Refuting Bennett; Palestinian Defends 2 States

Refuting Bennett; Palestinian Defends 2 States

Israel’s economics minister and head of the right-wing Jewish Home party, Naftali Bennett, laid out his vision for the West Bank last week in a NY Times op-ed (For Israel, Two-State Is No Solution).  He seems to believe that the Palestinians will accept a diktat: a plan that consigns them to less than a state in less than half of the West Bank, and without a stake in East Jerusalem, where they constitute most of the population and have long aspired to establish their capital.  Even putting the matter of justice aside, this blithely ignores history.

Naftali Bennett

Bennett’s argument largely rests on the fact that Israeli withdrawals from the Gaza Strip in 2005 and from southern Lebanon in 2000 left these areas in the hands of hostile forces.  Yet the fatal flaw in Israel’s withdrawal from the Gaza Strip in 2005 was that it was carried out without any coordination with the Palestinian Authority.  Among other things, this gave Hamas a leg up in the elections that followed, supporting their claim that Israel withdrew because of their violence, rather than a negotiating process that Prime Minister Sharon disdained at the time. 

Similarly, Israel’s entire Lebanon misadventure was an arrogant overreach.  Instead of installing a friendly government by force, the invasion of 1982 gave rise to a wholly new enemy, Hezbollah, which had barely existed at its outset.  Bennett also ignores the reality that the occupation of southern Lebanon proved to be untenable for Israel, way too costly in the blood of its soldiers.

This history shows that Israel’s security cannot be guaranteed by imposing “solutions” on its neighbors.  Bennett’s scheme would introduce but another instance of failed unilateralism.  And it would totally undermine the Palestinian Authority, which under the leadership of Mahmoud Abbas and the tutelage of the United States has cooperated effectively with Israel on security matters until now.

Among the letters to the editor published in response (Sharp Words on Israel and Palestine) was a particularly good one from the Palestinian ambassador to the UN.  Ambassador Mansour includes a phrase that’s all-too rare in official Palestinian pronouncements, and needs to be repeatedly emphasized to refute the notion that the Palestinian Authority doesn’t recognize Israel’s fundamentally Jewish character, declaring the PA’s support for “. . . a negotiated solution that delivers two states for two peoples.”  

Here’s most of his letter:

Israel’s minister of the economy, Naftali Bennett, has vowed to do everything in his power to make sure that the Palestinian people never get a state.  . . .
Mr. Bennett’s no-state solution is no solution at all. It denies Palestinians the right to live in peace, freedom and dignity. It condemns both the Israeli and Palestinian people to an unsustainable status quo built on subjugation, not equality. Israelis have a right to their security, and so do Palestinians. But as long as our right to statehood is denied, we will both be less secure.
We remain committed to a negotiated solution that delivers two states for two peoples. We recognize Israel’s right to exist. But Mr. Bennett does not recognize Palestine’s right to exist. If Mr. Bennett and his proponents want real peace and security, they must start by recognizing our equal rights to statehood and freedom.
New York, Nov. 7, 2014

By | 2014-11-10T12:32:00-05:00 November 10th, 2014|Blog|0 Comments

Leave A Comment