Let there be no mistake: President Obama’s attack on Israel’s right to govern in eastern Jerusalem has nothing to do with American national interests, and nothing to do with a “peace process.” Other American leaders may have disagreed with Israeli policy, but none of them made it a casus belli.
No other prominent politician sought to impose the “two-state solution,” based on 60-year-old cease-fire lines with Jordan, instead of a negotiated agreement. Obama’s move leaps beyond all previous “accords,” plans and “road maps.” Never before has the United States sought to dictate the terms of Israeli surrender, thereby undermining its only reliable ally in the region.
Obama’s obsession with the establishment of a second Arab Palestinian state might be understandable if it were based on a realistic appraisal of conditions as they are, instead of what they might be. The warning signals are there.
Two dramatic shifts have made the “two-state solution” irrelevant: the stand-off victory of Hezbollah in Lebanon and the hegemony of Hamas in Gaza and many areas of the West Bank, nominally under the Palestinian Authority, controlled by Fatah. One has to be ignorant, and/or blind not to appreciate what these situations mean – especially given the threats from Iran.
The developments have led to the widespread recognition, especially among Israelis, that the so-called “Oslo process” (“land for peace”) has failed, that Israel has no “peace partner,” and, therefore, that a second Arab Palestinian state is no longer relevant.
Today, unilateral withdrawal from Yehuda and Shomron (“the West Bank”) and the creation of a sovereign Palestinian state is a “clear and present danger,” not only to Israel, but to the entire region.
Refusing to consider any alternatives to the “two-state” model, however, the United States and EU countries focus on an “end to the conflict,” without necessary pre-requisites.
During the last 40 years, Israeli leaders conveyed the message that “the Palestinian problem” is ours and we can fix it. This was the motivation behind various proposals: Labor’s offers to exchange “land for peace,” Likud’s autonomy plan, confederation with Jordan, the First Lebanese War against the PLO, Rabin’s recognition of the PLO and the establishment of a Palestinian state, Barak’s offers at Camp David, Sharon’s unilateral withdrawal from Gaza and Northern Shomron, and the current government’s failures in Lebanon and Gaza.
All of these policies failed because they were not reality-based, but clung to a desperate Israeli desire for an end to the conflict. Each time Israel paid the price and made concessions, however, the price rose, and the conflict continued.
The “two-state” proposal based on Israel’s 1949 borders is also doomed to fail for several reasons:
(1) Palestinians’ opposition to any solution; their refusal to recognize authentic Jewish rights and claims and their refusal to accept Israel’s existence.
(2) A negotiating process confounded by terrorism. Israel demands an end to terrorism before making broader concessions; the Palestinians demand concessions first and reducing terrorism later – perhaps, if that is at all possible or their plan (which all evidence suggests it isn’t).
(3) Political/demographic reality is that Israel cannot return to the 1949 Armistice lines.
(4) UNRWA continues to support the “Palestinian right-of-return;” it is part of the problem, not a solution.
(5) Even if all of the above could be resolved, a stable Palestinian state is unlikely.
Rather than abandon vital national interests, the only practical and rational policy for America, the region, and Israel, is one based on security and reality: Islamic terrorism, Jihad, is and will be a persistent threat. That should be Pres. Obama’s main concern.
In comparison, issues such as definitions of Israel’s borders and demographic predictions are irrelevant. “Political horizons” can only have meaning when there is a stable government that is accountable and responsible. Otherwise, such proposals are recipes for disaster.
At the least, the Obama administration must present not only a realistic, coherent policy, but an explanation of how and why it will work. Slamming Israel is not a substitute for reason.