What is the “Two-State Solution” About?

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Last week, after the House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved the supplemental spending bill for the Iron Dome program, everyone from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to the Biden White House, to Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, quickly proclaimed bipartisan support in Washington for the US-Israel alliance is as strong as it ever was. Unfortunately, even before the bill passed, it was clear that the opposite was the case.

Eight House members from the leftist edge of the political spectrum voted against the Iron Dome funding and two of their comrades voted “present.”

The only reason the measure was brought to a vote last week was because days earlier, the same House members blocked supplemental funding for the Iron Dome program from being included on an omnibus continuous spending resolution. By first scuttling and then opposing the funding of a joint Israeli-US system that is entirely defensive and works only to prevent the wanton murder of Israeli civilians by indiscriminate missile attacks, the lawmakers were saying that they supported the Palestinians in their terror war against Israel. Reps. Marie Newman, Andre Carson, Hank Johnson, Cori Bush, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib, Ilhan Omar, Jesus Garcia, Raul Grijalva, Ayanna Presley and their Republican comrade Thomas Massey opposed the Iron Dome funding package because they support the terror war that Hamas, Fatah, Islamic Jihad and their brethren in Hezbollah wage against the people of Israel. They don’t want to fund Iron Dome because they want Israel to lose to the terrorists.

But for all the drama that the Squad members produced around the Iron Dome bill, their stunt was a sideshow. The main anti-Israel/pro-Palestinian terrorism action was taking place elsewhere.

A few hours before the House voted on the supplemental Iron Dome funding, Rep. Andy Levin, a progressive Jewish lawmaker from Michigan who voted in favor of the supplemental Iron Dome funding, submitted his own bill that related to the Palestinians and Israel. And Levin’s bill is far more dangerous to Israel and to US-Israel relations than his fellow progressive lawmakers’ nay vote on the Iron Dome.

The main purpose of Levin’s bill, which is co-sponsored by 24 other members, (seven of whom are also Jewish), is to support the Palestinian terror against Israel, while adopting a laundry list of anti-Israel policies along the way.

Levin’s bill includes an amendment to the Anti-Terrorism Act of 1987 that defines the PLO as a terrorist organization and bars the US from permitting the PLO to open offices in the US or from receiving assistance from the US so long as the PLO and its member organizations remain engaged in terrorism. Levin’s bill would amend the law to provide the administration with the authority to permit the opening of a PLO office in Washington and to transfer funds to the PLO/Palestinian Authority even while the PLO and its member groups remain engaged in terrorism. Levin’s bill enables the administration to sidestep the law simply by proclaiming that opening a PLO office in Washington and funding the PLO/PA is necessary to advance “diplomacy.”

Whereas the 2018 Taylor Force Act bars the US from funding the PA so long as it pays salaries to terrorists and their families, Levin’s bill would enable the administration to transfer funds directly to the PA even if it continues to pay salaries to terrorists and their families. Levin’s bill empowers the secretary of state to authorize such funding simply by proclaiming that the PA is “reforming” its payment apparatus. As Palestinian Media Watch reported this week, the PA already believes that US funding will be restored despite the fact that nearly 10% of the PA budget goes towards paying salaries to terrorists and their families. A senior PA official said that reinstating US funding “is merely a problem of semantics.” Levin’s bill provides the semantic trick to restore funding.

Alongside its direct support for Palestinian terrorism, Levin’s bill also includes multiple provisions whose purpose is to undermine and weaken Israel while subverting the US-Israel alliance. The Levin bill bars Israel from using weapons it receives from the US to defend itself in Judea, Samaria, Gaza and unified Jerusalem. It also discriminates against Israel in a manner that legitimizes the anti-Semitic Boycott, Sanctions and Divestment (BDS) campaign against the Jewish state. The Levin bill bars Israel from marking goods from Judea, Samaria and Gaza, “Made in Israel,” instead, Israel is required to mark all such goods as made in the “West Bank/Gaza.” Israel’s scientific, agricultural and other cooperative agreements with the US will only apply to areas that Israel controlled in 1949. Israeli institutions and citizens beyond those areas will be boycotted.

Levin’s bill requires the administration to cancel former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s 2019 determination that Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria are not illegal and delineate all Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria as illegal. Israeli neighborhoods built in Jerusalem since 1967 are also deemed illegal, as are Israeli actions to enforce building laws on illegal Palestinian construction in Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem.

Arguably, the most significant aspect of Levin’s pro-Palestinian terror bill is the name he gave it. Levin named his would-be federal law, “The Two-State Solution Act.”

Levin’s decision to use that expression to market his Palestinian terror supporting, Israel subverting bill tells us two important things. First, it shows us what progressives are really talking about when they declare their support for a “two-state solution.”

