Why the Two-State Solution Won’t Work
America’s president, and much of the world, believes the solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict—and even the conflict between radical Islam and the West—lies in creating two states in the land of Israel: one Palestinian, one Jewish. Facilitating this solution is the heart of President Barack Obama’s policy in Israel.
In his most intensive effort toward this end, Mr. Obama in recent months has made purging Jews from the West Bank his number-one priority in Israel. Under the two-state plan, the West Bank (more accurately known as Judea and Samaria) is slated to become the territory of a Palestinian state, with East Jerusalem as its capital. “The United States does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlements,” said Obama during his June 4 speech in Cairo. “This construction violates previous agreements and undermines efforts to achieve peace. It is time for these settlements to stop.”
The elevation of the settlement issue by Barack Obama is not “minor” news, and it “must not be underestimated,” observed George Friedman from Stratfor. “… Obama has decided to create a crisis with Israel” (June 8, emphasis mine).
Most outsiders don’t understand how much is at stake for Israel with the two-state solution being imposed on it by America and much of the world. For Israel, the creation of a Palestinian state in the West Bank would be nothing less than an act of national suicide!
The State of Israel was born on May 14, 1948. Its delivery was not without complication and drama. For months, the life of the newborn state hung in the balance, under constant threat from the Arab armies that surrounded it on three sides. Miraculously, Israel survived. Though victorious and independent, Israel remained imperiled and strategically disadvantaged for years.
Until June 1967.
In the spring of that year, it was clear that the Arab states surrounding Israel were looking for another fight. Egypt was massing troops on the border in preparation for an invasion. On June 5, Israel began a preemptive strike on Egypt. Jordan, seeing Israel’s military tied up in the south, besieged Jerusalem. It moved its forces into the city (where it overran the United Nations headquarters) and began taking potshots at Jewish cities on the coastal plain from its position in the hills of what it termed the West Bank.
After Jordan rejected a UN cease-fire agreement, Israel pursued its only remaining option. The Israeli military annihilated the Jordanian Air Force. By June 8, Israel’s military had pushed the Jordanian military out of the West Bank and back over the Jordan River, retaking Judea and Samaria!
It’s hard to exaggerate the extent to which the Six Day War guaranteed Israel’s future existence as an independent state. The war only lasted 130 hours and 50 minutes—during which Israel beat back the advancing armies of several Arab states, decimated the air forces of Egypt and Syria, captured the Gaza Strip, wrested the Golan Heights from Syria and gained control over the entire Sinai Peninsula. But it had a defining impact on Israel’s sovereignty—particularly in that, for the first time in its modern history, the Jewish state controlled East Jerusalem and the West Bank.
In an address to students and faculty of Herbert W. Armstrong College on April 22, former Israeli Ambassador Yoram Ettinger explained the significance of Judea and Samaria to Israel’s independence and national security. This territory is the “crux of the cradle of Jewish history,” he explained. Israel does not exist on the eastern flank of the Mediterranean because of Tel Aviv or any of the coastal cities. Instead, Ettinger said, the essential reason Israel exists today is because of the “territorial stretch between Hebron in the south, the first Jewish capital before Jerusalem, and Nabulus in the north, the first stop of the Israelites when they reentered the Promised Land.”
Judea and Samaria are the heartland of the Jewish people, Ettinger said, and a strategic necessity for preserving the independence of a Jewish state.
In addition to these facts, the Jewish people have been tethered to Judea and Samaria for more than 3,000 years.
A Geographical Tether
Genesis shows that Abraham entered Israel through Shechem, and that the hills of Judea and Samaria were the stomping grounds for his descendants through Isaac and Jacob. The Bible records that Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were buried in Hebron, a bustling city in the Judean hills. Even Joseph, although he lived and died in Egypt, was buried in Shechem, in the hills of Samaria (Joshua 24:32). Scripture says that Bethel, known today as Beit El, was where Jacob slept on the pillar stone and had his famous dream. The book of Exodus shows that the ark of the covenant, before being placed in the temple in Jerusalem, rested in the Samarian city of Shiloh.
Jewish fingerprints cover the hills of Judea and Samaria. “Ninety-two percent of the Bible place names are in the mountains of Israel in what the Bible calls Judea and Samaria and the world calls the West Bank,” Billye Brim, a Bible scholar at Elon Moreh, told cbn News.
In the book of Joshua, God mapped out the borders of the Promised Land as a whole, as well as the internal borders separating the 12 tribes of Israel. In Joshua 15, God specifically outlined the territory assigned to the tribe of Judah, of which the Jews today are descendants. (You can easily prove this by reading our free book The United States and Britain in Prophecy.) God placed the tribe of Judah at the heart of the Promised Land, on the northwest side of the Dead Sea, and primarily in the hills of what even today is still called Judea!
