In a New York Times op-ed, Robert Malley, who served as President Clinton's special assistant for Arab-Israel Affairs and Palestinian Hussein Agha, in his New York Times oped "The Two State Solution Doesn't Solve Anything" suggests that the "two states may not be a true resolution if the roots of this clash are ignored." He continues:
"To be sustainable, it will need to grapple with matters left over since 1948... the fundamental question is not about the details of an apparently practical solution. It is an existential struggle between two worldviews...As Israelis make plain by talking about the imperative of a Jewish state, and as Palestinians highlight when they evoke the refugees' rights, the heart of the matter is not necessarily how to define a state of Palestine. It is, as in a sense it always has been, how to define the state of Israel".
Withdrawal to pre- 1967 borders won't suffice for the Palestinians, the authors suggest we must revisit the Arab state of mind in 1948, "to bring the conflict back to its historical roots, distill its political essence and touch its raw emotional core."
Here's a snapshot of six decades ago. For the emerging Arab nation states, many themselves constituted by the stroke of a French or British pen, there was dismay and anger that the international community had recognized a Jewish state alongside Trans Jordan; bewilderment over how the Jewish people-in three short years managed to step out of the black hole of Genocide onto the world stage; wholesale denial of the Jews' 3000 year attachment to the promised land; insistence that "Israel" was forced upon the Arab world because of Europe's guilt over the Nazi Holocaust. The Arab Street was whipped into frenzy with calls to finish Hitler's vision by driving Holocaust survivors and the 600,000- strong pre-WWII Jewish population into the sea. Local Arabs were urged to leave 'for a few weeks' as seven Arab armies were dispatched to destroy the fledgling Jewish state.
The other narrative? Despite British White Papers and blockades, Jews--from Yemen and Iraq, to Poland, France and Morocco, would not be deterred from returning to the only land they never really left. For this land-one that Palestinian children are still taught never housed David's Palace or Solomon's Temple, whose walls they are told never echoed the prophetic calls of Isaiah and Jeremiah-was and is the Jewish People's once and future homeland.
Sixty years, five wars, two intifadas, scuds, suicide bombers and 8,000 kassam rockets later, the leader of Israel's Right, Prime Minister Netanyahu, declared his readiness for a two- state solution, with the caveat that Palestinians accept Israel as a Jewish State. Not so fast, warn Malley and Agha: In the eyes of the Palestinians, "to accept Israel as a Jewish State would legitimize the Zionist enterprise that brought about their tragedy."
In fact the "no to side-by-side- Jewish and a Palestinian states" chorus has some powerful voices committed to a solution that would at once solve Palestinian grievances by erasing the historic error of Zionism.
There's Professor Tony Judt's who declares that Israel, is "bad for the Jews," and that ultimately there must be a single Palestinian state, from which Jews either depart or stay as a "protected" minority. The One-State solution was the subject of an academic conference recently in Toronto. First columns in the New York Review of Books and now a New York Times op-ed that does nothing to debunk Palestinian self-delusions.
Why no peace? Apparently, it's not because Fatah's National Assembly and Hamas serially deny the legitimacy of today's Jews and 3,000 years of Jewish continuity in the Holy Land. Why no Palestinian State? It's not because Fatah and Hamas' unending civil war that makes a mockery of the idea of democratic Palestinian self-government. Its not because President Mahmoud Abbas, for the past five years has been unable to even set foot in the largest city in his domain-Gaza- for fear of assassination.
No, the authors suggest, it is Israel's very existence that is the real obstacle. For the Palestinian national movement, they insist remains "above all, a refugee movement"-rooted in the imperative of rectifying the aspirations of Palestinians (or their ancestors) displaced in 1948. " In other words, the Jewish state has to be rolled back beyond the 1967 borders-beyond even the 1948 borders-until it becomes, not even a postage stamp but a historic error buried beneath a new Arab or Muslim state.
This delusionary vision may have received an unintended boost from President Obama's unfortunate omission in his Cairo address of any recognition that Israel has legitimate claims to existence that predate the Holocaust. Who then will finally tell the Palestinians that Israel's kings did not reign in Norway, her prophets did not preach in Pakistan and Jesus of Nazareth did not walk in the shadow of Madrid's Holy Temple.
To advance his Mideast agenda President Obama should go to Israel, and publicly put an end the One-state charade. He should declare America has one more 'change we can believe in'--that "No nation should ever again be stripped of its identity", especially the Jewish people that has suffered and struggled for thousands of years to cling to its national destiny. And Europe, whose societies would be thrown into chaos if the "right of return" for refugees was ever applied to their nations should tell the Palestinians-"Time to put your 'Mediterranean to the Jordan vision on a diet and get on with the business of peaceful nation building."
Israel is not 1938 Czechoslovakia; it can defend itself and has no intention of quietly committing suicide. There will be no Munich II. So until the Palestinians and the elite undertakers eager to bury the Jewish state finally recognize the legitimate national aspirations of 5.7 million Jews, there may not be peace, but there will always be an Israel.
This essay was co-authored with Rabbi Marvin Hier, Founder and Dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center
Follow Rabbi Abraham Cooper on Twitter: www.twitter.com/simonwiesenthal