Reason Podcast

Does Middle East Peace Require a Two-State Solution or a Palestinian Defeat? A Debate

Should Israel negotiate with Hamas and Fatah, or are they unwavering enemies in a protracted struggle?


"To resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Israel must first achieve defeat of the Palestinian movement."

That was the topic of a debated hosted by the Soho Forum on March 18, 2019. It was an Oxford-style debate, in which the audience votes on the resolution at the beginning and end of the event, and the side that gains the most ground is victorious.

Brett Raney

For the affirmative, Elan Journo, a fellow and director of policy research at the Ayn Rand Institute, argued that the Palestinian movement is irreedemably corrupt and must be defeated as a necessary condition to achieve peace. The P.L.O. and Hamas have a long history of inciting terrorism and suicide attacks, and they aremore concerned with destroying Israel than with winning justice and prosperity for the Palestinian people, he argued. The defeat of the movement will require a coalition of governments to wage a sustained campaign of economic, diplomatic, and military efforts.

Danny Sjursen, a U.S. Army strategist and former history instructor at West Point, rejected Journo's characterization of the Palestinian movement. He argued that most Palestinian organizations, including Hamas, are more willing than ever to make reasonable compromises for peace, accept a two-state solution, and at least tacitly recognize Israel's right to exist. The only way to achieve a lasting solution to the middle east crisis is to treat the Palestinian leadership as potential negotiating partners.

Sjursen prevailed by convincing about 14 percent of audience members to change their minds.

Brett Raney

Journo's latest book is What Justice Demands: America and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict. He is co-author of Failing to Confront Islamic Totalitarianism: From George W. Bush to Barack Obama and Beyond and editor of Winning the Unwinnable War: America's Self-Crippled Response to Islamic Totalitarianism.

Sjursen served tours with reconnaissance units in both Iraq and Afghanistan. He has written for The Nation and The American Conservative, he is the author of a memoir and critical analysis of the Iraq War, Ghostriders of Baghdad: Soldiers, Civilians, and the Myth of the Surge.

'Modum' by Kai Engel is licensed under CC BY 4.0

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  1. Should Israel negotiate with Hamas and Fatah

    One might consider the reverse, too:

    Should Hamas and Fatah negotiate with Israel

    I don’t have much use for the Israeli government, but I don’t have much use for any government. But that question assumes negotiation is entirely up to Israel.

    It only takes one to start a fight. It takes two to negotiate.

    1. Hamas and Fatah can’t even stop fighting each other. At this point we would need a three state solution.

      A free and democratic one state solution is impossible. Not soon after Jews are a minority in Israel, they will be exiled and/or exterminated.

      1. And fuck it, I do care that we spend far too much money in aide to Israel, a country more than capable of funding itself, but fuck the Palestinians and every other country in the region. As a gay man, I could safely walk the streets of Israel, maybe having to worry about some ultra-Orthodox guy spitting on me. In any Muslim majority country I would likely be stoned to death.

        1. I lived in Israel 2 years ago. Last time I walked in Mea Shearim (the ultra-orthodox section) they attacked me and pushed me down on the street, kicked me and said, “Don’t come back or they’ll kill you.” The religious fundamentalism there is getting worse by the day.

          1. Why? What did you do?

            1. They never told me. I visited Mea Shearim many times. They would throw foul smelling purplish slime on me. I have no idea what it was, and I don’t want to.

          2. These fucking savages will do that shit to 6 year old girls because the girl is dressed like a normal, westernized kid, i.e., a WHORE (in their tiny little minds).

            The Talmud encourages/excuses/demands this sort of behavior. It is a unequivocally a document of “Jewish” supremacy. It explicitly states that the rape of a goy child of 3 by a Jew is of no importance.

            We are dealing with the highest IQ section of the world, the Ashkenazim. Unfortunately, they’ve been trained and conditioned since birth to be in-group moral monsters.

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      2. Actually we need a 4 state solution, because secular and religious Jews are now fighting each other.

      3. Yah, two parties was my mistake 🙂 But three is barely closer. If those two ever agreed on anything, each would spawn two splinter groups.

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  2. Solution is simple: One state with full freedom and equal rights just like we have in the USA. The problem is that the Zionists incite the Palestinians against them. We saw a great example of this just last night in Brooklyn of all places:

    Hello, can I ask you a few questions? Hello, hello, are any of your children going to blow themselves up today?

