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Event Recap - Israel at Risk: Preserving the Two-State Option

12/06/2017 02:26:05 PM

Jun12

“Israel at Risk: Preserving the Two-State Option” was the title; “Security First” was one of the underlying themes. A secure, Jewish, democratic state is the goal. Unilaterally completing the security barrier, ending the demolishon of the homes of Palestinians, and taking other immediate steps to bolster its security while at the same time improving the lives of Palestinians and empowering more moderate Palestinian leaders: These steps would help to create an atmosphere in which negotiations towards a two-state solution will be possible and fruitful.

This was the perspective of the lecture at Darchei Noam on May 16, 2017, delivered by Michael Koplow, Policy Director of the Israel Policy Forum (IPF). This was a joint event of the Darchei Noam Israel Education Committee with Canadian Friends of Peace Now (CFPN); CFPN brought Koplow here from Washington D.C.

The lecture began with the following three paragraphs:

“This is an interesting time I think to be talking about two states. We have an Israeli prime minister who is vocally supportive of two states but does not seem to be doing very much to get us there. We have a Palestinian president who has been around a long time, also is vocally supportive of two states, but certainly has not seized the opportunity to say yes to two states when he has been given it. We have an American president, President Trump, who is complicated for all sorts of reasons, but certainly few people I think would have predicted six months ago that he would have been interested in getting to two states. Certainly the platform which he ran did not support it, and when he was elected folks on the Israeli right were very happy to see him in office and Education Minister Naftali Bennett the day after his election predicted that this is the end of the era of the Palestinian State.

“So we should be in inauspicious times to be talking about two states. To the contrary there is more churn around the issue of two states now than there has been for a while. And I don’t think I need to reiterate at length why two states is important. I’ll do it very quickly though, because it certainly has to be noted, and I try never to give any talk without briefly addressing why two states is important.

“For those of us who care about Israel being both a Jewish state and a democratic state there is no other path. Without a two-state solution these things cannot both be preserved. Without two states Israel can be Jewish or it can be democratic; it is very difficult for it to be both. And so getting to two states is an imperative, and there’s a reason that the two-state solution has been the policy of the American government for close to two decades now. It is the policy of the Israeli government, it is the policy of the Palestinian Authority. Despite the fact that it has been tried multiple times without success, nobody has dropped this policy, for good reason. And so, in this era where people have been trying to get to two states now for a quarter century (we’re coming up to a quarter century since Oslo), how do we get there, and what will the current environment allow?”

You can find a summary (entitled “Generals devise plan to save two-state solution”) and an audio recording of the lecture and Q&A, as well as a transcript of the lecture, on the CFPN web site.

One might say that Koplow was channeling Major General (retired) Amnon Reshef, a Yom Kippur War hero and founder (in 2014) and director of Commanders for Israel’s Security (CIS).

Amnon Reshef will be speaking in Toronto on October 24, 2017, in the evening; location and other details will be available on the CFPN web site. CFPN will be bringing him to Canada, with some assistance from New Israel Fund Canada.

Here are some links to various resources relating to the lecture, such as the platform of the CIS:

Amnon Reshef

Commanders for Israel’s Security platform

Opinion pieces by Charles Bronfman:

A first step to Pleace: Calm Angers, then Talk

Resuming Israel-Palestine Talks Now Would Fail, Backfire

Two State Security: West Bank

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