Abandon The Peace Process To Save The Two State Solution

August 12, 2014 § 4 Comments

My friend Jordan Hirsch and I (follow him on Twitter @jordanchirsch if you aren’t already for brilliant commentary on a whole host of topics) argue in Foreign Affairs that the recent fighting in Gaza proves the wisdom of the 2005 disengagement, and that Israel needs to unilaterally withdraw from the West Bank as well. The article can be found here and here’s the opening salvo.

As the latest battle between Israel and Hamas in Gaza wears on, there are two schools of thought — one on the right and one on the left — about what Israel should do next.

The first take, on the right, is that renewed fighting in Gaza proves that Israel’s disengagement from Gaza in 2005 was a mistake. According to this view, the withdrawal empowered Hamas, inviting rockets from above and tunneling terrorists from below, while earning Israel no international credit for having ended its occupation of the coastal strip. That pattern, the thinking goes, would repeat itself should Israel disengage from the West Bank. For that reason, any pullout now would be dangerously misguided.

The second argument, on the left, is that Israel’s mistake was not that it disengaged from Gaza, but that it did not sufficiently support the Palestinian Authority (PA) and its leader, Mahmoud Abbas, thereafter. By failing to reward Abbas’ nonviolent resistance, this theory suggests, Israel robbed Palestinians of the hope that anything but Hamas’ rockets could achieve their aims. The best means of countering Hamas in Gaza, then, is to present an alternative in the West Bank and immediately return to negotiations with Abbas to demonstrate the efficacy of a nonviolent approach.

Both positions are understandable. Israel has fought a string of wars with Hamas since leaving Gaza in 2005, each more threatening to its civilians than the last. For that reason, maintaining some control in the West Bank seems to be the most sensible option. On the other hand, those hoping for more Israeli support for the PA would like Israel to bolster the notion that Palestinians can succeed without resorting to armed resistance. Yet closer examination reveals that neither of these positions is tenable. And, in fact, there is a third option. Israel correctly, if not faultlessly, disengaged from Gaza. And now, to protect itself in the long run, it must do so again from the West Bank. Israel must abandon the peace process in order to save the two-state solution.

Read the rest here at Foreign Affairs.

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§ 4 Responses to Abandon The Peace Process To Save The Two State Solution

  • amiel savaldi says:

    2 basic facts you must consider:
    1. Hamas’s objective is not a Palestinian state, but the destruction of the Jewish state
    2. Hamas will take over any territory not controlled militarily by Israel
    (and will depose Abbas the moment Israel stops protecting him)

    • I agree with your first point, as I hopefully made clear in my post a couple of weeks ago on realities that we can’t wish away. I disagree on your second point though – my read of things is that the PA and its security forces are sufficiently entrenched in the West Bank to prevent a Hamas takeover.

  • תמריץ says:

    All the reasons to think that the West Bank would be stable after an unilateral Israeli withdrawal were true in 2000. The economic situation was good. Hamas was weak compared to Fatah. There was a pragmatic government in Israel and US-backed peace process took place. Anyway intifada broke out in 2000 and claimed the lives of 1000 Israelis. IDF had to conquer the West Bank main cities. It is probably going to repeat itself if Israel leaves the West Bank again. Why not learn from history?

    • Julian says:

      The West Bank is stable because Israel keeps it that way. Check out the news. Hamas had a whole plan in place to take over. Only Israel’s intervention saved Abbas.
      This idea that Abbas would make peace with Israel is absurd. He could have had pretty much everything he claims he wants and rejected it. He will never agree to give up right of return for descendants. If he did he would end up dead.

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