Israel stands firm against unilateral declarations of a two-state solution in its war against Hamas terrorism

Hymie Rubenstein: Why Israel is right to reject a two-state solutionA day hasn’t passed since the horrors of the Oct. 7 Hamas massacre of some 1,200 innocent Israelis, aided and abetted by hundreds of ordinary Gazans, without some politician or the other calling for an immediate ceasefire, followed by a two-state solution to this latest attempt to destroy the Jewish state of Israel.

Israel pushed back stronger than ever on this foolishly naïve and patently suicidal suggestion Sunday when Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced that his government is proposing a declaration that “outright rejects” any attempts by foreign powers to create a Palestinian state.

“In light of the talk recently heard in the international community about an attempt to unilaterally impose a Palestinian state on Israel, I am bringing today a declarative decision on this issue for the approval of the government. I am sure it will be widely accepted,” Netanyahu told the cabinet in Hebrew.

Cabinet unanimously approved the declaration.

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“Israel outright rejects international dictates regarding the permanent settlement with the Palestinians,” it said. “Such an arrangement will be reached only through direct negotiations between the parties, without preconditions. Israel will continue to oppose the unilateral recognition of a Palestinian state. Such a recognition, following the massacre of Oct. 7, will reward the terrorism, a reward like no other, and will prevent any future peace settlement.”

The statement echoes what Netanyahu told U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken last week, namely that direct or even indirect recognition of a Palestinian state “would be a prize for those who planned and orchestrated the Oct. 7 massacre.”

Biden, other U.S. officials, and many world leaders have repeatedly said that Israel’s war against Hamas should end with a two-state solution, implying by this call that they would quickly recognize a Palestinian state. Such a view is rife with historical amnesia if not cynical political posturing or even outright antisemitism.

Israel has repeatedly attempted to make peace and accept a two-state solution with Palestinian and Arab leaders over the past 75 years. Still, all offers have been rejected, including the original 1947 UN partition plan that led to Israel’s establishment and Israeli offers in 2000 and 2008 that would have recognized a Palestinian state.

“I do not think a two-state solution is possible, and even if possible, it is not advisable. For more than 50 years, hundreds of self-proclaimed ‘peacemakers,’ led by the United States, have attempted to coerce Israel and the Palestinians into a two-state solution,” former U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman said last month.

Friedman, who served as the U.S. ambassador under former president Donald Trump, said these efforts fail because Palestinians won’t accept a Jewish state, there’s a high likelihood a Palestinian state would become a terror state, and the West Bank is biblical Israel, meaning Jewish and Christian holy sites would likely be destroyed absent any Israeli control.

Former Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper strongly condemned efforts to impose a quick two-state solution in a National Post editorial titled Israel’s war is just, Hamas must surrender or be eliminated. He used unequivocal words that would never be spoken by Justin Trudeau, who has equivocally muttered out of both sides of his mouth on this war.

“Israel’s war objective – the elimination of Gaza’s Hamas regime – is essential,” Harper wrote.

“Leaving the job unfinished, with Hamas’s existence tolerated and its actions contained, has been tried, and it has failed. The Israeli people cannot be reasonably asked to return to the pre-war status quo. That is the position our own nation took toward the attacks launched by Nazi Germany against us. Israel has as absolute a right to absolute security now as we did then.”

“Suggestions that a victorious Israeli army should simply walk out of Gaza and assume some harmonious “two-state solution” will emerge out of thin air is insincere and hypocritical,” Harper added. “I dare say it is also beyond foolish. That is precisely what Israeli was persuaded to do in 2005, and it is why we ended up where we are today.”

Such words need to be heeded: when it comes to the Palestinians, the world needs to stop telling Israel what to do and how to do it.

Hymie Rubenstein, a retired professor of anthropology at the University of Manitoba, is editor of REAL Israel & Palestine Report and REAL Indigenous Report.

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