“Over the years, there has been this flawed strategy that as long as our enemies were building power, but not using it, it was OK. That was ridiculous,” said Knesset member Dan Illouz of the Likud Party.
“Wake-Up Call From Gaza: Putting an End to the Two-State Paradigm” was the subtitle of the “Nation, Land Sovereignty” conference held in Jerusalem on Thursday, calling for an end to the almost universally accepted answer to the Arab-Israel conflict, namely, the “two-state solution.”
The Hamas massacre of 1,200 men, women and children in southern Israel on Oct. 7—and the taking of hostages, with as many as 136 still being held captive in Gaza—ended the idea of two states living side-by-side in peace, declared conference speakers, noting that the catastrophe was the culmination of a progression of events, but mainly, Israel’s retreat from the Gaza Strip in the summer of 2005.
Many of the speakers had long warned about the dangers of both disengagement and the Oslo Accords, begun a little more than 30 years ago, in which Israel handed over parts of the Gaza Strip, in addition to Judea and Samaria, to the terrorist Palestinian Liberation Organization.
“Whoever supports the two-state solution supports the destruction of Israel. Full stop,” Nadia Matar told JNS. Her group, the Sovereignty Movement, which she co-founded with fellow settlement activist Yehudit Katsover 10 years ago, sponsored the conference together with the Yesha Council.
“If you support the two-state paradigm, it means you believe in a Palestinian state that will expel Jews, build a terrorist army and attack Tel Aviv to push us into the sea. Some support this knowingly, others naively,” she told JNS.
‘The right was right’
According to a poll presented at the conference, 74% of Israelis now oppose the creation of a Palestinian state in Judea and Samaria, and 76% support the voluntary transfer of Palestinians.
The poll also found that center-left voters sided solidly with what had once been considered right-wing views with 61% of Yesh Atid voters supporting voluntary transfer.
A panel moderated by JNS Jerusalem bureau chief Alex Traiman discussed the various preconceptions that led to the tragedy.
“The right was right,” Knesset member Dan Illouz of the Likud Party, told Traiman. “Over the years, there has been this flawed strategy that as long as our enemies were building power, but not using it, it was OK. That was ridiculous.”
Also discussed was the international response to the war, including the current “genocide” hearings at the International Court of Criminal Justice in The Hague, and demands by the Biden administration to turn the Gaza Strip over to the Palestinian Authority, a proposal that earned catcalls from the audience.
Mark Zell, chairman of Republicans Overseas, called for the immediate development of Israel’s local arms production so that it will never again be dependent on any other country for its war materiel.
In another panel, titled, “Not a Palestinian State, Yes to Sovereignty,” Yishai Fleischer, international spokesman for the Hebron Jewish community, said that Israel would be in great shape if it just stopped doing “dumb things.”
Among those he listed: “allowing enemies to build tunnels under your nose,” “giving money to the P.A.,” “feeding your enemy while you’re at war with them” and “allowing mementos in Jerusalem to be sold with a map of Jerusalem and the word ‘Palestine’ printed under it.”
“Before we have sovereignty of the land, we need sovereignty of the spirit,” agreed Dror Eydar, former Israeli ambassador to Italy.
Image: Members of a panel that discussed a session titled “Wake-Up Call From Gaza,” at the “Nation, Land Sovereignty” conference held on Jan. 11, 2024. Photo by David Isaac.