Last week, the pro-Israel, pro-peace group J Street successfully shamed the neocon Emergency Committee for Israel (ECI) into finally endorsing a two-state solution, which they had previously refused to do.
In Politico today, however, ECI board member Gary Bauer shares his concerns with the two-state formula, noting that extremists oppose it. For some reason, he doesn’t note that some of those extremists are on the Israeli side, or that they’re lobbying Congress against two states right now.
“Apart from disagreements over what form a two-state solution would take,” Bauer writes, “there is the fundamental question of whether the Palestinians ultimately want to co-exist with a Jewish state“:
There are strong indications that the Palestinians envision a two-state solution only as a first step toward their final destination: one state ruled by an Arab Muslim majority.
Palestinian official Sufian Abu Zaida recently abandoned a two-state position. After Netanyahu’s two-state endorsement last summer, Abu Zaida mocked him, saying, “Do you think you are doing us a favor when you agree to two states? No favor at all. From my side, from the Palestinians’ side — let there be one state, not two.”
These and other statements have created skepticism among American Jews about the Palestinians’ intentions. A 2007 survey found that 82 percent of American Jews believed that “the goal of the Arabs is not the return of occupied territories but rather the destruction of Israel.”
Other polls show that the two-state scenario is rejected by the vast majority of Arab Muslims, especially youth. As Condoleezza Rice said in 2008, “Increasingly, the Palestinians who talk about a two-state solution are my age.”
You’ll notice that, apart from a 2007 survey of what American Jews “believe,” Bauer presents no actual data to support his assertion that Arab Muslims don’t support two states. And no, non-specified “other polls” plus “something Condoleezza Rice said in 2008” do not equal “data.”
But here’s some: A July 2010 public opinion poll of the Arab world conducted by Shibley Telhami of the Brookings Institution found that 86% of respondents were “prepared for peace if Israel is willing to return all 1967 territories including East Jerusalem.”
While it’s unlikely that all of the 67 territories will be returned — it’s generally understood that the Palestinians will be compensated through land swaps — this data, at the very least, dispatches Bauer’s “Arab rejectionist” chimera.
Interestingly, while Bauer insists in his article that his concern is protecting “Israel as an independent Jewish state,” he says nothing about that state being democratic. Maybe someone should ask about that.