By Frederic Leder
The “two-state solution” on land between the Jordan River and Mediterranean Sea — the official policy of Israel and the United States as presently understood — is unworkable, unrealistic and unacceptable. It rests on a false version of history and as long as it and its accompanying myths are perpetuated, it stands in the way of a permanent peace or at the very least a reduced level of belligerency that allows Israel and her neighbors to coexist.
There is a new reality that has ended this untenable attempt to find a solution and it is derived from the actions of the Muslim dominated United Nations. By displacing any possibility of direct negotiations, and with the unilateral granting to ‘Palestine’ the rights the land of Israel already possesses, it has abrogated previous agreements and removed the imperative to negotiate them further. Rather than bring peace, the UN’s intrusion ensures continued conflict.
Two viable states now exist that could fill the needs of the populations involved — one being Jordan and the other Israel. It’s not a new idea, but it is one whose time is coming quickly.
In addition to the UN’s action, there has been a total rejection over a period of the last twenty years of any substantative talks between Israel and those who would build a state on land that is disputed and lies between the Jordan and Mediterranean. Though history is anathema to many and reinvented by quite a few, it does bear on future solutions and tells us what has worked in the past, giving us an idea of what might work in the future.
The first important bit of history is that “there has never been an Arab Palestinian state or similar Arab Palestinian political entity exercising any form of national sovereignty over either parcel of land” [Jordan Sekulow in the Washington Post, referring to Judea and Samaria].
It is well known that many Arabs populating the British mandated land in the early part of the twentieth century came from Syria, Egypt, and Iraq, and were drawn there by the economic opportunities created by a burgeoning Jewish state. Palestinians at that time were Jews who inhabited the area. Not until 1964, when Yassir Arafat expropriated the name ‘Palestine’ for Arab residents who lived on land he coveted, was a national conflict put in place. The world quickly took to identifying the two parties as Israelis and ‘Palestinians,’ an artificial contrivance of the last century.
Meanwhile, immediately east of the Jordan river, on 78 percent of the land which was originally part of the Mandate given the Jewish people for a homeland, three quarters of the population is made up of Arabs of the same ethnic mix and designation as those laying claim to the land of Israel. Even though ruled by the 25 percent of Jordan’s Hashemites, a tribe that migrated there from the Arabian Peninsula, the reality has always been and remains that Jordan is the ‘Palestinian’ state in the region. The land mass is huge. The population sparse. The location ideal for those whose priority is being ruled only by those who conform to their religion, ethnicity or race.
Israel’s historical right to the land mandated in 1917, and now claimed by this synthetic group of Arab immigrants, goes back 3500 years, pre-dating any Arab existence in the area. With a continuous presence from that time, and an in-gathering that has enriched the region and improved the land, Israel has built a modern day democratic entity. The Islamic rejection of that reality and their assertion that everything they possess is theirs by divine right is the ongoing cause of the conflict between Israel and her neighbors.
While all negotiations for the now nearly impossible two-state solution are premised on the absence of conflict between Arabs and Israelis, the violence not only continues but grows in intensity.
The only way of ensuring the survival of the Jewish State is for her to provide sufficient land for its people within viable, defensible borders. With Israel’s national sovereignty on the 22 percent of the Mandate granted to her from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea, Gaza can be tolerated and dealt with as any another Arab entity. An Israel safe and secure behind her natural and historic borders would provide greater opportunity to thrive for all of her inhabitants — Arab, Jew and Christian.
Over the years, rightly or wrongly, Israel made the decision to tolerate rocket barrages and restaurant bombs. However, the action of an international body is not something that she can leave unanswered. If left to stand, there are consequences, foremost of which is her right to stand as an independent nation. After two millennia living in the world as a pariah people, Israel would be condemned to Dhimmi existence as a pariah state.
No doubt problems will result inside Israel from any action Israel takes. But Israel should work to improve on something it already proffers to its Arab citizens — something denied to them in almost every other Arab land: personal freedom and choice. Local autonomy and self-governance subject to Israeli law, coupled with incentives for those who prefer to leave the Israel for Jordan and other destinations in the 22 country Arab world, is a better solution than the continued limbo-conflict that accompanies today’s temporary solutions.
This biblical injunction embraced in modern times by Golda Meir, is the only way to bring relative peace for all its inhabitants: Two viable states — one in Jordan, one in Israel.
Fred Leder is a retired oil company executive living in Westport.