by Asaf Romirowsky, The Washington Examiner
It is common to hear from good-hearted individuals who are not familiar with the history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict the simple, naïve question of “why can’t Israelis and Palestinian just get along and share the land?”
Of late, a new paradigm has emerged that Zionism and the state of Israel need to accommodate the Palestinian-state-to-be by abolishing themselves. Case in point: Palestinian lawyer and activist Jonathan Kuttab suggested in a recent piece in the LA Times that, “Zionism will ultimately need to redefine its goals and aspirations, this time without ignoring or seeking to dispossess the indigenous Palestinian population. Palestinians will also have to deal with this reality, and accept – even enthusiastically endorse — the elements required to make Jews truly feel at peace in the single new state that will be the home of both people.”
Kuttab’s notion itself is an eccentric restatement of the old ‘one-state’ idea. The new demand is that Zionism should incorporate Palestinian aspirations, which, of course, contradicts the whole concept of Zionism to begin with, in order to negate itself.
However, a closer look reveals hidden goals and tactics. Since Israel will never alter the basic tenants of Zionism, which are the foundation of the Jewish state, then, if Palestinians begin to advocate for this model, Israel can still be perceived as “non-comprising” and “the” obstacle for peace in the region.
Palestinian society never saw Israel’s existence as a “right” And their leaders never cease to proclaim that Jews have no connection to the land, historically or in the present. The only right in the Palestinian narrative is their own connection to the land, although they do see Israel as a temporary military fact.
Pragmatically, the larger issue of Palestinian statehood raises the question – do Palestinians really want a state and are they prepared to take responsibility for their own people under the rubric of a state?
This will force them to give up the victimhood status they have been carrying around for over 60 years and consequently, world public opinion would be forced to judge them as a state and not as the “underdog.”
If the “radical” idea in the 1980’s amongst Peace Now activists and others was to promote the idea of two states living side by side, one Jewish and one Palestinian, over the past 20 years we have seen a slow but steady decline and rejection of this notion in favor of one Palestinian state.
Tactically, Palestinians believe that by pushing for one state in conjunction with demographics they will be able to push Israel into the sea. Given the ratio between the birth rate of Palestinians versus Jewish families, Israel will become Palestine.
The notion of an independent, sovereign Palestinian state existing alongside Israel was never part of the Palestinian worldview, and in the past they have also always rejected the notion of a single bi-national state.
It remains politically correct to call for a two-state solution, two sides living side by side while at the same time proposing one state, sometimes through warnings and other times through quasi-rational arguments such as Kuttab’s.
The very concept sounds idyllic: Two states living side-by-side in peace and harmony with free trade and a free market of ideas. However, in the real world, we are talking about an environment where on the part of one side there is no recognition of the other’s right to exist in the region, period. The majority of Palestinian society remains unwilling to accept Israel’s right and today openly call for a one-state solution, a de facto final solution for the state of Israel.
If the current Palestinian leadership truly cares about their own people they would be better served by building democratic institutions, laying down an infrastructure that will allow for social mobility all of this has a better chance of success than trying to cling to ideas that are not grounded in reality.