The USA has recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. The USA embassy  will be moving  to Jerusalem.  Once  again an announcement  of attempted  reconciliation Hamas  and the Palestinian Authority. President Trump will release  his Mideast Peace framework in a couple of months. Saudi Arabia is contemplating  establishing  relationships with Israel. Saudi Arabia  will pressure the Palestinians to accept a reasonable plan that the USA will put on the table  so the  Saudi’s can cement a strategic response with USA and Israel to Iran . Now is the time that Israel should state that it will accept  a two state  solution, but it needs to be clear  what the 2 State solution  really means.

 

Unfortunately the PA/Hamas reconciliation, if it ever occurs, will probably decrease the chance of  resumption of a meaningful peace  process by itself. However it is very  likely that the international community  will put  pressure on Israel to commit  to a Two State Solution(TSS).  So it is imperative that Israel clearly state their requirements for it’s version of a  TTS  that includes their security needs as well as  an economic peace  for the  Palestinians.

 

What is unclear is what actually does a Two State Solution (TSS) mean. What seems to be clear is it is not two states and it not a feasible solution in the near term. It is also clear that Hamas will not surrender their weapons  and the  PA will not  accept a  Jewish state unless severely pressured by Arab countries.

 

There  have been many multi state solutions discussed.  Depending on the definition; it is an either a 2(Israeli- Palestinian), 3 (2 plus Gaza), or 4 (3 plus Jordan) state solution and we can go on.

 

It is not a near term solution because the current Palestinian Authority (PA) and Hamas will not accept Israel as a Jewish state or the requirement of the demilitarization of any new state unless the Saudi‘s and Egyptians put pressure  on the Palestinians, with or without Abbas.

 

A one state solution (Israel at the May 1 1948 borders which includes Gaza, Yehuda and Shomron) creates a dangerous  demographic issue  and no one wants to govern the Palestinians of  Gaza.  However removing  Gaza from the equation reduces or eliminates the demographic uncertainty. There are at least a dozen different  definitions of a Two State Solution.

 

But before  one evaluates the different peace solutions, one needs to start to understand what are the needs of the affected populations.  These objectives should not defined by the Palestinian Authority (PA) or Israeli elite, but from the people that are affected by the current situation; the Israeli and Palestinian public.

 

Based on a recent  poll of Palestinians in Yehuda and Shomron indicated their  top 5 needs:

1) Control of their lives

2) Job opportunity and Civil rights

3) Equal Health and Education

4) No mass population transfers

5) Freedom of movement

One of the  surprising results of the poll was only 14 percent of the West Bank  Palestinian population listed a Palestinian state as their primary goal.

 

The top 5 needs of Israelis are:

1) Security

2) No terrorism and incitement- demilitarization of Palestinian’s

3) Living in a Jewish Liberal Democracy

4) No mass population transfers

5) Israel remains a Jewish State

 

 

 

Below are some typical definitions different  Two State  solutions.

1)One State Solution- Israel, Gaza and Yehuda and Shomron become on one state. Israel provide  all security and defense. Every resident of this state will be given equal citizen rights.

2)Hamas One State Solution – All Israelis  are moved out of the country

3) Traditional Two State solutions(Traditional TSS)  – Gaza and Yehuda and Shomron will become a  contiguous Palestinian state. Israel will go back to the pre ‘67 borders

4)Three State solutions – Gaza becomes a state. Yehuda and Shomron become a second Palestinian state. Israel will go back to the pre ‘67 borders

5)Four State solutions – Jordan becomes the primary Palestinian State. Gaza becomes a second Palestinian state. Yehuda and Shomron becomes a third Palestinian state. Israel will go back to the pre ‘67 borders

 

None of these solutions meet the basic  needs of the Israeli population (ie  Security. No Mass population transfers, no terrorism and incitement) and many would not  meet the many of the desires of the Palestinians. However there  are options that will meet  many of both Israeli and Palestinian needs.

 

Some include:

1) 2 State solution with Land Swaps – The  5 major settlement blocks(  Givat Zeev, Modiin, Ma’ale Adumim, Gush Etzion, Ariel)are annexed and other land (Northern Arab-Israeli towns) are annexed to an demilitarized Palestinian State.

2) 3 State Minus – Gaza is it’s own state, Area  A and B become an autonomous Palestinian  State where Israel provides security, but all other state functions  are provided by the second   Palestinian  State. Israel annexes Area C

3) Jordan accepts Palestinians living in Yehuda and Shomron as Jordanian citizens. These citizens can become permanent residents of Israel. (Known as the Jordan Plan)

4) New Jordan Plan – This plan engineers Jordan becoming the primary Palestinian state with a Palestinian president , forcing the Hashemite King to give up his throne. West Bank Palestinians will be incented  to move to Jordan.

