The two-state solution was a failed concept from the get-go, former Minister of the Interior and Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar asserted on Wednesday night in Jerusalem.
The Likud politician slammed the two-state solution in an address to an audience at the Menachem Begin Center. The center hosted the Israel Victory Project, an initiative spearheaded by the Middle East Forum, a conservative think tank.
The initiative asserts that in every show-down with the Arab world, Israel has won decisively and should act accordingly during peace negotiations.
“A final resolution to any conflict or disagreement demands the will and mutual understanding of both parties. It can’t be accomplished unilaterally. The two-state solution on a practical level was never more than a two-state slogan or idea, and not even successful at that,” Sa’ar said.
His remarks were in line with the theme of the evening which highlighted the pitfalls of the Oslo Accords. The event, called “Oslo Failed, Victory Now” hosted discussions about how, despite marking 25 years since that fateful milestone, not much has been accomplished in its wake.
Former director-general of the Ministry of Strategic Affairs, Brig.-Gen. (res.) Yossi Kuperwasser, a panelist at the event, didn’t mince words when he slammed the accords.
“Oslo failed due to a combination of willful ignorance, sheer stupidity and some sort of wishful thinking mixed with naiveté. The Palestinians never hid their intention or narrative. They say it out loud every day,” he said.
“Do we see that Israel is more secure? Is Israel closer to peace? Do we see that the average Palestinian life has improved? The answer to these questions is no,” said Likud MK Avraham Neguise, who heads the Knesset Committee for Immigration, Absorption and Diaspora Affairs and is co-chair for the Knesset Israel Victory Project Caucus.
Former MK Einat Wilf, however, claimed that dismissing the Oslo Accords as “stupid” is a little too simplistic and that, given the optimistic euphoria of the 90s, the treaty seemed part of the “anything is possible” spirit that imbued the decade.
“Oslo emerged from victory. The feeling of the 90s let us remember what it was like. The Soviet Union collapsed overnight. Apartheid ended. There was peace in Northern Ireland. What seemed impossible the day before was seen as inventable the day after,” she said.
However, Wilf said, while taking context into account is important, it doesn’t detract from the fact that Oslo did not achieve its ultimate goal.
As such, the Israel Victory project has spent the past year since its launch shoring up support in both Jerusalem and Washington – and across party lines – to encourage lawmakers to adopt a new approach to the peace process: before any negotiations will take place, the Palestinians must concede defeat and recognize the Jewish state’s legitimacy.
“Palestinians have much to gain from their defeat. If they want to crawl out of almost a century of rejectionism, then they should acknowledge that the jig is up and they lost,” Prof. Daniel Pipes, Middle East Forum founder said, adding that the Israel Victory Project is not advocating for any specific solution.
“We are solution-agnostic. Whatever [the solution] is – one state, two states or going back to ‘67 boundaries – it should be about convincing the Palestinians that they lost. We are open to every idea,” he said.
This article was written in cooperation with the Middle East Forum.