The two-state solution is, effectively, dead. It was mortally wounded long before today’s terror attack on a Jerusalem synagogue, which marks a third intifada. The final straw came with the Gaza war this past summer, when Hamas rockets and tunnels showed why it would be insane to let Palestinians to rule more than a portion of the West Bank. The Obama administration’s addiction to pressuring Israel has also destabilized diplomacy.
But the attack on the synagogue in Har Nof sends a different message: namely, that Jews and Arabs may not be able to live together easily even in the same country. There are areas of coexistence–in Haifa, for example, where locals joke that they get along because Moses, Jesus, and Mohammed never came there. There are also Arabs who serve with distinction in the Israeli military, and at the highest levels of the Israeli government.
Yet that could be more difficult in future. David Brinn of the Jerusalem Post wrote candidly today: “When two of the regular staffers entered my office in the afternoon to empty the trash bin and replace it with a new nylon bag, I found myself for the first time tensing up and watching their every move out of the corner of my eye.” His feelings are, no doubt, shared by many well-meaning Jewish Israelis–and reciprocated by Arab Israelis, too.
With the two-state solution in collapse, there are a variety of one-state solutions emerging. One is the classic threat of an Israel in which a minority of Jews must rule a majority of Arabs. It is a fallacious prediction based on false demographic projections, but one invoked frequently by the Obama administration and the Israeli left. It is also a recipe, as its more enthusiastic proponents well understand, a recipe for Israel’s total destruction.
The other is the annexation proposed by Jerusalem Post columnist Caroline Glick in her recent book, The Israeli Solution, in which Israel annexes everything between the Mediterranean and the Jordan except for Gaza. The Palestinian Authority and its police force would be dismantled, as would the various Palestinian political parties that have done so much to incite hatred. Jews would, she argues persuasively, still be a two-thirds majority in that territory, and the Arabs offered Israeli citizenship would be far better off afterwards.
The fact that so-called “moderates” such as Mahmoud Abbas are actively fanning the flames of terror while avoiding negotiations with Israel is a sign that they have given up on diplomacy and the two-state solution. They may be competing in a “race to the bottom” with ISIS, in which depravity is taken as a sign of authenticity. They may believe, not unreasonably, that the rise of Iran as a regional power heralds the longed-for end of Israel.
Regardless, they are determined to shape the post-two-state-solution future. They want to frighten Israelis as the world rewards acts of terror with symbolic votes of recognition for a Palestinian state. They want to create a context in which Israel can no longer turn to diplomacy but must face a variety of difficult, untenable choices.
There really is no “solution”–not yet, anyway–for Israel’s present predicament. There is only the possibility of altering the strategic background against which the third intifada is happening. That is why the stronger ties between Israel and the post-Muslim Brotherhood Egyptian government are so important–and why Israel will still focus on confronting Iran, even after today. If only President Obama were just as committed to that fight.
Senior Editor-at-Large Joel B. Pollak edits Breitbart California and is the author of the new ebook, Wacko Birds: The Fall (and Rise) of the Tea Party, available for Amazon Kindle.
Follow Joel on Twitter: @joelpollak