People on the radical left didn’t like Joe Biden’s visit to Israel. “Why did he even come?” they asked. “Why does he have to visit Yad Vashem? And why do we have to suck up to that militaristic power?”
But more than the visit, what angered them most was Biden’s declaration at the end of his meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas that he's committed to the two-state solution. “The Palestinian people deserve a state of their own that’s independent, sovereign, viable and contiguous. … two states along the 1967 lines where mutually agreed-to swaps remain the best way to achieve an equal measure of security, prosperity, freedom and democracy for the Palestinians as well as Israelis,” the U.S. president said.
The radical, anti-Zionist left hates the “two-state solution.” It considers it outdated, unjust and unfeasible. It doesn't care that we were on the way to implementation during the time of the Oslo Accords in the '90s. Nor does it care that most Israelis and Palestinians want this solution.
The extremist left wants a different solution, “one state” between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River. It dreams of a democratic and egalitarian state for Jews and Arabs that would be a model of peace and calm, as in the words of the Prophet Isaiah: “And the wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid.”
Although that sounds progressive and attractive, it’s a romantic-utopian idea that suits naive people who don’t understand human nature. They don’t understand that people seek belonging. They want to live in a country with people similar to themselves in terms of history, culture and religion, and who share the same language.
Humans are tribal creatures by nature. Hundreds of thousands of years ago they lived in tribes that provided them with physical security, food and a sense of belonging. Today the nation-state has replaced the tribe, and its job is to provide the exact same things.
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To create loyalty, every nation seeks its own uniqueness reflected in language, culture, history and religion. Therefore, when two peoples are forced to live in a single state, it will end in a civil war in which each nation will try to seize power. It happened in Lebanon, Iraq, Syria, Cyprus, Northern Ireland and Kurdistan, and that's a partial list. That's also the reason for the disintegration of the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia into several nation-states.
Therefore, “one state” with two peoples means an all-out war using every available means, including terror and murder, between Jews and Arabs. The war would be over a raft of issues: who would head the state, who would receive the budgets, who would pay more taxes (would the rich person in Tel Aviv fund the poor person in Jenin?), who would serve in the army, and how would the Law of Return (for Jews) and the right of return (for Palestinians) work?
Clearly the citizens of the one state wouldn't be loyal to the artificial state. All the citizens would be loyal to their nation, just as they were once loyal to their tribe. It’s enough to see the battles today between Sephardi and Ashkenazi Jews, the poor and the rich, and the right and the left to realize what would happen the moment the historical hatred between the two peoples was added to the equation.
The Jews preserved their national identity in exile for 2,000 years until they could return to the land of their ancestors and establish a nation-state. And that's exactly what the Palestinians want now: an independent nation-state, separate from Israel, where they can express their national aspirations.
And if there are Palestinians still talking about one state, that’s because they hope to win that civil war that would erupt and engulf the entire area. And that’s exactly what far-right politicians Bezalel Smotrich and Itamar Ben-Gvir want.
So one state is a nightmare. A foolish idea. A utopia with no chance of success. A proposal by someone who has despaired of the difficulties and given up on the only possible solution: two states for two peoples. Someday, when both sides have suffered enough, it will come to pass.