The world still believes that the “Two State Solution” is the way to resolve the Israel-Palestine Conflict. But when the Palestinians invoke this idea, they mean something very different, which has nothing to do with peace
For some time, the slogan of the so-called “Two-State Solution” has constantly been presented in the media as a desirable goal, one that Israel and the Palestinians should implement in the interest of peace. Whenever one raises this idea, it is implied that Israel should make major sacrifices in exchange for an unclear benefit. During the Obama administration, Secretary of State, John Kerry, bitterly accused the Government of Israel of not being committed to the “Two State Solution,” and even last week in London, Prime Minister Theresa May declared that she favored the “Two-State Solution.” She asked Prime Minster Netanyahu if he were also committed to this formula. For his part, the Prime Minister did not respond directly but stated that Israel is committed to peace.
This slogan completely lacks merit. The PLO first introduced it as a stratagem, and its real purpose has been to conceal their true aims and those of their successor, the Palestinian Authority. Those who launched the idea of the “Two State Solution” intended that it be understood differently by the Israelis — their potential victims — and other well-meaning outsiders who seemingly would want a fair solution to this war.
During the war in Vietnam, the North Vietnamese originally launched the “Two-State” formula in order to hide their strategic goal. They adopted a strategy of phases which, by devoting attention to the intermediate stages of their struggle, would enable them to reach their goal by gradual steps. Their real intention was that North Vietnam would conquer South Vietnam, but they spoke of the “Two-State Solution,” a tactic whose purpose was to disguise their aims and manipulate world public opinion. In the end, Communist North Vietnam subdued and conquered South Vietnam, and in 1975 the last Americans fled from the rooftop of their embassy in Saigon by helicopter. This was a major defeat both for the South Vietnamese and for the United States of America.
During the early 1970s Salah Khalaf, known as Abu Iyad, led a PLO delegation to Hanoi to learn from the North Vietnamese. There, they met the legendary General Vo Nguyen Giap and political advisors who coached them on presenting their case and changing their image of being terrorists in world public opinion. Abu Iyad described this important visit in his book, My Home, My Land (which he published with Eric Rouleau in 1978). Abu Iyad recounted that the North Vietnamese advised the Palestinians to devote attention to the intermediate stages of their war and to accept the need for “provisional sacrifices.”
“Without ever referring explicitly to Fatah or the PLO, the Politbureau members gave a long exposé of the various stages in the Vietnamese People’s struggle, explaining why they had had to resign themselves to various concessions, sometimes important ones such as the division of the country into two separate, independent states.” Independently, in 1997 Yossef Bodansky, an intelligence analyst, published more information on this meeting. “The Vietnamese suggested that seemingly accepting ‘the division of the land between two independent states,’ without stressing that this was only an interim phase, would neutralize the PLO’s opponents in the West.”
We live in a high-technology culture of sound bites and text messages, of quick and simple communication, of one-line messages, and such habits discourage the public from the careful study of past experience. In order to understand what is wrong here, we must remember the history of this slogan, which was designed from the start to be a swindle. It began as a tool of political warfare, and its purpose never changed. Its potency has remained, because people do not know the past or have been lulled to sleep.
By tracing and documenting the origin of the term, we can know with certainty that it is a fraud, and those who advance it cannot wish Israel well. For the same reason, no Israeli who wishes his country well should ever advocate the “Two State Solution.” Its program means nothing less than the politicide of Israel. The idea may have been fashionable during the Oslo era, but it is still necessary to listen carefully to what the enemy is saying and what he means.
Dr. Joel Fishman is a member of a research center in Jerusalem