The American Interest

Israel’s House Divided

In the aftermath of Benjamin Netanyahu’s electoral victory last March, the “two-state solution” to the Arab-Israeli conflict is off the table for the foreseeable future.  Netanyahu’s public disavowal of the two-state formula (despite his subsequent denials) was not a last-minute campaign ploy.  It reflected his deeply held belief that Israel can survive and prosper by maintaining the post-1967 status quo in perpetuity.

The Israeli prime minister feels emboldened by a shift in Israel’s favor of the regional military-political balance.  Two major adversaries, Iraq and Syria, have been effectively eliminated as coherent state actors.  The Iraqi Army melted away in the face of the Islamic State onslaught last summer; even if rebuilt and re-equipped under American auspices, it will pose no threat to Israel for a generation.  In Syria government forces are still able to hold their own against an array of Islamic adversaries; yet even if Assad survives he will not be willing or able to disturb the peace in the Golan for years to come.  His dismantling of the country’s chemical-weapons stockpile in the fall of 2013 has removed another potential threat to Israel, however remote.

Egypt’s army is large and intact, but President Abdel Fatah el-Sisi has reiterated his adherence to the 1979 peace treaty with Israel: He has his hands full with maintaining...

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