Wednesday, 17 February 2016

Barry Shaw: The Dangerous Hope of Two-Staters.




I am in bewilderment of those who have made a fifty year career, costing billions of dollars, in pursuit of an elusive Two-State Solution.
Personal disclosure. I was a member of this cult until the harsh reality of truth hit my hometown of Netanya in the form of post-Oslo Accord, Arafat-inspired, Palestinian terrorism.
I was fortunate. I was hit with a psychological smack in the head. I got off easily. Too many of our citizens were killed or badly injured by the incessant suicide bombings, car bombs and shootings that only stopped by Operation Defensive Shield which targeted the terrorist cells under Palestinian control. 
It is shocking how persistent people are to pursue this Two-State Solution as if it is the only oasis in a barren, arid, desert. But this fifty year trek toward a shimmering distant mirage draws sloggers toward an unreachable goal. Had they looked left or right they may have discovered alternative routes to peace, rather than doggedly plod toward a fantasy.
Way back in January 1988, a New York Times article stated that “Gaza could be the Singapore of the Middle East.” So it could if Gazan Arabs weren’t so passionately and religiously bound to Hamas and Islamic Jihad.  The twisted tribal code of Arab honor leaves them with a sense of shame and inferiority when Israeli cooperation and assistance is offered to them. Rather than benefit and prosper they grudgingly accept largesse while plotting to chop off the hand extended to them in peace. The resentment can be seen in the ‘anti-normalization’ campaigning of BDS activists encouraged by a large segment of the Palestinian leadership.
Truth be told, the signs were there for all to see decades ago. Researchers point to evidence of this throughout a hundred year Jewish-Arab history dating back to before the establishment of Israel and prior to the recent revelation of a Palestinian people. Events from 1967 strengthen the view of a duplicitous Palestinian leadership from Arafat to Abbas to Hamas who take whatever they can, fill their private bank accounts, while pursuing a malevolent political agenda against the Jewish State.
Just ask James Wolfensohn, a once altruistic do-gooder and UN special envoy during Israel’s disengagement from Gaza in 2005. He was so enamored with this Israeli peace gesture that he not only raised nine million dollars for Palestinian construction in Gaza, he even chipped in half a million of his own money to the cause. 
Following Israel’s withdrawal, a withdrawal ordered by Ariel Sharon, a right-wing Prime Minister, the Palestinians not only destroyed Wolfensohn’s endeavors; they also destroyed to $14 million agricultural infrastructure that Israel left behind. Most of this investment had come from American Jews, an investment that could have fed Gazans and been the basis of a Gazan export industry.
Wolfensohn told the Haaretz newspaper in 2007 that “all the dreams we had are now gone.”
What greater example can there be of a resentful Arab mindset in which destructive tendencies outweigh acting in their own best interest?
Why would anyone assume that, by Israel acceding to international demands to withdraw from further territories and allowing a greater Palestinian presence, this anti-Israel resentment will end or that they will abandon their plan to eradicate what is left of Israel in their One-State ambition from a geo-strategic position of greater advantage?
Even Israel’s Opposition leader, an avid Two-Stater, is questioning the reality of achieving the Two-State goal. Yet the nonsense is still being promoted by seemingly intelligent Israelis. Herzog is still searching for a solution wrapped up in what he calls “separation,” or what Yesh Atid leader, Yair Lapid, calls a “divorce” from the Palestinians.
The frantic minds of Two-Staters lead them to preposterous ideas. Take Ari Shavit, a journalist and darling of Israel’s elitist left, who demanded that Israel rebuild Gaza “big time” including the suggestion that we construct a sea port to “change the quality of life.” He said that it was the “lack of hope” that led dangerous Islamic jihadis into murderous acts against Israeli citizens, not their rapid anti-Semitic hatred. 
This is the delusional mindset that drives the agenda of the two-staters. It’s the notion that only an Israeli withdrawal will turn jihadists and Israel rejectionists into permanent peaceful neighbors. I, for one, am not buying this lottery ticket. 
Talk by Israeli political and military ‘experts’ of constructing a separation wall to protect Israeli citizens, or a ‘demilitarized’ Palestine flies in the face of common sense and the reality that any Palestinian state located on land ceded by Israel will inevitably , by the ballot or by the bullet, be controlled by an unreformed and unapologetic Hamas.
It certainly will not be demilitarized for long.
What the world would see, should such a time come, is the gruesome act of Jews being driven, even voluntarily, into a confined ghetto. Israel would become a ghetto state, and the awful reality of Abba Eban’s fateful remark that 1967 borders are, indeed, Auschwitz lines.
I once pointed this out to a BBC South East Asia correspondence as we stood in the shadow of the concrete wall between Tulkarm and the main Israeli 6 road artery. 
Tulkarm was a hotbed of radical Palestinian terror that sent out its ‘martyrs’ to blow up Israelis in Netanya and other locations causing the security necessity to construct this barrier. Now our leaders are calling for the construction of walls as an essential element of any peace agreement with the Palestinians.
Consider this. Why would walls be necessary if Israel had a durable peace agreement with the Palestinians? And, if Israel goes into a peace agreement with the need to construct barriers in our defense, does this not indicate that we know the Palestinians will dishonor signed agreements, and continue their violence against us, as they have repeatedly in the past? 
Whenever I question European diplomats how they would react to this violent outcome, succumb to their international pressure the only answer I have ever received is the excuse that their role is to bring the parties to an agreement, after that it is up to the parties to live up to their commitments.  Sorry, not good enough!
Hoping for the best is not an option for Israel. Hope can play nasty tricks on the mind. European Jews hoped they were going to a work camp as they rode the cattle wagons to Auschwitz. Today, they are imposing the same mind games of ‘Hope’ on the Jews of Israel. 
So let Israeli politicians and international diplomats work to convert Hamas and Islamic Jihad into becoming Singaporeans before they persuade me to buy a ticket for their ride of Hope to a destiny unknown. Until that happens, I’m not prepared to take the risk.

Barry Shaw is the Senior Associate for Public Diplomacy at the Israel Institute for Strategic Studies. He is also the author of the new book ‘BDS for IDIOTS.’