Barbarians at the Gate

A police officer walks near a police station that was destroyed after a battle between Israeli troops and Hamas militants that have take the station on October 8, 2023, in Sderot, Israel. (Footage by Amir Levy/Getty Images)

The barbarians came at dawn and destroyed everything in their path. They murdered indiscriminately. They brutalized the elderly and the children, taking them away as hostages. They raped the women and executed them. Afterward, they paraded the defiled corpses in the streets, and proudly exhibited mutilated body parts as trophies. They left no doubt as to who they are: monsters from what the free world delusionally believed is a bygone age. There can be no coexistence.

And yet a long-held assumption in Middle East policy circles is that Israelis and Palestinians can share one land, either in mutually recognized sovereign, independent states, or joined in a binational state where they live and rule together. How can you live side by side and share power with those who pledge to drink the blood of your kin?

The raging battle in Gaza will postpone a reckoning with the above for some time. But soon, after Hamas is dealt with, a stark reality will emerge, one ignored for too long. The long-touted dilemma, laid out by Israeli historian Benny Morris in his seminal book One State, Two States between a two-state solution—Israel and Palestine, living side by side independently and in peace—and a binational state where the two nations peacefully share power over the land and its resources, is over. Neither option is viable.

Supporters of one or the other idea will protest that the Palestinians were denied the chance to have their own state and prove themselves ready for coexistence. It’s all about the occupation, they’ll say. Lifting the occupation is what they need to act as peaceful neighbors on equal footing. It’s a farrago of lies. 

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