As the biblical heartland of the ancient Israelites, the territory of Judea and Samaria—not the Golan, not the coastal plain—is the pulse of Jewish sovereignty.
This history definitely complicates land-for-peace deals and the two-state “solution.” As Ettinger asked: “Can any nation survive whilst negotiating away the cradle of its history? … If you don’t have your roots, how can you have peace?”
Trees will not blossom without strong roots, and will more than likely be uprooted by the lightest wind. The same applies to Jewish national sovereignty, which is rooted in Judea and Samaria.
A Strategic Necessity
Strategically, the territory of Judea and Samaria is essential to Jewish independence. Geographically, this land is largely comprised of a mountainous ridge, known as the spine of Israel, that stretches from below Hebron in the south to the valley of Jezreel in the north. These 2,000-to-3,000-foot hills—the “mountains of Israel” as the Bible calls them—provide a strategic vantage point. Marked by steep inclines, gaping gorges and deep valleys, they are an ideal natural barrier for slowing invading armies and protecting civilians and homeland armies as well as military hardware and facilities.
Many are aware that the Golan Heights provide Israel with a great tactical advantage in the north, helping Israel control the Sea of Galilee and the towns and cities on the northern plains of Israel. But as Ettinger explained, few recognize that the mountainous ridge on which Judea and Samaria sit is infinitely more important to Israel than the Golan. It is so important, in fact, that it took less than a month for the Israeli government, after gaining Judea and Samaria in June 1967, to start rebuilding its national security platform around Israel’s control of Judea and Samaria.
Strategically, the territory of Judea and Samaria is the pivot on which the national security of the Jewish state depends. It is critical to the stability not only of Jerusalem and the other towns and cities in the Judean and Samarian hills, but also of towns and cities on the coastal plain, where 80 percent of Israel’s population is located along with the bulk of Israel’s finance, economy and transportation arteries and industry.
To those who understand the centrality of Judea and Samaria to Israel’s existence as an independent and secure state, the notion of ceding this territory to the Palestinians—a people incapable of forging peace among themselves, let alone with their sworn enemy—in return for peace, is illogical and immoral. It would be an act of national self-destruction!
Yet that is the basic premise of the two-state solution, a peace plan outlined in the Oslo accords in 1993, which has become the focal point of Barack Obama, and most of the international community, including Britain, the European Union, the Palestinian Authority, and even—with preconditions—the Arab League.
The Only Workable Solution
The Obama administration is working furiously to impose its “solution” on Israel. Speaking to reporters at a UN Security Council meeting in May, America’s ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice, stated that the “United States is fully and unequivocally committed to working for a two-state solution,” and that President Obama shares a “sense of urgency” in solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
On this issue, Obama is operating outside of historic and strategic reality. For Israel, the creation of what would assuredly be a Hamas-controlled, Iranian-influenced Palestinian state in Judea and Samaria is unacceptable. By pushing for it anyway, America and the international community are in effect imposing a death sentence on the Jewish state!
It appears Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, sees this reality, which is why he refuses to give in to demands for a two-state solution.
Sadly, Barack Obama is trapping Israel in a corner from which it cannot emerge without serious, perhaps fatal, injury. Israel will destroy itself if it agrees to the creation of a Palestinian state in Judea and Samaria. Yet its only other option—which is to continue to drag its feet on the two-state solution—will result in it being increasingly alienated and persecuted by America and the international community for “holding up peace in the region.”
As Israel pursues this second option, the Palestinians, with support from their Muslim friends, the anti-Israel media and the rest of the world, will grow angrier and bolder. As the likelihood of conflict and cruelty increases, hope for a workable solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will diminish—at least to most observers of the situation.
Students of Bible prophecy, however, watch these events and are hopeful because they know that God has a thorough and totally workable solution for the conflict in Israel.
That solution: God will make Jerusalem His city!
It’s true. The Bible is filled with prophecies about the peaceful, hope-filled future that lies ahead for Jerusalem. Why Jerusalem? Because, as the Prophet Zechariah assured us, God “hath chosen Jerusalem” (Zechariah 3:2). Read it for yourself in Revelation 21: Jerusalem will be the capital city of God’s eternal Kingdom, which all men—Jews, Palestinians, Africans, Asians, Americans, everyone—will have the opportunity to join.
Notice also Isaiah 2: “And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem” (verse 3).
Imagine it! No more bickering. No more arguing over territory. No more suicide bombs. Just God, His law, His Kingdom and His people.
Now that is a workable solution!
To learn more about the future of the Jewish state, particularly in light of its weakening relationship with America, request Jerusalem in Prophecy. See the back cover of this magazine for details.