A Palestinian View: There Can Be No Two-State Solution

A Palestinian View: There Can Be No Two-State Solution


Leonard Zwelling


To most of those with whom I converse or communicate, it seems that the only logical solution to the crisis in the Middle East is a two-state solution where there is a Jewish state-Israel-beside an Arab state-Palestine.

In the attached essay from The New York Times on April 7, the Palestinian writer Tareq Baconi argues that a two-state solution is impossible because the Jewish state is essentially illegitimately built on Palestinian land and the whole world is delusional in its thinking that two abutting entities, one Arab and one Jewish, are even possible even as such a thing exists with Israel and Egypt and Israel and Jordan.

Now that’s disappointing.

However, reading the essay clarifies the long-held Palestinian position that the entirety of the land between the Jordan River and Mediterranean Sea is Arab and should be Arab now in the post-colonial era since the British have gone.

The only problem with this thinking is that a lot has happened in the region since World War I when, in fact, there were more Arabs in the area than Jews. Among those things are (1) the British declaration that the Jews should have a homeland in territory that the British oversaw (the Balfour Declaration); (2) the Holocaust. The eradication of six million European Jews; (3) the 1947 partition of the British mandate into two states, one Arab, one Jewish; and (4) the repeated loss of wars by the Arabs in the area after the Arabs rejected number 3. In other words, Baconi’s position might have been tenable in 1916. It is not in 2024.

However, I hear his point of view, which, unfortunately, does not end with a viable solution to the problem as he rejects two states in the region. Yes, Arabs were more numerous than Jews in Palestine in the 1930s. Yes, there was a huge influx of Jews into the area after that once Hitler started to kill us. Yes, there are two million or so Arabs who are citizens of Israel who are treated as second-class citizens at times. And, yes, Israel has not treated the Arabs of the West Bank and Gaza well. But, yes, the Arabs have waged war on Israel since its inception in 1948 and before. It goes on to the present day.

I hear Baconi’s argument, but I don’t hear a suggested way out.

Saying that the current Israeli government is antithetical to a peaceful solution is both true and of no help. So, here’s a suggestion.

First, it is absolutely necessary that Hamas leave land adjacent to Israel. That’s Gaza. If Hamas will not surrender (and Hamas won’t), then Israel is going to have to rid Gaza of Hamas which will require a major land invasion into Rafah despite President Biden and Secretary Blinken wanting Israeli appeasement to Hamas with a cease fire and a ten to one trade of Palestinian prisoners for Israeli and American hostages. Where is the American pledge to leave no one behind? Where are American values? Did America offer a cease fire to Al Qaeda after 9/11. No! None here either.

If the Arabs want the killing of innocent civilians to stop, get Hamas to surrender and leave. If Hamas will not, then Israel will have to go and get them out.

Second, once that is done, the Arab states need to weigh in on what they want Gaza to be—a tunnel city or the next Tel Aviv. It’s up to them. It’s their people who would benefit from a different course of action in the governance of Gaza.

Third, Israelis need to decide who they want to lead their government, what they want to do about the West Bank Arabs, and whether the continued growth of West Bank settlements is a good idea. Simply put, there are as many Arabs as Jews between the river and the sea and there must be room for everyone. What’s the arrangement to be?

Mr. Baconi’s rage is understandable. The Arabs of the region have gotten a raw deal from the British, the Israelis, and the rest of the Arab world. Everyone must own his or her piece of the mess and work to fix it.

Mr. Baconi, if “the two-state solution is fantasy,” what’s reality? And it cannot be a one-state solution as that would make a Jewish homeland impossible.

We need a place to call our own.

Palestinian Arabs need one, too.

Why not two states? That’s called it a compromise and it would be a non-zero sum game win for all.

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