Over the last four months in Israel, Islamic ter­rorists have com­mitted 100 stab­bings, 38 shootings, and 22 vehicular attacks tar­geting Jewish Israelis. In these attacks, 28 people have died and 230 have been wounded. 

In the wake of these attacks, pro-Palestine orga­ni­za­tions in the United States have renewed their calls for the Jewish State to engage Pales­tinians in nego­ti­a­tions to find a two-state solution, wherein two inde­pendent gov­ern­ments — one run by Pales­tinian and the other by Israeli author­ities — divide the Holy Land and rule it as sep­arate states.

However well-inten­tioned these calls for a two-state solution may be, they display a com­plete mis­un­der­standing of the facts on the ground. The State of Israel is not ready for a two-state solution, and the it should avoid nego­ti­a­tions with Pales­tinian groups for three reasons. 

First, rad­i­calism is on the rise in Pales­tinian ter­ri­tories. Hamas, an Islamist group ded­i­cated to the destruction of Israel, seized control of the Gaza Strip in 2006. Since then, they have con­sol­i­dated power through political ter­rorism. The United States, Russia, the European Union, and even several Middle Eastern states rec­ognize Hamas as a ter­rorist group. Expecting the Jewish people to nego­tiate with ter­rorists is irrational.

The West Bank is more com­pli­cated. Fatah, a secular Arab party led by Mahmoud Abbas, cur­rently heads the Pales­tinian Authority. In 2006, it lost par­lia­mentary elec­tions to Hamas, but refused to sur­render actual authority to the extremist group. Abbas is cur­rently serving the eleventh year of what was orig­i­nally a four-year term.
Even if Abbas were inclined to nego­tiate, he does not have popular support for lasting peace with Israel. If Abbas gives an inch to Israel, his people will likely rise up, over­throw Fatah, and replace it with Hamas or a similar extremist group. 

Second, the pre­con­di­tions that Pales­tinians have put forward for nego­ti­a­tions are unrea­sonable. Fatah insists that Israel must withdraw Jewish cit­izens from their set­tle­ments in the West Bank for the Pales­tinian Authority to even con­sider nego­ti­a­tions. In addition, Abbas has con­vinced the United States that a return to Israel’s pre-1967 borders should be the basis for future negotiations. 

If enacted, these mea­sures would endanger Israel. From set­tle­ments in the West Bank, the Israel Defense Force is able to monitor entry and stop potential ter­rorists from entering Israel. The other pre­con­dition, a return to pre-1967 borders, presents even greater problems. Sur­ren­dering land would adversely affect Israel’s strategic interests. 

For instance, during the 1967 Six-Day War, Israel cap­tured the strate­gi­cally important Golan Heights. From this ele­vated region, the IDF can monitor threats from Hezbollah in Lebanon and the warring extremist groups in Syria with ease. The Golan Heights also serve as a buffer region between these hostile groups and Israel’s more pop­u­lated areas. A return to the pre-1967 borders would force Israel to sur­render the region.

Finally, if the Pales­tinians achieve inde­pen­dence, what is to prevent the new State of Palestine from becoming a failed state, such as Libya or Syria? 

The political author­ities in both the West Bank and Gaza have shown an utter lack of interest in mod­ern­ization or pro­viding even the most basic ser­vices for their cit­izens. With Hamas’ ide­o­logical pri­or­ities and the cor­ruption and impo­tency of Fatah, neither appear to have the incli­nation or ability to create a stable nation-state. 

There will be no safety net should the Pales­tinian political estab­lishment fail. Sunni powers like Saudi Arabia are dis­in­ter­ested in helping their Pales­tinian brethren, and show no signs of reversing policy should the pol­itics change. Iran’s Shiite regime is only inter­ested in the Palestine con­tro­versy insofar as it enables them to attack Israel and take pot shots at the “Great Satan” — the United States. 

If the West Bank dis­in­te­grates, any number of extremist groups — al Qaida, Hamas, Hezbollah, ISIS, or others — will likely move in to take over. The West Bank would become another launch zone for rockets, mis­siles, or worse. 

Israel cannot afford a two-state solution. Perhaps someday in the future the region will be ready for sub­stantial nego­ti­a­tions, but that day is not today. For now, Israel and her Western allies ought to pre­serve the status quo.

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Michael Lucchese ‘18 is majoring in American Studies, and is a member of the Dow Journalism Program. In addition to the Collegian, he has also contributed to The Federalist, Acculturated, Conservative Review, and several other publications. In 2015, he reported on national security and foreign policy for Breitbart News. He also hosts a weekly radio show, The Michael Lucchese Show on Radio Free Hillsdale WRFH 101.7 FM. e-mail: [email protected] Twitter: @MichaelLucchese