The two-state solution – Deputy Consul General Paul Hirschson

Tampa Tribune – May 24, 2010

We understand the rules: There is a natural tendency, particularly in academia, the media and human rights organizations, to support the weak against the strong. I tend to do the same thing.

This is without reference to the substance of the claims of the parties to a dispute. For the most part this is with some legitimacy. For the strong has usually been in the wrong.

In that part of Palestine (a Roman name chosen to disassociate the land from the Jews long before today’s Palestinian Arabs came to the region), handed over by the British to the United Nations in 1947, there are now two peoples – the Jews and today’s Palestinians.
Two peoples with competing, some say conflicting, claims to one piece of land.

The government of Israel, as the previous three Israeli administrations before it, has endorsed what is called the “two-state solution” to the decades-old conflict between Israel and the Palestinians.

What Israel has embraced is the idea of two states for two peoples. What the Palestinians propose is two states. The difference is in the nuance.

Israel proposes a situation that includes the finality of claims and an end to the conflict. The Palestinian Arabs, together with and incited by others, talk about two states without mention of “for two peoples” with reason.

Their continued refusal to recognize Israel as the Jewish state is no coincidence. What they foresee is the creation of a Palestinian Arab state alongside a second state, Israel, whose national character will be determined by the ongoing course of history.

When you encounter someone advocating a resolution to the Israel-Arab conflict, ask whether their vision includes the finality of claims and the end of conflict. If not, be on guard.

The real intent is to undermine the legitimacy of the Jews’ right to national self- determination. For the most part they have nothing but contempt for Palestinian individuals, the vast majority of whom want nothing more than the end to the conflict.

Make a note of it here. The day Israel reaches an agreement with the Palestinians, the campaign to undermine Israel will change focus and continue.

The radical left cannot stand the idea that the Palestinians would be better served by taking responsibility for themselves, developing the infrastructure of state and nurturing a productive economy rather than hold out their hand for charity.

Israel has more hi-tech companies traded on NASDAQ than any country other than the USA. Israel is producing film, dance, music and other arts at the highest possible standard.

Israel is the antithesis of that school which thinks the ailments of the world will be treated through remunerations. Nice as the idea may be, it doesn’t hold water. A Palestinian state, free of terrorism and radicalism, could also be a miracle of innovation and culture.

There may be some solace in the idea of old European colonial powers paying off others for the brutality of years gone by (or perhaps Japan for invading China way back when). The chance of this leading to something better is negligible.

It’s only in taking responsibility for oneself that progress comes. The Jews did it in establishing Israel, and it drives some schools of thought crazy.

Those who would undermine the very legitimacy of the Jews’ claim to national self- determination, of the right of Israel to exist as the state of the Jews, do themselves no good by aligning with the likes of Hezbollah, Hamas or others.

The darker regimes of the Middle East practice gender apartheid, hormone treatment of gays and human trafficking. We may end up imputing these ideas onto the radical left, which is comfortable in partnering such regimes in opposition to Israel.

We in Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East, are the stronger party. And we intend to remain so. The alternative, in our neighborhood, would be particularly unpalatable for us.

This doesn’t mean that we are in the wrong, for the substance of the claims should be taken into account.

Paul Hirschson is deputy consul general of Israel

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