Well, we've seen a test of the two-state solution when Israel voluntarily pulled out of Gaza. And what has been the result? Check out these charts for the numbers of rocket and mortar attacks launched from Gaza. (H/T Powerline) Note the exponential increase in attacks since Israel pulled out of Gaza in 2005. That rather refutes the argument that attacks would subside if the Israelis would just leave the Palestinians alone. And don't forget the human rights violations of Hamas against their own people.
In direct contravention of international law, Hamas uses Palestinian civilians as human shields, utilizing homes, schools and community centers as launching pads, content in the knowledge that if innocent Palestinian civilians are caught in the cross-fire, it will be Israel that is criticized. This amounts to a sort of Daily Double of human rights violations: the use of innocent Palestinians as human shields for the infliction of violence upon innocent Israelis.So with Hamas as an example of what happens when the Palestinians are left to themselves, there will not be support in Israel for any more concessions to the Palestinians. That is why Oren and Halevi urge the international community to allow Israel to continue its efforts against Hamas in Gaza.
It is Hamas that perfected the use of the suicide bomb, by which young Palestinians were induced to kill themselves so that Israelis could also be killed. It is somehow apt that Hamas should be forever associated with the suicide bomb, for in a larger sense Hamas has proved to be an instrument of the demise of Palestinians in Gaza.
Hamas's persistent call for the annihilation of Israel through jihad, its unequivocal rejection of any peace with Israel under any circumstances, its seizure of Gaza through a coup d'etat, its repression of women and freedom of expression, and its embrace of Iran have all disgusted the international community, which will have little to do with it. Hamas has likewise repelled numerous Arab governments, which might otherwise have been expected to dip into their ample reserves of petrodollars to provide much-needed aid and foreign investment to Gaza, but which have steered clear of it.
Thus Hamas leads the Gazan population on a kamikaze course. The suffering of Gazans cannot conceivably be a genuine concern of the leadership, given the perpetuation of that suffering for which Hamas is responsible. And the suffering of Israelis is its avowed goal.
Without the assurance that they will be allowed to protect their homes and families following withdrawal, Israelis will rightly perceive a two-state solution as an existential threat. They will continue to share the left-wing vision of coexistence with a peaceful Palestinian neighbor in theory, but in reality will heed the right's warnings of Jewish powerlessness.I an extremely pessimistic that there is any chance of a peaceful two-state solution or of some peaceful settlement with Syria. However, those who believe that it is still possible should be fully supporting Israel in its efforts against Hamas. A decisive victory by Israel over Hamas is the best chance that the peacemakers have. They should eschew any phony arguments about disproportionality as if Israel were fighting a battle with Hamas under some sort of international Marquess of Queensberry rules. Instead they should support Israel's playing by Chicago Rules. Barack Obama should be familiar with that concept.
The Gaza crisis also has implications for Israeli-Syrian negotiations. Here, too, Israelis will be unwilling to cede strategically vital territories -- in this case on the Golan Heights -- in an international environment in which any attempt to defend themselves will be denounced as unjustified aggression. Syria's role in triggering the Gaza conflict only deepens Israeli mistrust. The Damascus office of Hamas, which operates under the aegis of the regime of Bashar al Assad, vetoed the efforts of Hamas leaders in Gaza to extend the cease-fire and insisted on escalating rocket attacks.
In the coming days, the Gaza conflict is likely to intensify with a possible incursion of Israeli ground forces. Israel must be allowed to conclude this operation with a decisive victory over Hamas; the untenable situation of intermittent rocket fire and widespread arms smuggling must not be allowed to resume. This is an opportunity to redress Israel's failure to humble Hezbollah in Lebanon in 2006, and to deal a substantial setback to another jihadist proxy of Iran.
It may also be the last chance to reassure Israelis of the viability of a two-state solution.