Instead of the “two-state solution,” I propose the “two-cynics solution” to the Middle East conflict. Every Friday morning I meet with some friends to have coffee on the Midrochov, the pedestrian mall in Netanya. We usually solve the world’s problems quite easily and we are available for consultations with the Government. My friend Eddie Bielowsky is particularly cynical and he has reason to be based on his life experiences. Often we find our views agree, so I now present for you the “two-cynics solution” to the Middle East conflict.
According to former head of Israeli intelligence Yehoshafat Harkabi, “anyone can have his or her solution to the Middle East conflict, but such conflicts don’t get solved, they get resolved over time.” That’s why we need a bit of cynicism in dealing with the realities of the Middle East. A German acquaintance once told me that the problem with the European Jews was that they did not realize that “if you live among wolves, you must act like a wolf.” Instead they acted like sheep and look what happened. Now we live among Arabs. Never again!
OK, so let’s accept the two-state solution, let’s give the Palestinians a State of their own. Does anyone in his right mind believe that immediately after the Palestinians get their State there will be peace? Like there won’t be any more demands, no terrorist attacks, no hostility. They will respect the borders and allow Israel to live in perfect peace. Does anyone believe that? The problem with the two-state solution is that as far as the Palestinians and Arabs are concerned it is merely a prelude to the one-state solution.
Who was the original architect of the two-state solution? It was PM Yitzchak Rabin. In one of the greatest mistakes in Israeli history, in 1994 he allowed Yasir Arafat to return from exile in Tunisia with his Fatah cronies. Rabin’s rationalization was that Arafat would be grateful to him and would be prepared to make peace for having been saved from obscurity, and he would also fight Hamas, the Palestinian Muslim Brotherhood affiliate that was then gaining strength. On the contrary, Arafat opposed all possible compromise with Israel and allowed Hamas to carry out terrorism against Israel with his support.
Who came up with this two-state solution after all? It was not the Palestinians, nor the Israelis. It was some Jewish intellectuals sitting comfortably in their armchairs in suburban New York. And they advised some neutral American politicians who thought they could win the Nobel Prize if they could only apply enough pressure on Israel to give in to Palestinian demands (never the reverse).
On the right you have people who spout all kinds of schemes that will “solve” the problem. To overcome the “demographic problem”, they seek “separation” which is a euphemism for transfer of the Palestinian population to Jordan or elsewhere. How will you do this, drag them out of their homes and force them onto trains (how will this look on YouTube or CNN), or pay them to go (the first one to accept payment will be dead very soon after)?
There are those, particularly the EU Foreign Policy Head Federica Mogherini, another instant expert in Middle Eastern affairs, who has jumped into the diplomatic circus in order to try to win her Nobel Prize. Her first statement was “the current stalemate cannot be allowed to continue.” Why not? Why can’t the current situation be allowed to continue, when the future looks so uncertain throughout the Muslim world?
If you can’t have a the leftist “two-state solution” and you can’t have the rightist “demographic solution,” what solution is there – the answer is currently none! And that is the “two-cynics solution.” We cynics say, have faith, the future is uncertain and unknown, anything can happen, even something very unlikely. For example, Pres. Sadat of Egypt could visit Israel and make peace (impossible), or Communism will suddenly collapse (don’t be ridiculous), or a Black man could be elected President of the USA (can’t happen), or Israel’s major enemies, Syria and Iraq, will self-destruct (unbelievable), so don’t make too many rational plans.
If you can’t break the shell you can’t eat the nut (no wonder tortoises have such thick shells). We cynics say, stay strong and prepare for the inevitable, and maybe the unexpected will happen.