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Two and a Half Palestinian States?

Raphael Israeli

Policy Paper No. 55, from the book,
Israel and a Palestinian State: Zero Sum Game?, 2001


All solutions proposed to date regarding the Palestinian problem, have been predicated upon the slicing of Palestine into three different and separate territories: the West Bank and Gaza, Israel Proper, and Transjordan; and upon the differentiation of the Palestinian people into Palestinians (those in the West Bank, Gaza, the refugee camps and the various Diasporas in the West about 3 million in all, or 40% of the total), the Israeli Arabs (1 million or 15% of the total), and the Jordanians (again 3 million, or 40% of the total).

These artificial divisions have run counter to the proposed solutions, inasmuch as the Palestinians have refused to accept as a permanent settlement any arrangement that would not encompass the majority of the territory of Palestine or of the Palestinian population. At the present stage of the Oslo Process, even should everything else go right, and the Palestinians would make possible by their cooperative conduct a total withdrawal of Israel from the entire West Bank and Gaza, a Palestinian entity there would not resolve more than a third of the problem in terms of both territory and population.

It is therefore suggested here, that a novel solution be negotiated which would rest on the three following principles:

  1. That there should be a mutual recognition between the Israeli Jews and the Palestinian Arabs not only of their mutual right for nationhood, but also for their respective movements of national liberation: Zionism versus the PLO;

  2. That the entire land of historical Palestine (the West Bank and Gaza, Israel Proper, and Transjordan) is on the negotiation table for partition between its legal owners: the Israelis and the Palestinians;

  3. That after the boundaries are agreed between the two neighboring entities, each will continue to harbor as foreign residents the nationals of the other party under special reciprocal arrangements which will be part of the peace accords.

And so, rather than allowing the Palestinians to claim a state in Jordan, where they already constitute the majority; another in the West Bank and Gaza currently under negotiation and implementation under the Oslo Process; and one half of Israel by the Israeli Arabs, who refute the Jewish nature of their country and regard it as a bi-national state, they will end up with one large and strong state, encompassing most Palestinians, which will live in peace and harmony.

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