The two decades that followed that famous Rabin-Arafat handshake have led supporters of the Two-State Solution on an emotional roller coaster ride.
Subsequent milestones along the way caused a manic see-saw between elation and despair – the 1998 Wye River Memorandum, Ehud Barak’s 2000 Lebanon withdrawal and the Camp David Summit, the 2003 Road Map, the September 2005 Gaza Disengagement, followed quickly by Ariel Sharon’s tragic January 2006 stroke and coma.
But my faith in the Peace Process took a marked shift from “Glass Half Full” to “Glass Half Empty,” as I witnessed Hamas’s cynical response to Sharon’s 2005 unilateral disengagement from Gaza.
Still cautiously optimistic, my attitude towards the Peace Process at the time of the 2007 Annapolis Conference and Ehud Olmert’s 2008 offer to Mahmoud Abbas can be summed up by the famous Woody Allen quip: “And the lion will lie down with the lamb, but the lamb won’t get much sleep.”
Very recently, in the first few months of 2014, I’ve lost my remaining faith in the Oslo Peace Process and the Two-State Solution.
In the many conversations I have on this topic, I frequently hear the requisite arguments in favor of continuing to pursue the Two-State Solution – that time is not in Israel’s favor. Abbas is Israel’s last hope. If we miss this opportunity Israel will become an Apartheid State. And so on.
Over the past 20 years I’ve come to believe a number of things. Importantly, the Palestinian Authority does not have a mandate. Any deal Abbas makes with Israel would be immediately rejected by Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), Al Qaeda, and others. This is now complicated by the Fatah-Hamas talks on forming a unified government.
If the early Zionists were guilty of ignoring the Palestinians they found in the land, then J Street and other advocates of the Two-State Solution are guilty of ignoring the voices of Palestinians who say that the issue is the 1948 “Nakba,” and not 1967. In my business experience, when people rush into bad deals under time pressure they end up regretting it. We are, to be sure, in a sticky situation. That’s no reason to buy a house from someone who isn’t the owner. In my opinion, if implemented, the Two-State Solution would result in another Intifada, at best, or an all-out war, at worst.
While I believe that an overwhelming majority of Israelis genuinely want peace with their Palestinian neighbors, at some point the prudent thing to do is admit that our efforts over the past 20 years have failed. We are all familiar with Albert Einstein’s famous definition of insanity – doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. Let’s be honest with ourselves, the Two-State Solution isn’t going to happen. Several alternative proposals are being discussed and promoted. Although the future of Israeli-Palestinian relations is uncertain, we must pursue alternative solutions.
On September 13, 1993, the day of the famous Rabin-Arafat handshake, more than 20 years ago, President Bill Clinton said: “Together let us imagine what can be accomplished if all the energy and ability the Israelis and the Palestinians have invested in your struggle can now be channeled into cultivating the land and freshening the waters; into ending the boycotts and creating new industry; into building a land as bountiful and peaceful as it is holy.” Yes Mr. President, imagine…
Marc Leibowitz is an Israeli Paratrooper turned Investment Manager. A New Jersey native and dual citizen of the USA and Israel, Marc is excited to be writing more than 140 consecutive characters for the first time in many years.
You can follow Marc on Twitter at @Marc_Leibowitz. More on Marc here.