannot see in the current reality how the two-state solution could be implemented.”
His statement evoked outrage among die-hard Laborites and others who worship at the altar of the peace process, but the anger quickly died down in the face of political reality.
Even the Palestinians have given up hope of acquiring a state. That explains why PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas felt comfortable telling the United Nations General Assembly last September that he was no longer bound by the Oslo Accords, the foundation of the peace process.
And that is why his foreign minister, Riyad al-Maliki, delivered a bombshell last week in Japan when he said: “We will never go back and sit again in direct Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.”
What’s changed? The disintegration of the Middle East, the massive movement of migrants into Europe and the mounting threat of global terror have all pushed the Palestinians way down on the international community’s priority list. Abbas had years to prove himself, to show that he was a leader who could assume control of a single, governable Palestinian entity and make concessions for peace, but he wasn’t up to the task.
To his credit, he allowed for security cooperation with Israel and spoke out against violence as a means of achieving political ends, but he didn’t do anything about the incitement in the Palestinian media or the naming of city squares after killers of Jews — “martyrs” as he calls them — or about continuing generous monthly payments to families of murderers.
And he never crossed the Rubicon and accepted Israel as a Jewish state.
In the current international climate, the world is beginning to appreciate what Israel has been saying all along: that it is, baruch Hashem, an island of stability in the most unstable region in the world. And that this is not the time for experiments, not the time to create a Palestinian state and hope for the best.
Much of the world is willing to hear and accept Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s arguments that an Israeli withdrawal from any territory will create a vacuum that will be filled by the most extremist elements. It understands the folly of placing international forces in the Jordan Valley or elsewhere to assume responsibility for Israel’s security. It understands that Israel’s demand for a demilitarized Palestinian entity is just.
Of course, there is an exception to every rule, and the exception in this case is France.
Instead of accepting that the two-state solution is a dead horse, it is planning an international conference and warning Israel in advance that if no agreement is reached, it will recognize a Palestinian state. In other words, the Palestinians have nothing to lose. They can dig in their heels, make no concessions, refuse to even talk to Israel as Maliki threatened, and come out winners.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu charitably called the French proposal “mystifying” and counterproductive in that it provides the Palestinians no incentive to compromise.
“It says, ‘We shall hold an international conference but, if it doesn’t succeed, we are deciding in advance what the consequence will be — we shall recognize a Palestinian state,’” he told reporters during a visit to Berlin. “This, of course, ensures in advance that a conference will fail, because if the Palestinians know that their demands will be accepted… they don’t need to do anything.”
The idea is so bad that even EU foreign minister Federica Mogherini is opposed, telling Netanyahu last week that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict can only be solved “in direct negotiations between the parties.”
Why is France going against the flow? Because it hopes that taking up the Palestinian cause will put it on the good side of radical Islam and spare it the ruthless terror that has already shaken the country. Furthermore, its politicians are playing to their growing Muslim constituencies.
It should be clear to Paris that selling Israel short won’t bring security, and jeopardizing the lives of Israelis will not save a single French life.