The myth of the two-state solution
August 9, 2019
From the title of this column you might presume that I oppose a two-state solution where majority Arabs and majority Jews live peacefully in separate independent democratic states, with guaranteed equality, and with civil and human rights protection for Arab and Jewish minorities in each state.
Since 1967, when Israel was forced to fight a war for survival against an onslaught of regular Arab armies from neighboring states, Israel has found itself in control of the lands west of the Jordan river comprising Judea and Samaria, parts of biblical Israel that were not included in the UN resolution in 1947 recognizing the right of the Jewish people to establish a sovereign state in their historic homeland.
After WW I, with the defeat of the Turks and break-up of the Ottoman Empire, the League of Nations granted separate mandates to the United Kingdom and to France to govern distinct parts of Palestine. The UK mandate covered what is now Jordan, Israel and the West Bank. The French mandate covered what is now Iraq, Syria and Lebanon. When the UN replaced the League of Nations it ratified these mandates.
The Balfour Declaration initially envisioned the creation of an Arab state east of the Jordan river and the Jewish state west of the Jordan river.
Long before Islam or any hint of an Arab national identity was created, the Romans renamed biblical Israel Palestine. At that time in history Israel or Judea comprised both sides of the Jordan valley. This was a historic attempt to erase any memory of Jewish sovereignty over these lands which had existed for more than 15 centuries; a sovereignty the Jewish people never abandoned and reinforced throughout the next 20 centuries in their prayers, culture and belief in their “Return to Zion” or in Hebrew, “Sheevat Tzion”.
Although experiencing two major exiles, there was never a time when Jews were not continually present and living in the land of Israel, including in the West Bank territories and in East Jerusalem, except when they were expelled from these areas, including Hebron, when Jordan took control of the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
The 1948 War of Independence ended in an Armistice, indirectly negotiated between the warring states. Even though confronted with the defeat of all the Arab armies by Israel, the Arab states in 1948 adopted the mantra with regard to Israel of, “no negotiation, no peace and no recognition”. The Armistice of 1948 resulted in creating what is now referred to as the 1967 borders or the Green Line.
Throughout the armistice negotiations and until Jordan’s abandonment of the West Bank territories after its defeat in the Six Day War in 1967, there was no “Palestinian” national or separate cultural or ethnic entity recognized by any of the Arab states or the international community. Nor was there any attempt to create a “Palestinian” State in the West Bank or in Gaza (which was controlled by Egypt until its loss during the Six Day War).
In realty, after numerous concessions by many Israeli governments to establish an independent Palestine state in over 95 percent of the West Bank territories with East Jerusalem as its capital, the Arabs of Palestine in every case rejected the creation of their own state.
When the right wing government of Ariel Sharon made the ultimate concession to unilaterally and unconditionally withdraw from Gaza, and in the process also uprooted and destroyed Israeli settlements in that territory, the result was the creation of a terrorist entity whose only purpose is to seek the destruction of the Jewish state and its Jewish population and the subjugation of the Arabs in Gaza to serve that purpose.
I support the two-state solution I described in the beginning of this column, but it will never become a reality if the nations of the world continue to engage in fantasy diplomacy and the pandemic of the new and old anti-semitism currently infecting the world is not eradicated.
If you wish to comment or respond you can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please do so in a rational, thoughtful, respectful and civil manner.
Mel Pearlman holds B.S. & M.S. degrees in physics as well as a J.D. degree and initially came to Florida in 1966 to work on the Gemini and Apollo space programs. He has practiced law in Central Florida since 1972. He has served as president of the Jewish Federation of Greater Orlando; was a charter board member, first Vice President and pro-bono legal counsel of the Holocaust Memorial Resource and Education Center of Central Florida, as well as holding many other community leadership positions.