By Ted Belman
Things are not going well for the two-state solution.
Palestinian PM Fayed said that no agreement will be reached this year. The latest poll in the territories discloses that since the Annapolis meeting, Fatah is losing popularity. Hamas has taken centre stage with its breach of the Gaza border. Livni acknowledges that Hamas must be dealt with first before the peace process can succeed. Though some say the look of the final deal is known others say the parties are farther apart than ever.
An agreement looks so far away that David Landau, the Editor of Haaretz, told Sec’y Rice in December, that Israel wanted to be raped. The Left including Israel Policy Forum is lobbying the US government for an imposed solution.
Attempting to create two states on this small piece of land with the hatred and distrust that exists between the people is an impossible task, particularly when the Palestinians want to destroy Israel rather have their own state and Israel doesn’t want to accept the Saudi Plan.
The US and Europe want to find a solution to the conflict. Creating a 23rd Arab state isn’t the primary goal. Let us assume they abandon the idea of creating a Palestinian state. Instead they allow Israel to destroy Hamas, Fatah and the PA. Israel would collect all weapons and once again be in charge of the Rafah crossing. All UN agencies doing work in the territories including UNWRA, would be replaced by Israel. All check points would be removed and the fence taken down.
That’s the easy part.
The refugees living outside the territories should receive compensation and passports. They should be absorbed by other nations but not be allowed to return to the territories except in limited circumstances. This is key.
If resettling about 4 million refugees throughout the world is too problematic, the US should work with their allies, Jordan and Egypt to develop an alternative location. Both of them are threatened by a radical Palestine and have much to gain in cooperating. Perhaps Egypt can be induced to give the northeast corner of Sinai to Gaza, as a potential new state. The entire area should be under a UN Mandate, like the Palestine Mandate, only this time on different land and for the Arab refugees. The US could be the Mandatory Power.
The refugees still living in camps in Jordan, Lebanon and elsewhere should be resettled in this new land and then be put to work building the necessary housing and infrastructure. This could be a ten or twenty year project.
Now Israel, the US and the EU should agree to the following in the Westbank.
1. Israel could abrogate Oslo and annex the Westbank.
2. Israel could remain a Jewish state
3. the Arabs living there could be offered generous compensation to leave and the EU and the US would accept them as refugees..
4. Perhaps they could be offered citizenship in Jordan or the the new Palestine Mandate.
5. Israel would re-educate the Arabs for peaceful coexistence.
6. At the end of a fifteen year period, Israel would enable the Arabs remaining to apply for Israeli citizenship subject to certain oaths, pledges and commitments.
At that time, Jews would outnumber Arabs in Israel by a margin of 3 to 1. It could remain Jewish and be democratic. With the removal of Palestinian Nationalism every thing would settle down in the new Israel and Israel could focus on removing any vestiges of discrimination.
This solution would be easy to implement. Furthermore removing 400,000 refugees from Lebanon would stabilize that country and she would be glad to cooperate. The same for any other country that got rid of its refugees. Egypt could be given a highway connection to Jordan from the Sinai and neither country would have to worry about a radical state on its borders.
Of course this would require the Arab League to give up the goal of destroying Israel. With or without their consent, the US and the EU could do it. And everybody would be better off.