The Two-State Solution Has Failed

At its theoretical best, it was never two states for two people.

At its theoretical best, it was never two states for two people.

It could have been four states – Jordan, the West Bank, Israel, and Gaza – for two-and-a-half-and-a-half people: Israelis in Israel; Palestinians in the West Bank, Gaza, and Jordan; and the two halves being Arabs in Israel and Bedouins in Jordan. At its worst, it is two states – Jordan and Israel – with enclaves of irredentist Palestinians supported by Iran, Syria, Venezuela and Cuba eating at their sides. And always, there are hundreds of thousands of original refugees and their descendants festering in third countries – Lebanon, Syria and Egypt – unable to go where they want, and unwilling to go where they can.

At their theoretical best, the Palestinians could have taken up President Bush’s conditions for American political support of their independence:

Peace requires a new and different Palestinian leadership, so that a Palestinian state can be born. I call on the Palestinian people to elect new leaders, leaders not compromised by terror. I call upon them to build a practicing democracy based on tolerance and liberty. If the Palestinian people actively pursue these goals, America and the world will actively support their efforts.

That was very theoretical – lyrical, but theoretical. The old, terrorist-dominated Palestinian leadership wasn’t interested in ceding authority to young technocrats, or interested in tolerance of either Jews or independent-minded Palestinians. It wasn’t interested in liberty or practicing anything. Each gift or concession Fatah and Hamas received from Israel or the international community was turned to the furtherance of violence and the veneration of death and destruction.

Cry for Palestinian children, but remember the photos on the Hamas website (now removed) of beautiful children in uniforms, pretending to be suicide bombers, marching with guns to the approval of adult men. Search the Internet for the New York Times story of August 3, 2000 by John Burns, “Palestinian Summer Camp Offers the Games of War,” alerting us that even before the so-called “second intifada” that Fatah was teaching its children that death was their destiny.”

Cry for the Palestinian economy, but remember the greenhouses – purchased on September 3, 2005 from settlers in Gush Katif for $14 million private Western dollars; employing 4,000 Palestinians; exporting $75 million worth of fruits, vegetables and flowers annually and destroyed on September 13, 2005.

Remember, too the Palestinian civil war that bifurcated leadership roughly, but not completely, along territorial lines. All the king’s horses and all the king’s men couldn’t bring Fatah leadership back to Gaza, even if we wanted to do it. And why should we?

Our new President has told us to put away childish things. One would be the idea that Palestinian nationalism ever saw its expression in two rump states straddling a strong, viable, democratic State of Israel partnered with a modern, forward-looking king in Jordan. Once we put that behind us, Israel will be more secure and the Palestinians may finally begin to look for a way out of the swamp. If they do, we should help them; if they don’t…