I was watching CNN the other day when the anchor asked the “expert” for his opinion regarding the Gilad Shalit prisoner exchange deal. “Do you believe it would help advance the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians?” he inquired.
The “expert” responded positively, “it would,” he concluded.
I almost screamed. “Are you totally oblivious to the fact that the Shalit deal was between Israel and Hamas while the so-called, non-existent “peace process” is between Israel and Mahmud Abbas who has nothing to do with Hamas?” “Don’t you see that relating the Shalit deal to the peace process is like tying NASA shuttle program to the recent price of cottage cheese?”
But then I realized that the rest of the world’s opinion-setters including the leaders of the US and Europe are just as confused.
In reality there are two separate Palestinian entities; one ruled by the Palestinian Authority (PA) in the major cities of the West Bank, the other is ruled by Hamas in Gaza. Abbas, the PA president, pretends to have jurisdiction over Gaza; it’s his personal fantasy, one that proves convenient to the civilized world.
What do they mean when they refer to the two-state solution? Does this solution include Hamas in Gaza?
Yes in the world of make-believe; No in the real world.
Abbas does not represent Gaza, and Hamas does not recognize Abbas’s authority, not even where he actually governs, not even in the West Bank. If anyone wishes to allude to a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, they must stay real and recognize that either a two-state solution does not include Gaza, or alternatively, the only comprehensive solution is a three-state solution.
The informed public knows that Hamas does not recognize Israel’s right to exist. The core of this terrorist organization is formed around the concept of wiping Israel and its Jews off the map. They have even refused to support the UN move for recognizing a Palestinian state within the 1949 borders, because it would have implied a de facto recognition of Israel’s existence. Hamas will never sign a peace agreement with Israel. In their eyes, the mere idea of it is worse than blasphemy; it undermines their own existence.
Consequently, a two-state solution that does not include Gaza will not end the conflict between Israel and Hamas and its supporters in the West Bank. A peace agreement between Israel and Abbas will not constitute a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians. Furthermore, there is a strong probability that it may not last long, not even between Israel and the West Bank, because Hamas is too popular in Nablus, Jenin, and Hebron, and once Abbas retires peace (if ever concluded) will fade away together with him.
Unfortunately, this reality is not on the table when the two-state solution is pursued by the US, the EU or the media. They all pretend that Abbas is in charge of the two Palestinian entities. They all choose to ignore reality. They all want to pursue a convenient fantasy of a two-state solution where Mahmud Abbas is the head of a single Palestinian entity. They all ignore the fact that Gaza is not under Abbas’s jurisdiction, and that any agreement that includes Gaza without Hamas’s seal of approval is not going to stick.
Any talk of a two-state solution must spell out the nature of the Palestinian state. It must make sure that Gaza under Hamas is excluded from any such agreement. It must recognize that there are two different Palestinian entities, and that Abbas is in charge of only one of them.
Israel must make it clear to the rest of the world that a two-state solution is not a comprehensive solution, and that a three-state solution is infeasible as long as Hamas insists on wiping Israel off the map.
Enough with fantasies. It’s time for a reality check.