After the brutal and inhuman October 7 attack by Hamas on Israel, Israelis had to reconsider their country's security. Gaza has been controlled since 2007 by terrorists, and in the West Bank the Palestinian Authority is incompetent, corrupt, increasingly unpopular among Palestinians, and unable to combat terrorism without the presence and assistance of Israeli security forces. All of that makes this a terrible moment to keep pushing for an independent and sovereign Palestinian state--or so you might think. President Isaac Herzog of Israel, a former head of Israel's Labor Party, said exactly this recently.
Yet in a very recent article in Foreign Affairs, former State Department foreign affairs Daniel Kurtzer and Aaron David Miller-- who have been involved in "peace processing" for decades-- return to their theme. They acknowledge that “even if Netanyahu leaves office, no other current top politician in Israel appears eager to embark down a path of peace. And there are no Palestinian leaders with the gravitas and political weight to engage seriously with Israel in the aftermath of the conflict.” That ought to prove to them that this is not a propitious moment (to say the least) for the old two-state formula, but it does not; instead they call for "A bold effort to push a two-state solution." They urge that President Biden “can make it clearer to the Israelis...that their ultimate security guarantee will be a peace agreement with a similarly peace-minded Palestinian state.
In an article in National Review, I explore the misunderstandings and the dangers in such an approach--starting with the fantasy of "a similarly peace-minded Palestinian state." As I conclude,
From everything we can see about Palestinian politics and public opinion, basing Israeli security on dreams about Palestinian pacifism is nuts. Moreover, Iran has under way a vast effort to build proxy forces and strengthen every terrorist group — from the Houthis to Hezbollah and Palestinian Islamic Jihad to Hamas — to attack Israel by stocking the groups with guns and money. That is the problem with the two-state solution: No one can explain how a sovereign and independent Palestinian state will not constitute a grave security threat to Israel (and Jordan as well, by the way). Kurtzer and Miller certainly don’t explain it; like all the peace processors, they wish it away, conjuring up a mythical Palestine that loves peace.
The full text can be found here.