Published in the March 19, 2014 issue of the The Washington Jewish Week. (see http://washingtonjewishweek.com/11018/letters-9/)
Zionist option not what you think
The WJW’s March 13 editorial, “Michael Oren’s unilateral withdrawal,” argued that “the two-state solution is the best Zionist option.”
Is it really? Let’s consider how a two-state solution — that is, creating a Palestinian state in the West Bank territories of Judea and Samaria — compares with Israel’s current situation.
Right now, 98 percent of the West Bank Palestinians live under the rule of the Palestinian Authority and 100 percent of the Gaza Palestinians live under the rule of Hamas. They run their own affairs and they vote in their own elections. They lack only two things that belong to a sovereign state: complete control of their borders and an army. So the question for Israel boils down to this: Would it be better for Israel, or worse for Israel, if the Palestinians controlled their own borders and had their own army?
The Palestinians seem to have answered that question this month. An Iranian ship loaded with advanced weapons tried to reach Gaza. It was intercepted in international waters, but only because the Israeli Navy maintains a legal blockade of Gaza’s western border, the Mediterranean seashore. If the Palestinian Authority controlled its borders, truckloads of weapons from Iran would be arriving daily.
Meanwhile, Palestinian terrorists in Gaza fired more than 100 rockets into Israel, some of them hitting cities such as Ashdod and Ashkelon. If there was a Palestinian state in Judea-Samaria, terrorists with rockets would be hitting synagogues in Jerusalem, shopping malls in Tel Aviv and airplanes taking off from Ben-Gurion airport.
No, the current Israeli-Palestinian situation is not ideal. But the fact is that for nearly 50 years — ever since Israel won Judea-Samaria in the 1967 war — Israel has been able to maintain a reasonable level of security; Israelis have had access to Jewish religious sites in the territories, which the previous Arab rulers denied; Jerusalem has been reunited; and Israel has remained both Jewish and democratic, despite all the doomsayers’ predictions.
The status quo is far preferable to the creation of a Palestinian state in Israel’s backyard.
Moshe Phillips, President
Benyamin Korn, Chairman
Religious Zionists of America – Philadelphia Chapter