    So what we are seeing is that Trump is trying to incite immigrants (and Muslims) to create the ‘enemy’ and the ‘terrorist’. Zionists did this starting over a century ago. We don’t stand for it here and we won’t tolerate it in Israel any more either.

    1. Trump ain’t trying to do anything but excite everybody. It’s his modus operandi.

      Zionists have no more “excessive” control over the US government than the sugar companies, or the auto industry, or any other lobby group.

      When you start complaining about all the other lobbyists, then I might begin to belive you are not a racist bigot.

      1. I’m Jewish and love myself and all the Jews. Not sure why you are accusing me of racism. As for Zionism, it is pretty much the polar opposite of Judaism. For too long we’ve mistaken enemies for friends, hate for love, and lies for truth. No more!

        1. You can be racist towards yourself.

          1. Get out of here with that PC word-salad-nonsense.

  3. The solution is simple. Since The Israelis are the good guys and the Muslims are the villains, Israel must prevail. The only real way for this to happen dimplomatocslly is for groups like Hamas to renounce their intent to exterminate the Jews and Israel along with it.

    Nothing else happens until after that. Case closed.

    1. for this to happen dimplomatocslly

      Very few things happen dimple automatic silly.

  4. “and at least tacitly recognize Israel’s right to exist.”
    “Sjursen prevailed by convincing about 14 percent of audience members to change their minds.”

    Sounds like a terrible audience then if they’re willing to accept a tacit (and extremely subjective, Sjursen does not represent Hamas) acceptance, especially if that tacit acceptance is enshrined in a permanent Arab state directly bordering Israel, in an East/West German type of border (non traditional borders that aren’t geographical, but arbitrary lines through existing cities that aren’t easily defensible), that is known to be only tacitly accepting and is founded upon a terrorist organization whose entire history spans a front for continued Arab resistance against Jews after the Arab League lost pathetically and their agenda resulted in ceding additional territory to Israel with international support for Israel.

    1. “Sounds like a terrible audience ”

      Let’s face it. Any audience where Zionists don’t outnumber the anti-semites is a terrible audience.

      Israel has just as much right to exist as any other parcel of land on the planet. It’s this Jewish State business that irks me. If they kept it to the same size as the Vatican, the Catholic State, I’d be prepared to let it slide. Handful of Swiss mercenaries would keep the natives at bay while those inside sacrifice animals and do other Jewish things.

      1. This is a libertarian site. You don’t seem to get that

        GOVERNMENTS DO NOT HAVE RIGHTS. They have duties. Israel has no more “right” to exist than does any other mafia.

        Individuals have rights, and governments are instituted to protect those rights, deriving their JUST powers from the consent of the governed, and when governments become destructive towards these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish them, and to institute new Guards for their security,laying their foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. So when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

        Fuck Israel.

  5. Peace in the Middle East? Nobody in recorded history has achieved that, but we have certain technological advantages.

    So, to create peace in the middle east;

    Nuclear Bomb the entire region, with dirty bombs such that the ground will be dangerously radioactive. Then impregnate the ground with chemical toxins. Make are that anyone fool enough to occupy the area will die within a week.

    1. Bullshit. There was peace in the area now called Israel for hundreds of years until the zionists moved in in the late 19th century.

      1. You must have a funny definition of “peace” then.

        The Ottomans fought an ongoing conflict with Bedouins in the East Bank region throughout the 1860s and 70s

        Napoleon tried to conquer Acre and Jerusalem in the late 18th century, which lead directly to the Egyptian invasion and the Egyptian?Ottoman War in the 1830s (which of course resulted in a retaliatory invasion by Anglo-Ottoman forces in the 1840s)

        The Zaydani period in the 17th and 18th centuries was constant war between the Al-Zayadina sheikdom in Galilee and Damascus.

        Prior to that, going back to the establishment of Ottoman rule in the 15th century, there was a consistent back and forth conflict between tribal rule and Ottoman centralization.

        And even before that, there was always a war between one Sultanate or another over Jerusalem and Gaza, going straight back to the Crusader period.

        The region hasn’t gone 50 years in the last thousand without a war, and has changed hands almost as many times as its been at war

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  7. “Does Middle East Peace Require a Two-State Solution or a Palestinian Defeat? A Debate”

    Translation: Does Middle East Peace Require Palestinians being almost totally dispossessed or just completely ethnically cleansed?

