by Daniel Winston
The US should bury the Two-State Solution - out of an unsentimental dedication to its own national interests.
The issue of the so-called Two-State Solution (TSS) should be reassessed in the light of fundamental American interests. For more years than healthy logic should have allowed, successive US administrations have sought in vain to bestow a naive Pax Americana upon an area fraught with religious, political, and historical nuances that were never fully understood by the would-be peacemakers. The TSS is the latest iteration of such attempts. A sober look at this vague nostrum will be both illustrative of the reasons for the perpetual failure of US foreign policy in this region, as well as illuminating for a path forward that will more faithfully serve fundamental US national interests.
US security is extensively served by a strong and stable Israel. Not only is Israel a front-line floodwall against the rise and global spread of militant Islam, but her intelligence gathering and covert ops capability in the Middle East and around the world is of vital utility to the US and her allies in the global battle against Islamic terror. Should US forces need a landing pad for unplanned rapid-deployment, Israel provides a centralized location, superior technical support capabilities, and political reliability. A sovereign ‘Palestine’ would both pose a serious threat to these Israeli capabilities as well as export terror globally.
Gaza’s bloody fall to Hamas in 2005, the intrinsic and growing weakness and corruption of the Palestinian Authority, and the global rise of radical Islam are latent but visceral triggers to an Arab population long kept in poverty and rage by its leaders and the obsessively anti-Israel UN in order to serve in perpetuity as a blunt-weapon against Israel and the West. ‘Palestine’ in Judea and Samaria would quickly morph into Hamastan 2.0 and create a third radical Islamic front, joining Hamas’ existing Islamist regime to Israel’s south in Gaza and Hezbollah’s to Israel’s north in Lebanon.
The Judea and Samaria branch of this regional chain-of-fire would be far worse for Israel than Gaza and Lebanon combined, insofar as it would have mountaintop line-of-sight control over Israel’s entire strategic heartland and main population centers. The removal of Israeli forces from these mountains would also fatally cramp her ability to effectively mobilize IDF ground forces in the face of hostile Arab or Iranian movement from the east. This would degrade Israel's strategic depth by forcing her into a perpetual rear-guard war of reactionary attrition mere miles from vital civilian and military centers.
This “depth” (just a few miles in places) is already absurdly shallow and its further shrinkage can only increase the likelihood of inviting potentially deadly attacks from ‘Palestine’ and other regional players. A country that has no strategic depth is a country that has no tolerance for error or brinksmanship. Such a country is always with a finger on a hair-trigger - a reality which can only serve to permanently destabilize a region which is of great importance to the US.
Full Israeli annexation of Judea and Samaria. This is the best scenario for US interests, as it eliminates the scenario of ‘Palestine’ becoming yet another base for radical Islam. As clearly shown by Ambassador Yoram Ettinger’s sober analysis of the demographic concern, this would bring no real threat to Israel’s democracy.
Partial Israeli annexation of Judea and Samaria.This would likely entail Israeli annexation of Area C which contains the vast majority of Israeli settlers but only some 80,000 Arabs. This option is less frightening to the demography alarmists but would nonetheless be less optimal for US national interests since it, too, would surely lead to a radical Islamic State of Palestine within borders not accepted by the Arab world, or the UN.
The resulting frustration would set the stage for further “liberation” by the PLO and other Islamic and Arab terrorist organizations who, we are told, are so connected to and driven by frustration.
Full Israeli withdrawal from Judea and Samaria, as was already offered by Israeli Prime Ministers Olmert and Barak.The world would celebrate “peace in our time”, Israel would face endless war, the region’s Arab states would be destabilized and likely radicalized, and US domestic and foreign interests would suffer irreparable damage as radical Islam would be granted a UN-blessed terror-exporting base led by a smiling English-speaker wearing a suit and tie.
Contrary to the notion that a deal always can and should be made, it would be useful to recall Kissinger’s words from 1957: “It is a mistake to assume that diplomacy can always settle international disputes if there is ‘good faith’ and ‘willingness to come to an agreement’.” Decades of American efforts in the Middle East can be characterized by an extensive willingness to have an almost religious faith in the power of a good conversation and signatures on paper - patronizingly disregarding the Islamic saying of: “Kiss the hand of thy enemy, until you can cut it off.”
What is needed now is an even greater willingness to place fundamental American interests above all other considerations in a tiny neighborhood where the best of deals will almost certainly unravel and unleash horror. Rather than pursue a faulty prescription to its foregone and bloody conclusion, the US should bury the TSS - out of an unsentimental dedication to its own national interests.
The author is a Jerusalem-based writer and psychologist.
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