On the day Prime Minister Netanyahu met President Trump at the White House – a day we might consider from now on as the ‘official’ day the two-state Solution has died, even though others (myself included, here in this blog and in a talk I gave more than four years ago) declared it dead already – the most significant, important words regarding a solution to the conflict were not heard at that ‘strange’ press conference at the White House, or thereafter in commentary on television and radio news programs, and not read in the many articles by fine observers in the papers online and in print, but those I’ve read that day in the NY Times Opinion Pages from someone I never heard of before. It was titled, “A Settler’s View of Israel’s Future,” and it was written by Yishai Fleisher, “the international spokesman of the Jewish community of Hebron.”
Until now, I wasn’t aware of such an ‘official’ spokesman, and such a position for that community. And yet this article, and its five options that apparently are being proposed and discussed in Israel as a one-state solution to the conflict between Israel and Palestine, are worth digesting, discussing, and analyzing. Which I intend on doing, since I believe they carry (unfortunately so) more probability of materializing than the two-state solution, as well as other solutions being mentioned. In this respect, just as the settlers’ movement kept to its mission undeterred for almost fifty years, and has won the day, so are these proposals more likely to become a reality as “facts on the ground,” sooner or later.
Before I lay it out for you, however, I must alert you to the fact that two common-denominators unite all these proposals (and others that I’ve heard of, and may discuss here in the future), in regard to the conflict. One: They all propose the de facto annexation of the West Bank by Israel, as indeed the Israeli President Rivlin has suggested lately; if not all of it than most of it. Second: All the proposals in unison refuse to take into consideration the just aspirations of the Palestinian people for an entity, capital and state of their own. In this respect at least, they are all doom to failure – in the long run more than in the short run – even though some elements in them are surprisingly doable. And might even tried by Israel with the help of the new regime in Washington.
Here then is the first proposal, as written in that Times article: “The first option, proposed by former members of Israel’s Parliament Aryeh Eldad and Benny Alon, is known as “Jordan is Palestine,” a fair name given that Jordan’s population is generally reckoned to be majority Palestinian. Under their plan, Israel would assert Israeli law in Judea and Samaria while Arabs living there would have Israeli residency and Jordanian citizenship. Those Arabs would exercise their democratic rights in Jordan, but live as expats with civil rights in Israel.”
Now admittedly, I was taken aback by this proposal. I’ve heard many times before of Ze’ev Jabotinsky, Meir Kahane’s and their followers, proposing to uproot all the Arab/Palestinian people from the West Bank – i.e. Judea and Samaria – and transfer them to Jordan, or even further beyond. Basically, they are the same people, those followers assert, with many families living on the east side of the Jordan River, and others living on the west side. (P.S.: As someone who went to battle against PLO forces behind the border in Jordan, I have a particular point-of-view on this. After all, following that battle, Jordan completed the job the Israeli army had begun in what’s known as ‘Black September,’ and threw the Palestinian fighters out of Jordan). This proposal assumes that first, the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, its king and people, would agree to it; and second, that the Palestinians would agree. Now, while I find this outcome to be very unlikely – especially on the Palestinian side – I can see the rationale behind this proposal, which solidify Israel’s control over the whole area on the one hand, and supposedly taking care of the problematic ‘apartheid’ issue on the other. Crazy as it may sound – I’ve heard crazier things in the past – I don’t think it should be discarded out of hand for being too crazy as to not have at least an outside shot of becoming a reality one day.
Here then is the second alternative: “Suggested by Israel’s education minister, Naftali Bennett, (it) proposes annexation of only Area C — the territory in the West Bank as defined by the Oslo Accords (about 60 percent by area), where a majority of the 400,000 settlers live — while offering Israeli citizenship to the relatively few Arabs there (about 200,000. H.D.). But Arabs living in Areas A and B — the main Palestinian population centers — would have self-rule.” In other words: not citizenship.
I’ve heard of this proposal before, of course, and in more details even, as Mr. Bennett has made no secret of it lately. In reality, meaning taking into account ‘facts on the ground’ as they are currently existing in the West Bank, this is the most feasible, if not peaceable solution to the conflict. De facto, it’s actually more or less in existence already. It will make Israeli citizens of the Palestinians living in Area C., and the rest will have their limited autonomy (or a “state-minus” as PM Netanyahu had put it recently). It’s a partial solution of course, if that. But when considering where the political winds are blowing in Israel – news flash: right, very right – it has more probability of becoming a reality than any other proposal.
I need to restress this, though: None of the proposals – these two above and the other three, maybe even more, which I will discuss in my next post – deals with the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people for a state of their own; sidestepping the fact the UN and other countries around the globe had already passed resolutions recognizing Palestine as a state in one form or another; and disregarding completely the fact that all these entities and countries – including, until now, U.S.A. – regard the Jewish settlements in the West Bank as illegal under international law. Stay tune, therefore, as more is to come next month.
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Filed under: Middle East, Military, Politics, religion, United Nations | Tagged: democracy, Israel, Jerusalem, Jewish People, Mideast, Netanyahu, One-State Solution, Palestine, Peace, politics, Promised Land, Religious, settlements, two-state solution, West Bank, Zionism | 2 Comments »