by Jeff Jacoby
Who favors a two-state solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict?
President Obama does, of course, as he made clear in welcoming
Pope Benedict XVI called for a Palestinian state during his recent visit to the Holy Land, thereby aligning himself — on this issue, at least — with the editorial boards of The New York Times, The Boston Globe, The Washington Post, and The Los Angeles Times. And, for that matter, with most Israelis. A new poll shows 58 percent of the Israeli public backing a two-state solution; prominent supporters include Netanyahu's three predecessors — former prime ministers Ehud Olmert, Ariel Sharon, and Ehud Barak — as well as president Shimon Peres.
The consensus, it would seem, is overwhelming. As Henri Guaino, a senior adviser to French President Nicolas Sarkozy, put it in speaking to reporters on Sunday: "Everyone wants peace. The whole world wants a Palestinian state."
It isn't going to happen.
International consensus or no, the two-state solution is a chimera. Peace will not be achieved by granting sovereignty to the Palestinians, because Palestinian sovereignty has never been the Arabs' goal. Time and time again, a two-state solution has been proposed. Time and time again, the Arabs have turned it down.
In 1936, when
But the Arab leaders, more intent on preventing Jewish sovereignty in
In 1947, the Palestinians were again presented with a two-state proposal. Again they spurned it. Like the Peel Commission, the United Nations concluded that only a division of the land into adjacent states, one Arab and one Jewish, could put an end to the conflict. On Nov. 29, 1947, the UN General Assembly debated — and by a vote of 33-13 adopted — Resolution 181, partitioning
Over and over this pattern has been repeated. Following its stunning victory in the 1967 Six Day War,
At Camp David in 2000, Ehud Barak offered the Palestinians virtually everything they claimed to be seeking — a sovereign state with its capital in East Jerusalem, 97 percent of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, tens of billions of dollars in "compensation" for the plight of Palestinian refugees. Yasser Arafat refused the offer, and launched the bloodiest wave of terrorism in
To this day, the charters of Hamas and Fatah, the two main Palestinian factions, call for
Jeff Jacoby is a Boston Globe columnist.
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