Howard Kohr, executive director of the pro-Israel lobby AIPAC, launched his organization’s esteemed conference on Sunday by promoting the largely failed two-state solution.
Kohr declared: “We must all work for that, toward that future, two states for two peoples: one Jewish with secure and defensible borders and one Palestinian with its own flag and its own future.”
Kohr lamented that “today that dream seems remote. This is tragic. The absence of a constructive peace process is nothing to celebrate. Israel’s security cannot be fully assured and a promise cannot be fully realized until she is at peace with all her neighbors, and peace begins by talking.”
Kohr stated: “The rulers of the Middle East are now beginning to see that working with Israel – instead of isolating her – can strengthen their own security and help them meet the needs of their people. These emerging relationships promise to be an example for other nations to follow, a force for moderation, and it is a message to the Palestinian leadership that a bright future is possible when you finally put aside generations of hatred and choose to live side-by-side in peace with the Jewish State of Israel.”
Kohr was speaking at the AIPAC Policy Conference in Washington, DC.
The so-called two-state solution calls for the creation of a Palestinian state, ostensibly in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and some eastern sections of Jerusalem, in exchange for the Palestinian Authority ending its conflict with Israel and living at peace with the Jewish state.
The “two-state solution” has been the defining formula for all Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, and so far every Israeli offer of a state has been rejected by the PA.
Israel offered the Palestinians a state with territory in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and Jerusalem at Camp David in 2000, Taba in 2001, the Annapolis Conference in 2007, 2008 and during U.S.-brokered talks in 2013 and 2014. Israel has since been willing to restart talks at any time.
According to some reports, Israel went so far as to offer the Palestinians control of the Temple Mount, Judaism’s holiest site, in at least two separate, desperate bids to make peace.
In each of these cases, without any exception, the Palestinian Authority rejected Israel’s offer of a state and bolted the negotiations. In most cases, they countered statehood offers with major escalations in violence, including infamously launching the deadly Second Intifada, or terrorist war, in response to the Camp David peace talks.
PA President Mahmoud Abbas currently refuses to come to the bargaining table. Besides the PA’s rejection of all previous statehood offers, a major issue blocking the “two-state solution” is that the PA, which would rule a future state, supports terrorism, incites against Israel, celebrates the killers of Jews and pays monthly stipends to those who murder Israelis. Abbas’s security forces have participated in scores of deadly attacks against Israelis. There have been ongoing attempts at reconciliation between Abbas’s Fatah Party and the Hamas terrorist organization.
There is no significant evidence to suggest that a Palestinian state run by a Palestinian leadership that openly supports terrorism and has been flirting with a unity deal with Hamas would be moderate or a force against regional radicalism. There is overwhelming evidence to support the charge that a future Palestinian state would encourage terrorism, remain in a permanent state of war with Israel and work to destabilize the region.
After years of failed negotiations and Israel’s disastrous evacuation of the Gaza Strip in 2005, which resulted in Hamas’s takeover of that territory, the Israeli public currently overwhelmingly rejects an Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank, according to numerous recent surveys.
There have been attempts within Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud Party to pass legislation calling for Israeli annexation of the strategic West Bank as an alternative to the “two-state solution.”
The West Bank contains historic Jewish communities and some of the holiest sites in Judaism, including the Tomb of the Patriarchs and Matriarchs in Hebron, Rachel’s Tomb in Bethlehem and Joseph’s Tomb in Nablus, or biblical Shechem. The mountainous territory straddles major central Israeli population centers and is a short drive from Israel’s international airport.
The Palestinians never had a state in either the West Bank or eastern Jerusalem and they are not legally recognized as the authority in those areas.
Meanwhile, some within the Israeli government took issue with AIPAC’s promotion of the two-state solution, including phraseology in the lobby’s website mission statement calling “the promotion of a negotiated two-state solution — a Jewish state of Israel and a demilitarized Palestinian state.”
Samaria Regional Council head Yossi Dagan wrote AIPAC to say the website “seems to imply that Israel is committed to a two-state solution and that the United States takes this position as well.”
“Please note this assumption has no basis in fact,” he said.
“I am astounded as to why such a great, meaningful organization as AIPAC, whose raison d’etre is pro-Israel advocacy in the United States, would represent the positions of the State of Israel (and of the United States) so inaccurately before senior government officials, senators and congressmen, and the general pro-Israel public,” Dagan wrote.
“The position that AIPAC is representing as that of the State of Israel — in the AIPAC mission statement and in the AIPAC talking points inter alia — not only fails to represent Israel properly, it is detrimental to the efforts to achieve dialogue in the Middle East,” he added.
The Jerusalem Post reported that Land of Israel Caucus co-chairs Likud MK Yoav Kisch and Bayit Yehudi MK Bezalel Smotrich informed AIPAC, “The two state proposal is opposed by the majority of the ministers of the Israeli government, most of the ruling government coalition and most importantly, by the broad spectrum of the citizens of Israel.”
“Harsh lessons of the past regarding land concessions have demonstrated that creating the groundwork for a terrorist, fundamentalist, Muslim state in the heart of the Land of Israel is dangerous and lethal to the security of Israel.”
Aaron Klein is Breitbart’s Jerusalem bureau chief and senior investigative reporter. He is a New York Times bestselling author and hosts the popular weekend talk radio program, “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio.” Follow him on Twitter @AaronKleinShow. Follow him on Facebook.