Commentary Mag: Israeli Opposition Leader’s Renunciation of Two-State Solution Marks Major ‘Sea Change’

An oped published on Wednesday in Commentary magazine claims that the Zionist Union party head’s declaration that the two-state solution is no longer viable marks a “sea change of major proportions” that is being ignored by the left and the Obama administration. 

The writer, Jonathan S. Tobin, begins by pointing out that confidence in the two-state solution as an answer to the Israeli-Arab conflict is “more a matter of faith than anything else.” He claims the belief that an Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank “will magically create peace” is still very strong.

Criticizing the naiveté of proponents of the two-state solution, Tobin writes:

“Those who subscribe to this theory believe that it must be diligently pursued via pressure on Israel regardless of the circumstances or the complete lack of interest in implementing such a scheme on the part of the Palestinians.”

But, he said, Zionist Union leader Isaac Herzog’s pronouncement that the two-state solution is unrealistic should make even the most dogged critics of Israel sit up and take notice, adding, “they would if they had any intellectual integrity.”

Putting the politics into perspective, Tobin explains that the Zionist Union, once known as the Labor party, was historically the flagship of Israel’s peace movement. Until now, the two-state solution was both the party mantra and the main cause of rivalry with the ruling rightwing Likud party.

Tobin concludes:

“So it is a sea change of major proportions for Herzog to openly acknowledge that for now the mantra of two states is unrealistic. Indeed, to put it in terms of American politics, it would be more or less like the Republicans renouncing the goal of a balanced budget or the Democrats giving up on universal health care.”


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