Inadvertently, President Barack Obama just made an important contribution to our understanding of the Palestinian conflict with Israel.
Since Hamas ousted all PLO forces from the Gaza Strip in 2007, Gaza has operated as a separate political entity from Judea and Samaria. Indeed, it has been a de facto independent Palestinian state, controlled by Hamas.
Gaza’s only connection to Judea and Samaria has been financial. Every month, the PLO-controlled Palestinian Authority in Judea and Samaria transfers tens of millions of dollars in US and other international donor funds to Gaza to finance the terror state.
Despite the clear distinction between the two areas, the US and the rest of the world have continued to insist that an Israeli-PLO peace deal will cover Gaza as well as Judea and Samaria. Obama always insists that a future Palestinian state must be “territorially contiguous,” meaning in a final deal Israel will be required to cut itself in half in order to give the Palestinians a land corridor connecting Gaza with Judea and Samaria.
But during his remarks at the Saban Forum on Saturday, Obama let the cat out of the bag. Gaza, he admitted, is a separate entity. A peace deal, he explained, “is going to have to happen in stages.”
As he sees it, a peace deal will involve an Israeli withdrawal from Judea and Samaria. A post-Israel Judea and Samaria will be so wonderful that the Gazans will decide to join it.
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