5) Kedar Plan -Create seven Palestinian city emirates and Israel annexes the rest of Yehuda and Shomron. Gaza is a separate  Palestinian State.

6) Egypt Plan- Egypt annexes Gaza and International funds turn  Gaza in a modern seaport.

7)Gaza Sinai Plan- Gaza and  part of the Egyptian Sinai become part of a Palestinian state. Area  A and B become Palestinian autonomous area and Area C is annexed by Israel.

 

All these solutions have pros and cons, and tricky tradeoffs, but let’s look at the reality on the ground.

1) There are a half a million Israelis in Yehuda and Shomron forecasted to grow to a million  in a decade. Most of them in Area C. (Under the Oslo agreement ,Yehuda and Shomron, sometimes call the West Bank, was broken in  3 areas; A, B, and C.

 Area A is under full control of the Palestinian Authority and consists primarily of urban Palestinian areas.

Area B is under Palestinian civil control and shared Palestinian and Israeli security control and includes the vast majority of the Palestinian rural areas.

Area C is under full Israeli control. Palestinian agencies are responsible for education and healthcare)

 

2) Hamas and the PA still have in their charter the objective of  destroying the State of Israel. They also deny the connection of Israel to any part of the Land.

3) Hamas and PA continue to teach hate in their schools and celebrate the slaughter of Jews, as well incite Palestinians to violence. Most  notably  by paying terrorists and their families death stipends for  killing Israelis.

4) Illegal arms continue to pour to Arabs in Gaza , Yehuda and Shomron.

5) PA refuses to allow Jews to live in their proposed State. But insist that Arabs live in Israel.

6) PA insists on the right of return for millions of Palestinians that should have been absorbed in their resident countries, as the Jews who were   expelled from Arab countries have been absorbed by Israel.

 

None of the above is going to change in the near term. So the alternatives is either to live with the status quo or to create an environment where there can be an evolution to a different  peace solution.

 

 

 

As the Palestinian Authority refuses to negotiate, it is the Palestinian people who continue to suffer.  How can the status quo be moved ahead to eliminate the Palestinian suffering, while at the same time assure the Israeli security requirements.

 

The challenge is to start moving in direction of a peace that addresses the top  desires of both the Palestinian and Israeli people. Any peace will take many years , if not generations, and will require a set of milestones that will need to be met before the next step of the peace process could proceed.

 

Here is one proposal that could be used as a first step which is comprised of 3 activities.

 

The first activity is to invest in infrastructure in the Arab neighborhoods of Jerusalem and Golan Heights. These neighborhoods  should be come models of upgrading Arab  towns that other  Arab towns can look forward to.

Next, announce that there will be no settlement building in area A and B for a limited time period. This is the area that contains about 80 percent of the Palestinian population in Yehuda and Shomron.

Finally, offer a path to citizenship for all the inhabitants of Area C. Israeli sovereignty will be placed on Area C, where a majority of Israeli living in Yehuda and Shomron reside.

 

All these activities can be done simultaneously. The Palestinians will be  monitored  regarding   how they control incitement, hatred and terrorism. International funding   should be subject to how they perform. Israel will be monitored on how they provide  equality in Area C and International funding  for that  effort will also be subject to their performance.

 

At the same time the framework of an autonomous demilitarized state in Area A and B will begin, so Palestinians living in Area A and B will have control of all internal activities, such as education, municipal services, judicial services, taxes, infrastructure, etc.

 

The Palestinians who would be responsible for this, will need to show complete transparency and accountability for funds provided by the international community to build an autonomous demilitarized state in Areas A and B. Future funds for this state building   effort should be based on the Palestinians meeting goals and objectives of the transition.

 

 

The current leadership of the PA will unlikely accept any of these proposals. Unless the Israeli government take some bold unilateral steps with the support of the USA and maybe Saudi Arabia it looks like the Palestinian people will continue to suffer and the Israelis will be denied the security they deserve.

 

The current  Trump administration is giving  the Israeli government  the leeway to try new options. Clearly, the past  fifty years has shown  that the traditional Two State Solution will go nowhere. The opportunity exists for the American Administration with the support of the Saudi and Egyptian  government  to create an environment where the Palestinian people  can prosper and obtain their goals of a better life and higher standard  of living. While the Israelis can finally get increased security and remove the fear of mass population transfers.

 

Let’s hope that the new American plan can initiate the trajectory  to a real peace for the Palestinians and Israelis.


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