Levin’s bill doesn’t mention the “peace process.” terms Israel must abide by to receive future American support. The Levin bill only mentions Israeli-Palestinian peace twice in passing references to “peaceful relations” between Israel and the Palestinian state that Levin insists must be established.

The bill doesn’t determine that the Palestinians and Israel must resolve their conflict through negotiations. Whether peace talks are reinstated or not is completely irrelevant to Levin and his co-sponsors. Instead, Levin’s bill sets out the means the US must use to coerce Israel into surrendering to the Palestinian terror war.

Since the whole purpose of the bill is to enable the US to empower the PLO and the PA while they support, fund, carry out and glorify terror attacks against Israel, it goes without saying that Levin and his co-sponsors are fine, indeed they seek to reward the Palestinians for their terrorist war against Israel.

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So when progressive Democrat lawmakers like Levin and his 24 co-sponsors express support for “the two-state solution,” they aren’t saying they want a peaceful resolution of the Palestinian conflict with Israel. For them, “the two-state solution” is a code for supporting the Palestinian terror war against Israel.

This brings us to Levin’s “Two-State Solution Act’s” second lesson. When Israelis and Israel supporters proclaim their support for “the two-state solution,” they have a certain theoretical picture in their mind. As they see things, a “two state solution” is a way to peacefully resolve the Palestinian conflict with Israel. Under the “two-state solution,” Israel will withdraw from large swathes of Judea and Samaria – but usually not from the entire area since significant portions of Judea and Samaria are either vital for the physical survival of Israel, or contain large Israeli population centers that most two-state solution supporters consider integral parts of the State of Israel.

As for Jerusalem, supporters of the theoretical two-state solution believe that in a final peace settlement, Israel would provide symbolic concessions in Jerusalem, like the transfer of sovereignty over Abu Dis, a Palestinian village within the municipal boundaries of Jerusalem but outside the security perimeter of the city. But beyond that, Israel’s capital for the past 3,000 years would remain its capital.

This theoretical concept of a two-state solution is founded on the notion that when the Palestinian state is established in the areas Israel withdraws from, that state will be at peace with Israel. It will have signed a formal peace treaty with the Jewish state in which it formally recognizes the Jewish state’s right to exist.

The problem with this theoretical concept is that the Palestinians oppose it. For the past hundred years, the Palestinians have rejected any concept of a two-state solution that isn’t simply a means to advance their unchanging goal of eliminating the Jewish state. And they still oppose it.

Last week, the veteran Palestinian pollster Khalil Shikaki released a new survey of Palestinian public opinion which showed that 62% of Palestinians oppose “the two-state solution,” even though, by failing to define the term, Shikaki let his respondents define a “two-state solution” anyway they wanted.

On the other hand, 54% support “armed resistance” – that is, terrorism – against Israel.

Since the 1920s, the Palestinians have stated and demonstrated through their actions that for them, the point of establishing a Palestinian state in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria, (along with Gaza) is both to ethnically cleanse these areas of all Jewish presence, and as they have done in Gaza for the past 16 years, use them as forward bases for continued war against the rest of Israel. The operational collaboration between of Arab Israeli rioters and pogromists and the PA and Hamas in the last round of fighting in May was no coincidence. From the perspective of Hamas and the PLO/PA, Israeli Arabs are full partners in the war that will only end when Israel ceases to exist. For the Palestinians, in short, “the two-state solution” is not a means to achieve either peace or Palestinian statehood. It is a means to advance to the next phase of the war to annihilate Israel. Shikaki’s poll showed that today the Palestinians’ view of the situation is no different than it was in 1920 or 1947 or 1967 or 1993.

The time has come to recognize and act on the significance of these facts. The vast majority of Democrats who voted to fund Iron dome didn’t prove that bipartisan support for Israel is as strong as ever. They proved that most Democrats are unwilling to publicly support Palestinian terrorism against Israel. And that is where Levin’s bill comes in. Its purpose isn’t to advance the Israeli vision of a two-state solution. It is to give Levin and his colleagues a fig leaf to hide behind as they advance the Palestinian version of the two-state solution. That is why the bill legalizes US support for Palestinian terrorists and undermines Israel’s security and its ties to the United States.

It is Israel’s responsibility, and the responsibility of its supporters in the US, to expose the truth. For the Palestinians and a growing number of their progressive supporters, “the two-state solution” is not a means to achieve peace. Rather, it is simply a euphemism for supporting the Palestinian terror war. Israelis and pro-Israel Americans need to understand that in today’s political climate, when Palestinians and their progressive supporters embrace the “two-state solution,” they are not seeking to advance prospects for peaceful coexistence between Israel and the Palestinians. They are supporting Palestinian terrorism and advocating Israel’s demise.

Originally published in Israel Hayom.

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