Middle East expert Dr. Mordechai Kedar of the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies says Israelis have almost totally lost their faith in the two-state solution to the Israeli-Arab conflict.
Whereas a decade or two ago a majority of Israelis viewed the internationally-backed diplomatic effort as a harbinger of peace after 50 years of war, the number of Israelis who still feel that way can “fit in two telephone booths,” Kedar told Israeli radio station Arutz Sheva.
What happened in the intervening years to change most Israelis’ minds? In a word, Gaza.
In 2005, Israel “disengaged” from Gaza, uprooting 21 Jewish communities with a combined population of some 10,000 people. It was a gut-wrenching move for the Jewish state, but it was also the first major test of whether or not the Palestinians were serious about living in peace if they were given the lands they demanded.
“We gave land, they fired rockets into Israel,” noted Kedar. Since Israel pulled out of Gaza, nearly 10,000 rockets have been fired into southern Israel from the coastal enclave.
Kedar explained that Israelis aren’t about to let the same thing happen in Judea and Samaria (the so-called “West Bank”), from which terrorist rockets could easily hit Israel’s largest population centers and its only major international airport.
Kedar is currently promoting a peace plan that would grant the Palestinians increased autonomy in their own cities, but would stop far short of the independent, sovereign control over Judea and Samaria that the current negotiations are aimed at achieving.