Biden Is Right: After the War, It’s Time for Two States
Oct 26, 2023 11:25 pm IDT
Three weeks have passed since the catastrophe of October 7, yet the country’s political leaders, including the members of the new war cabinet, have not uttered a single word about a plan for the day after the war.
U.S. President Joe Biden’s declaration Wednesday that for Israelis and Palestinians, “there’s no going back to the status quo as it stood on October the 6th” and “when this crisis is over, there has to be a vision of what comes next. … a two-state solution,” was greeted with a collective yawn. His call to the sides to move toward peace fell on “fully full” deaf ears.
A white paper proposing a comprehensive exit strategy was submitted to Foreign Minister Eli Cohen by the ministry’s planning division last week, and thrown in the garbage.
Already on his first visit to Israel as president, in July 2022, Biden stressed his commitment to a two-state solution based on the 1967 borders and territorial exchange. After meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, the U.S. president emphasized that this was the best way to attain equal measures of security and prosperity, freedom and democracy, for both sides, and Abbas called on Israel to return to the negotiating table to continue the Oslo process. It was the time of the Yair Lapid-Naftali Bennett government; the status quo doctrine was the same doctrine and the settler right continued to rule the roost.
A distilled expression of the failed policy that paved the way for Hamas rule in the Gaza Strip and the movement’s strengthening in the West Bank is contained in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s address to the United Nations General Assembly, just days before the war: “[W]e must not give the Palestinians a veto over new peace treaties with Arab states.”
The terrible reality hit the residents of border-area communities in the face, as they were added to the long list of people who lost their lives in service to the illusory paradigm of peace in exchange for peace. As Biden noted, it appears that the timing of the Hamas attack was connected to the normalization talks between Israel and Saudi Arabia.
Gone are the days when elected officials allowed themselves to preach to the president of the United States and to demand that the American administration wash its hands of the Israeli occupation and its evils.
Israelis are now learning, in tragic fashion, how fortunate they are that a leader as experienced, level-headed and supportive as Biden is in the White House. But if Israelis fail to elect a leadership that will pay attention to his wise remarks, not even Biden will be able to save them in the next war.
The above article is Haaretz’s lead editorial, as published in the Hebrew and English newspapers in Israel.