After President Obama's June 4 Cairo speech on U.S.-Muslim concerns, including the Palestinians, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivered his own speech at Bar Ilan University stipulating that Palestinians must recognize Israel as a Jewish state.
He said a "basic condition for the termination of the conflict is honest and public recognition by the Palestinians of Israel as the Jewish people's nation . . . we need the Palestinian leadership to get up and say, 'We've had enough of this conflict.' "
Netanyahu's statement helps explain why the most recent Obama-initiated peace process has seemed to go nowhere. It is notable for the fact that it forces Palestinians to take a good look in the mirror and decide how they'd like to proceed.
Historically, Palestinian society never saw Israel's existence as a "right." The only right in the Palestinian narrative is their own connection to the land, although they do see Israel as a temporary military fact. But there will come a day, the narrative goes, when they will be able to defeat the Israelis.
The notion of an independent, sovereign Palestinian state existing alongside Israel was never part of the Palestinian worldview, and they have also always rejected the notion of a single binational state.
If from the late '80s into the Oslo years it was politically correct to call for a two-state solution, two sides living side by side, many Palestinians now openly call for a one-state solution, a de facto final solution for the state of Israel.
Just look at what Rashid Khalidi, ex-PLO spokesman, now professor at Columbia, writes in his book "The Iron Cage": "among some observers . . . a realization has been growing for years that is increasingly unlikely. This realization has taken shape irrespective of the merits or demerits . . . of the two-state solution, in spite of the long-standing desire of majorities of Palestinians and Israelis for their own state, and notwithstanding the (often grudging and hedged) acceptance by each people of a state for the others."
In fact, on the Palestinian street, where things really count, the preference is for a one-state solution - Israel is nowhere to be found.
A closer look at the idea of the two-state model as proposed by Palestinian spokesmen reveals that it is actually a camouflage. It lets the Palestinians be perceived as compromising when, in reality, they don't have to. The pro-Palestinian faction loves to quote U.N. resolution 242. It's become the foundation for the land-for-peace formula drafted after the Six Day War, and a superficial reading seemingly places the Palestinian peace-brokers in a position of strength. If Israel valued peace, it would return land. If Arabs wanted land, they would give peace.
But there is dishonesty within 242: On one hand, it talks about the exchange of land for peace with Israel, meaning there's room to negotiate. But although we (naively) believe it also calls for recognition of Israel as the Jewish state, that is not the case. And paying lip service to the two-state idea in reality makes it easier to blame Israel and the U.S. for preventing the creation of a Palestinian state, all while putting off facing up to the responsibilities of governing a state and being accountable for your actions.
Washington, D.C., and Jerusalem should start looking at other options as the Obama administration tries to reignite "peace talks" that have no viable end result. The two-state solution in its current formula is actually just a placebo for those who'd like to believe that peace will come when there are two states living side by side. Absent real acceptance of Israel by the Arabs, this isn't likely to occur - and the probability of Hamas-run Gaza being included in any resolution is slim to none.
FOR PRAGMATIC reasons, Palestinians may not admit a return to the one-state policy, particularly since American aid and support flows from a peace process based on a two-state solution, but the signs are everywhere.
We need to face the fact that peace and security are not going come from the "two-state solution," and without understanding that, there can't be a real discussion of what peace and security in the region really looks like.