Thinking Aloud: Permanently Undermining the Two-State Solution?

Aug. 21, 2014 by Darius 

The ceasefire between Israel and Hamas is dead, and neither side showed much interest in serious negotiations.  The Israeli negotiating team simply left the table and Cairo, the site of negotiations, and Hamas began firing rockets into Israel.  Israel retaliated with airstrikes.  In one way, this seems to be a return to business-as-usual, but in another this may finally be the end of a long road.

Negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority broke down months ago.  “Negotiations,” if they could even be called that, have now also broken down between Israel and Hamas.  Neither set of negotiations ever got off the ground.  The two-state solution is looking pretty dead.  Can we all just stop pretending that the two-state solution is viable anymore?

The most recent phase of warfare between Israel and Hamas may be a permanent death blow to the two-state solution.  Why?  Tunnels.

Hamas’s tunnels from Gaza into Israel were a relatively minor cause of the recent war but quickly became the focus of most of the fighting.  The Israeli public was horrified to learn the extent of the tunnel system – the phrase “intelligence failure” was not uncommon.  The longest of these tunnels reached a mile into Israel.  But Israel’s border with Gaza is quite small, minimizing the possible effectiveness of tunnel warfare.

But what about Israel’s border with the West Bank?  Tunnels a mile long from the West Bank could reach into a very large chunk of Israel.  Given the inherent covert nature of tunnels, even a “trustworthy” government in an independent West Bank could never assuage Israeli concerns on this issue.  A people living on top of the land would never feel secure if they had even the slightest suspicion that someone with unknown intent might be tunneling beneath them, and who could blame them?

Thus, Hamas’s tunnel tactic may prove to be the final nail in the coffin of an independent Palestinian state in the West Bank.

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