I keep hearing from people who say “but what is Israel supposed to do?” They then go on to say that it is now more obvious than ever that if Palestinians control the West Bank Israel will not be safe. “They” will just launch missiles from there.

Here are the facts:

No iteration of the two-state solution allows the West Bank to be militarized. The Palestinian state would have no army. Its borders with Israel would be guarded, not only by the IDF which obviously would not go out of existence, but by U.S. monitors. The CIA would play a particular role (as it did in the last years of Oslo), working with both sides, to prevent and combat violence. During that period CIA-brokered Israeli-Palestinian security cooperation reduced acts of terrorism to zero. All this is spelled out in the various documents circulated during negotiations; and all these conditions were accepted by Yasir Arafat and Mahmoud Abbas.

Nobody who advocates the two-state solution envisions Israel just walking away and handing the keys to the Palestinians. Every proposed agreement includes ironclad security guarantees. It is also worth noting that the Palestinian Authority, even without any two-state agreement, has successfully eliminated most violence emanating from the West Bank.

But what about Gaza and Hamas?

Any agreement must include Hamas, which is why most supporters of the two-state solution welcomed the Hamas/Fatah unity agreement. The goal, which the United States should encourage, is for Hamas to allow Mahmoud Abbas to negotiate a peace deal with Israel on behalf of all Palestinian people. Hamas says it is ready for a 10-year truce with Israel in exchange for an end to the blockade. Why not do it, so long as U.S. or international monitors ensure that Hamas cannot keep building missiles rather than feed its children.

The two-state solution is the answer, as it always has been.The one-state alternative is a chimera, a fantasy built on the idea that an Israel which refuses to leave the West Bank will leave…Israel. One state means the eradication of a Jewish state anywhere in Palestine. That will never happen, nor should it. It is especially ironic to hear people who speak of Palestinians’ “right” to a state to then turn around and say that the 7 million Israeli Jews have no such right.

The status quo is a disaster, a disaster primarily created by the Israeli government’s refusal to commit itself to withdraw from the West Bank and end the Gaza blockade in exchange for ironclad security guarantees that will protect all Israelis and all Palestinians. The loathsome Hamas regime in Gaza is also guilty, but it is Mahmoud Abbas, who Shimon Peres calls a true “partner for peace,” whose peace offers have repeatedly been rebuffed by Israel.

The solution–which can only be reached through U.S.-brokered negotiations that will include the Israelis and all Palestinian factions–is two states living side by side in peace.

That is no fantasy. Ask John Kerry. The blueprints are in his brief case. If he would only be allowed to lay them on the table.


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