Palestinians don't want 2 state solution

Benny Avini:

WITH Benjamin "Bibi" Netanyahu set to be sworn in as Israel's prime minister tomorrow, Western capitals are in a dither about the irrelevant question of Israel's commitment to the vaunted "two-state solution."

The "solution" -- based on President George W. Bush's vision of a democratic Palestine living peacefully next door to Israel -- has no relevance to the world as it is now: Palestine is further from developing a viable democracy than it was when W. set forth the idea. Questions of Bibi's commitment to the idea are just a new club for those in Washington who think that distancing America from Israel will somehow solve US problems with the larger Muslim world.

It all began with charges from Bibi's rival, Kadima Party leader Tzipi Livni. In refusing to join in the Netanyahu government, she publicly cited his refusal to declare that he is committed to a two-state solution. But the dispute was plainly more about politics (or personality) than policy: Since then, the leftist Labor Party has joined the government, and its leader, Ehud Barak, is expected to be a powerful voice in the new government, perhaps second only to Netanyahu's.

Nonetheless, European Union leaders last week announced that Israel's hopes of an upgrade in economic and diplomatic ties with the EU are all but doomed unless the new Jerusalem government declares support for the two-state solution. In his own press conference last Tuesday, President Obama similarly said that advancing the solution is "critical for us" but that he doesn't expect the Netanyahu government to make Middle East peacemaking "easier than it was."

What makes all this absurd, of course, is that Israel isn't the problem. The outgoing Israeli government was fully committed to Bush's vision. Livni, its foreign minister, endlessly negotiated with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and his aides to establish a Palestinian state. But Abbas' hold on power has been failing for well over a year, fast, while the absolutists of Hamas -- who won't even pretend to want peace with Israel -- are on the rise.


Only in myth is the Israeli right the roadblock to peace. The rightist Likud leader Menahem Begin signed the first peace treaty with an Arab state, Egypt, 30 years ago. In 1997, Bibi himself signed an agreement ceding parts of Hebron to the Palestinians, despite loud protests from the right -- and superhawk Ariel Sharon pulled Israel out of Gaza in 2005. Yet Stefan Collison of Agence France-Presse clearly expressed the prevailing "wisdom" in his question at Obama's press conference, blaming the next peacemaking failures on an Israeli "prime minister who is not fully signed up to a two-state solution and a foreign minister who has been accused of insulting Arabs."


There are several things that must be ignored for this myth to persist. First, Yasser Arafat never wanted peace with Israel and that is why he passed on it with the Clinton administration and Ahud Barack. When the Bush administration sent Gen. Zinni to restart the process, the Palestinians acted in bad faith and Arafat looked for way to kill any deal. While less dishonest, Hamas is committd to a one state solution that does not include Israel. The curret PA plays the weakness card to avoid a deal.

What the world needs to recognize is that the Palestinians are the problem. Even if they had someone willing to negotiate in good faith, they have nothing of value to offer because they are not in anyway committed to keeping others in their society from attacking Israeli noncombatants. Those in the West who are blaming Israel for the Palestinians problems just are not paying attention.


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