Israel’s outgoing Ambassador to the UK Mark Regev has called the two-state solution “an illusion” that will “never be implemented”. He instead said people should focus on “reality” and defended Israel’s plans to declare sovereignty over its ancient homeland.
The envoy’s comments came in an interview with the BBC’s political pundit Nick Robinson for ‘Political Thinking,’ you can listen to the full interview here.
Robinson was typically negative towards Israel, repeatedly trying to highlight to viewers what he called “an aggression in the Israeli state that can make people nervous” and even suggesting that the children of Holocaust survivors were “angry” and that’s why Israel is seen as being aggressive.
Regev answered in his usual manner, calmly and intelligently, explaining his experience as the son of a Holocaust survivor and defending Israel, which is far from being aggressive, but a country in a tough region that stands up for itself against those who seek its destruction.
Regev explained that Israel is the only democratic state within the Middle East and that for all Israel’s “glorious imperfections” it is a “free, open tolerant, liberal and multi-party democracy”.
“On the whole, I am totally convinced in the justice of what Israel is all about,” he said. “The Idea that the Jewish people deserve national self-determination in their homeland, that the Jewish state is entitled to security, Israel is in a very tough region and is entitled to defensible borders and to be able to protect ourselves. I’m not going to apologise about that, I firmly believe that.”
He explained the importance of Israel in regards to the Holocaust.
“The fact that the Jews can now be sovereign and independent and defend themselves, that is, for my father’s generation, a very significant and important change,” Regev explained.
“In January, when we go to Holocaust Remembrance services, commemorations, people empathise with Jews who were the victims,” he explained. “But what if Jews have decided they don’t want to be victims anymore? What if the Jewish people have decided that they don’t want to be on the receiving end of persecution and violence anymore? They want to defend themselves, they want to be sovereign and free and independent and equal among the nations. Will you still have solidarity for us then?”
He concluded the point affirming, “No, I’m actually proud that we are no longer history’s victims, that we are no longer stateless and defenceless.”
The Two State illusion
Ambassador Regev defended Israel’s plans to declare sovereignty over parts of the Judea and Samaria (the West Bank).
“Any peace has to be based on reality,” he said. “You can have a two-state illusion. It might look nice on paper, but it will never be implemented.
“A real solution has to take into account the realities on the ground and first and foremost, you have to build peace on security because we know that peace that can be defended won’t endure, it can’t survive.’
Regev, a former spokesman for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, left London for Jerusalem last month and is expected to take on an advisory role.
However Regev said a future Palestinian state looked like it would be “just another failed Middle Eastern state… like Iraq or Syria or Yemen or Libya” and said “there are signs that could well be the case” with a proposed Palestinian state based on how it is currently being run.
He said: “How is that good for peace? How is that good for Israel? More importantly, how is that going to be good for the Palestinians?
Regev made the point that people keep speaking of a Palestinian state, but he asked, “When people talk about a Palestinian state, I think it’s important to put a number of qualifications. Is it a Palestinian state that is peaceful? Is it a Palestinian state that is democratic? Is it a Palestinian state that wants to live with Israel side by side or is it just a superior platform to continue the struggle against Israel?”
“These are questions that have to be asked”, Regev said.
We call upon the UK Government to officially recognise Jerusalem is Israel's capital and move its embassy to Jerusalem.