If Israel, God forbid, ever falls, history will record it was not because it was defeated by a superpower like ancient Rome. Less so will history record that it fell due to some incurable illness, such as corona.
No, history will record that it was self-inflicted, that Israel fell from the inside due to its people and its leaders being unable to resist external pressures brought to bear to concede more and more land and empower more and more of its enemies.
Joe Biden deserves immense credit for having Israel’s back since October 7th. But lately, his and Tony Blinken’s increasing pressure on Israel for a two-state solution will irreversibly damage the state.
Never in history has one country experienced more self-inflicted wounds than the modern-day State of Israel. Remember, it was not Czechoslovakia that gave itself away to Hitler at Munich in 1938. Indeed, its leaders weren’t even invited by France and Britain to parley with the German Fuehrer. But Israel has now given up gigantic tracts of lands to its enemies three times, and the world is pressuring it to give more.
It’s time to say once and for all: No. No more land concessions. Not one millimeter. Not one inch.
Palestinian state? The original League of Nations Palestine Mandate was 80% Transjordan, given by Winston Churchill to the Hashemites as a reward for their support during World War I. That is the actual Palestinian state, and it has more than 3.5 million Palestinian citizens. If there is any occupation in the Middle East, it is King Abdullah II’s autocratic rule over millions of Palestinians. And notice that his wife, Queen Rania, a Palestinian who hates Israel, has not taken in a single Palestinian refugee from Gaza. Not one baby. Not one little girl. Not one family. Not one senior citizen.
My father taught me to revere Menachem Begin, and indeed my father of blessed memory is buried just yards from Begin on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem. Begin would otherwise be revered as one of the great heroes of modern Jewish history, except for one thing. He gave away all Sinai — territory three times the size of Israel, with its enormous oil reserves — without knowing if Sadat and his regime, which guaranteed security, would even last. Sadat was assassinated three years later.
Ah, you say. But the peace has held?
Nearly all Egyptians loathe Israel to their core. No Israelis in their right mind would ever visit the pyramids openly as Israelis, in the certainty that it would be a one-way trip. If not for the fact that Egypt has a strongman dictator in Sisi, who maintains the freezing cold peace, Israel might be at war with Egypt right now.
And since October 7, what has Egypt done for Israel, after the Jewish state gave it back all of Sinai? Egypt too has taken in no refugees, save for a few with medical conditions or foreign passports. Sinai is largely empty, except for the ISIS terrorists who maraud throughout the desert. Why isn’t Egypt taking Palestinian refugees from Hamas?
Then there is the Oslo catastrophe of 1993, arguably the single dumbest, most destructive idea ever practiced by a nation to demolish its own security. Oslo proves why it’s not always wise for generals to become presidents and prime ministers, since they have a vested interest in proving they can make not just war but peace. But was the thoroughly execrable Yasser Arafat ever a partner in peace?
Sure, why not bring your single greatest enemy and the father of modern terrorism, Yasser Arafat, arm his 40,000 fighters, and expect peace? Is anyone really surprised that some 2,000 Israelis — the equivalent of 60,000 Americans — have been blown to smithereens in the years following Oslo as Arafat funded the intifadas and suicide bombers, with actual checks linking him to the explosions?
Then came Israel’s greatest war hero, Ariel Sharon, proving that he could improve even on his predecessor Rabin’s folly by withdrawing unilaterally from Gaza, without getting anything in return from the Palestinians.
I remember the 2004 and 2005 debates on the hitnatkut — withdrawal — so well. I was at the center of them, visiting the beautiful settlements of Gush Katif over and over again in their terminal months, and even taking my kids to be among the very last Jews to plant trees in the beautiful enclave on Tu B’Shvat of 2005.
All of those settlements, homes, businesses, and advanced hydroponics — we were amazed to see cucumbers and tomatoes growing out of the sand — that could have served as a model to Gazans of the economic potential of the territory, were destroyed by Sharon and the IDF.
And what replaced them? As the New York Times reported this week, 350 miles of tunnels, all in an enclave that is only 27 miles long.
So here we are, nearly 25 years, four wars, and thousands of Israelis dead, and the United States and the Biden administration are now pushing Israel to create a Palestinian state.
Netanyahu has fiercely resisted, and he deserves immense credit for pushing back against Israel’s foremost ally. As much as Bibi will be called upon to address the awful security failures of October 7 — and he will — he should also receive praise for standing up to unprecedented international pressure to destroy Hamas completely and utterly.
As an American Jew, for the rest of my life I will be grateful to Joe Biden for all he has done to support and arm Israel over the last three months. He’s been exemplary. But the very same president has an addiction to funding Iran, the source of all the mayhem. Iran now controls Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and Yemen. Most of the terrorism comes from the murderous mullahs. I completely understand why Biden doesn’t want a war with Iran. Both parties in the United States are profoundly isolationist, and everyone is tired of the endless wars. But what does that have to do with funding the main funder of terrorism?
We’ll leave that question for another time. For now, let’s be absolutely clear. For Israel, a two-state solution is a final solution. There is no possibility of Israel’s continuity with a Palestinian state alongside it. Gaza is in nearly every sense a Palestinian state. Gazans have their own army, foreign policy, economy, and police force, and it all was born out of free elections in 2006 that brought Hamas to power. Why would we believe that any Palestinian state will turn out any differently?
Shmuley Boteach of Englewood was a rabbi at Oxford University for 11 years when he founded the Oxford L’Chaim Society, which became Oxford’s second largest student group and where Cory Booker served as student president. Rabbi Boteach is the author of “The Israel Warrior” and “Kosher Hate.” Follow him on Instagram and Twitter @RabbiShmuley.