    “Should Israel negotiate with Hamas and Fatah …”

    How disingenuous. Rothschildistan already succors and subsidizes ISIS (at least); this pantomime of caution and disdain with respect to Hamas is just typical Jewish melodrama. Besides, “Hamas, to my great regret, is Israel’s creation” (Avner Cohen).

  8. This framing is at least a reasonable place for a discussion in the US to start. This is the first time I have heard an argument against the two-state solution articulated.

  9. To find a truthful answer, one must first find the single unambiguous question that represents the conflict.

    Israel is a stolen apartheid theocracy that ONLY exists because of western interference and more taxpayer military aid than anywhere else in earths history.

    Why the fuck would we support those assholes you ask?

    Their crooked financial policies, that have always been the source of their poor relationships, have resulted in less than 2% of the population, Jews, represent about 40% of the billionaires.

    They use this power to influence global affairs.

    The Balfour Declaration proves that the allies losing WW1 made a deal with Zionists to bring the US against its will into the war in exchange for the promised theft of Palestine. Did you know that fact of history?

    The allies were in the wrong then, as we are still.

    1. I blame the Talmud.

  10. Do you mean the part of their religion that instructs Jews to only charge interest to non-Jews. Yeah, that’s never won hearts and minds.

    The annual recitation of the Kol Nidre on Yom Kippur, their plan to lie to God and presumably everyone else, doesn’t help.

  11. The real debate is how much of the expropriated land should Israel return to its rightful individual and communal owners. Palestinians have whole documented databases of who those landowners are to prove their claims. Below 4 four libertarians on their land rights. (Search titles for whole article.)

    Murray Rothbard, Ph.D. ? “War Guilt in the Middle East”: details Israel’s “aggression against Middle East Arabs,” confiscatory policies and its “refusal to let these refugees return and reclaim the property taken from them.”

    Stephen P. Halbrook, Ph.D., J.D. ? “The Alienation of a Homeland: How Palestine Became Israel”: “Palestinian Arabs have the rights to return to their homes and estates taken over by Israelis, to receive just compensation for loss of life and property…”

    Richard Ebeling, Ph.D. ? “Property Rights and the ‘Right of Return'”: “If a settlement is reached between the Israelis and the Palestinians, justice would suggest that all legitimate property should be returned to its rightful owners…”

    I. Dean Ahmad, Ph.D. ? “The Real Reason to Oppose Aid to Israel” : “… at the time of Israel’s founding, Jews, Zionist and non-Zionist alike, owned less than 7% of the land.”

  12. The only way there will ever be peace in the middle east is if we just nuke it! That way there’ll be nobody left to be fighting!

    Other than that it will remain a shit show until the end of time.

    1. Before the west made its deal with the devil, Zionists, to steal Palestine for them in exchange for duping hapless Americans to fight overseas, everyone got along together pretty well in Palestine.

      Just nuke em eh? You sound like the fucking terrorist the west is acting like.

      1. everyone got along together pretty well in Palestine.

        The British disagree.
        At least they were honest enough to say “this place cannot be governed under the mandate we were given. We are leaving. Good luck.”

        1. They had no business governing Palestinians in the first place.

          What a royal mess they made promising Palestine to the Turks to betray Germany, the French to stay in the war and the Jews to bring the US into WW1.

  13. I’m glad Reason believes in free speech.

    And some of ya’ll are sick

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  15. How about going back to the original borders?

    On that day, the Lord made a covenant with Abraham, saying “To your descendants I have given this land, from the river of Egypt as far as the great river, the river Euphrates”. Genesis 15:18

    1. What commission does God the real estate agent get?

      Does he also work for the Palestinians or just Jews?

      How about just undoing all western interference in the Middle East since the Balfour Declaration?

  16. Does Middle East Peace Require a Two-State Solution or a Palestinian Defeat?

    The problem is a lot of people don’t see those options as being different, they see a a two-state solution as being a Palestinian defeat (and a good many more see a two-state solution as an Israeli defeat)

    And many many more on both sides would see it as a defeat depending on how the two states were split up

    1. When did it become our business to “split up” a functioning foreign society?

      Besides when it was advantageous to royal colonialism?

      I thought the US had enough of that.

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  18. The people, for example, that applaud the Green New Deal and the simultaneous outlawing of nuclear power on the basis of some crap about Western Imperialist Patriarchy etc. So if you’re the first type, you just lie and if you’re the second type you’re too stupid or brainwashed to see the bigger picture

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