Letters to the Ledger Opinion

Peace in the Middle East is Not on the Horizon

Reading the “Point/Counterpoint: Two State | One State | No State; Which solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict works best … or works at all?” commentaries (Ledger, Feb. 9, 2018), a few thoughts come to mind.

It should be obvious to all that every attempt to resolve the conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Arabs (a conflict which is a part of and a result of the broader Arab-Israeli conflict) has made things worse. Whereas there seemed to be some likelihood of peace at the start of the failed Oslo process, there is no reasonable chance of peace in the foreseeable future, certainly not until there’s a profound change in Palestinian society and its leadership.

The best thing anyone can do to bring peace closer, and save lives, is to give it a break.

When people talk about a “two-state solution,” they’re really talking about a four-state solution: Israel, Jordan (which comprises more than 3/4 of the territory of the Palestine Mandate), the West Bank (the name given to Judea and Samaria by Transjordan after capturing that territory during the 1948 war) and Gaza.

When we talk about a “two-state solution,” we mean two states for two peoples (or three, four or more), but that’s something Mahmoud Abbas has insisted he will never accept.

It’s not up to us to decide what the Palestinian Arabs do with whatever territory we give them in any hypothetical peace agreement; that’s up to them, as long as they finally let us live in peace. Many people have proposed alternatives to the so-called “two-state solution.” They’re usually disparaged, certainly by those who close-mindedly insist there’s no alternative to a two-state solution. Yet, given how harmful the fanatical pursuit of a two-state solution has been, it’s hard to see how they could be less feasible. Still, that’s not up to any of us.

Ultimately, the goal is peace. The creation of additional Arab states is a possible outcome, but treating the so-called “two-state solution” as a goal is misguided, counterproductive and downright harmful.

Alan Stein
Netanya, Israel
Natick, Massachusetts

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