Israel is being de-legitimized and vilified throughout the world, primarily by the international media. Palestinian leaders Mahmoud Abbas and Salam Fayyad are turning to the UN General Assembly for recognition in order to avoid direct negotiations with Israel. And against this backdrop, outside of the historic Independence Hall where David Ben Gurion, Israel’s first prime minister, proclaimed the establishment of a Jewish state on May 14, 1948, leading left-wing intellectuals — including some Israel Prize laureates — rallied in support of a Palestinian state.
There, in Tel Aviv, on April 21, 2011, actress Hannah Maron read out the declaration. “We have gathered here today, on April 21, 2011, to welcome the expected declaration of independence of the Palestinian state, Israel’s neighbor, with our borders of independence — which came into being at the end of the War of Independence in 1949 — the borders known as the ’67 borders.” The document drafted by the left-wing activists goes on to say:
The independence of both states strengthens each other. It is a moral and existential need and the basis for the possibility of good neighborly relations. We call on the citizens of Israel, the Knesset, the government, citizens of the world and their governments to recognize two states, in which the right to self-definition must be expressed by both peoples as well as the general principles of democracy and equality.
In their zeal to appease the Palestinians, these left-wing activists forgot to note the obligation the Palestinians have to recognize the Jewish state, end the teaching of hate for Jews and Israel, and eliminate the terrorist infrastructure that targets Israeli Jews. In only the most recent murder, five members of the Fogel family were brutally slaughtered by two young Palestinians, ages 18 and 19. When captured, they showed no remorse. If they had seen the other two sleeping children in the home, they informed the authorities, they would have slit their throats too. One is reminded of the words of Hillel, the rabbinic sage: “If I am not for myself who will be for me?” These intellectuals have yet to absorb the message.
While the media may try to use this declaration as an indicator of the pulse of the nation of Israel, in truth, the vast majority oppose the idea of a two-state solution at this time in history. Israelis are not buying into the rosy notion that Palestinians and Israelis will live side by side in peace. The Israeli public lives with the consequences of the failed Oslo Accords, which facilitated Yasser Arafat’s return from Tunis to Gaza and resulted in Israel evacuating its forces from West Bank cities so that the newly structured Palestinian Authority might run the affairs of the Palestinian people. The Israeli public readily recalls how the center-left Labor party of Itzhak Rabin and Shimon Peres — the architects of Oslo — continued negotiating with Arafat while his hateful incitement led the Palestinians to increase their attacks against Israelis.
And the left overlooks the concessions Prime Minister Barak made to Arafat during the July 2000 Camp David Summit. There, Israel supported the establishment of Palestinian state on 97% of the administered territories of the West Bank and Gaza. In exchange, they received Arafat’s “end of conflict” declaration — and the launching of the Second Intifada.
To refresh the memory of Israel’s leftist intellectuals, it is worth pointing out that it was the Arabs and not the Jews (who were then called Palestinians) who rejected the 1937 British Peel Commission recommendation to split Palestine into a Jewish and an Arab state. The Arabs subsequently rejected the United Nations Partition Plan of 1947 and, aided by the armies of Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia, invaded the newly founded Jewish state.
Today, 64 years later, the Palestinian Arabs, by refusing to recognize the existence of the Jewish people in their ancestral homeland, are clearly rejecting the formula of “Two States for Two Peoples.”