Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Eight State Solution

The Eight State Solution
by Mordechai Kedar, Ph.Palestinian territorial contiguity is dangerous for Israeli national security. For security
and demographic reason, Israel must retain as much land as possible in the West
Bank. Evacuation of these areas will create a dangerous situation for Israeli security
and eventually will necessitate reconquering extensive parts of the West Bank.
There is no reason to dismantle and destroy the existing settlements, rather we
propose the creation of seven independent and separate Arab city-states within
the West Bank, in addition to Gaza.
There is no reason to assume that
a Palestinian state will not become another
failing Arab state, due to the fragmented
society in the West Bank and
Gaza, tribalism and the lack of awareness
of nationhood as demonstrated
by the failing performance of the Palestinian
Authority since its establishment
in 1994.
Since nobody in the world can assure
that a Palestinian state will never
turn – like Gaza – into an Islamic terror
state, any solution for the Palestinians
must minimize its potential threats on
Israel, on the region and on the world.
Social stability is the key for political
stability. Many existing Arab
states are models only of ineffectual
governance; the only successful
model for an Arab state is the one
which is based on a single consolidated
traditional group such as each
of the individual Arab Gulf Emirates.
The standard Arab states - Syria, Iraq,
Yemen, Sudan, which are conglomerates
of tribes, religions, sects and ethnic
groups – present the opposite picture.
It is our belief that the successful
Emirate model can be implemented
in the Palestinian case more easily
and successfully than the failing Arab
Problems wit h Territ oria l
Contiguit y
Over the years, many Israelis and
others have adopted the Arab-Palestinian
narrative that views territorial
contiguity as a condition for the establishment
of a viable Palestinian state.
As a result of this narrative and its pervasiveness
worldwide, efforts are made
to insure that the West Bank Palestinians
will have an integral territory from
Mount Gilboa in the north to the outskirts
of Beersheba in the south. Thus,
the large Israeli settlement blocs in the
West Bank become thin “fingers,” with
no ability to expand, and their inhabitants,
easy targets.
Meanwhile, the central strategic
goal of the state of Israel should be to
permanently remain in Judea and Samaria
and to prevent Palestinian territorial
contiguity. There are dangers
of maintaining territorial contiguity in
the West Bank. While it will facilitate
the Palestinians’ movement and allow
them a better life, the repercussions are
impractical for Israel. Territorial contiguity
will compromise Israel’s security
for the following reasons:
Rockets. Territorial contiguity will
enable weapons smuggled from Gaza
to easily reach all parts of the West Bank
and to be used against the surrounding
major Israeli landmarks and cities. For
example, Israel’s only international airport,
nuclear reactor, and towns such
as Petah Tikva, Kfar Saba, and Afula in
addition to Jerusalem, Haifa and Tel
Aviv will fall within rocket range.
Non-viability of Palestinian
governments. Experience has shown
that Palestinian governments do not
resolutely and consistently act against
terrorists. Political and media messages
over the past 15 years have proven that
neither the PLO nor Hamas have prevented
terrorism and the proliferation
of weapons. There also is no evidence
that any Palestinian government will
prevent terrorism, even if Israel withdraws
all the way to the Green Line.
A further danger is the possibility of a
Hamas takeover in Judea and Samaria
and the creation of a terror state like
the one in the Gaza Strip.
Tunnels. After the completion of
the security fence in the West Bank,
the Palestinians are likely to dig tunnels
along the perimeter, as they have
done along the Gaza-Egyptian border.
These tunnels can be used to smuggle
explosives and terrorists in and out of
Israel. Palestinian territorial contiguity
will make it easier for terrorists to bring
explosives into Israel via the tunnels.
Territory. Transferring land to the
Palestinians will remove the IDF presence
from Palestinian towns. Two problems
arise with this scenario. First, every
strategic location Israel evacuates is
at risk of becoming an arms depot and
a haven for launching missiles into Israel.
Second, any IDF operation against
terror in these towns will require movement
through hostile territory. This
eliminates the element of surprise, essential
for an operation’s success and
forces the IDF to cope with explosives,
mines and ambushes on the way to the
target. By remaining in the rural areas
of the West Bank, the IDF will more
easily have the capacity to collect intelligence
and to perform military operations
against terrorists, if needed.
Water. Most of Israel’s water comes
from an aquifer located under the
Judea and Samaria. Palestinian sovereignty
over the aquifer will create a
grave water problem, compounded by
the presence of tens of thousands of
Israelis who will need to be evacuated
from the settlements of Judea and Samaria.
Arab neighbors to the East. Palestinian
territorial contiguity will cut
off the strategically vital Jordan Valley
from Israel, exposing it to dangers from
the east - Jordan, Iraq and Iran. The
threat posed by Iraq and Iran is thus
greatly magnified by the loss of this
Settlements. Retaining the rural
areas in Judea and Samaria will significantly
reduce the number of settlements
to be dismantled, increase the
chances that evacuation of settlements
will be accomplished by agreement,
decrease the expenditures for compensation
and rebuilding, and limit
the destructive repercussions on Israeli
society. At present, there are serious
social disruptions resulting from the
events of Gush Katif, northern Samaria,
and Amona. There is also a growing
distrust and the resultant alienation
from the political establishment and
the democratic system by religious Zionists
and settlers. Efforts should be
made so that further withdrawals will
be conducted in cooperation with the
settlers and not in opposition to them.
Palestinian Cit y-Stat es
For all the reasons mentioned
above, Israel must strive to block the
territorial contiguity of the West Bank
while maintaining the Israeli presence
in the area between Ramallah and Nablus,
including the settlements of Ofra,
Shilo, Eli, Yizhar, Itamar, and the region
of Ma’ale Efraim.
Therefore, the proposed plan is
the creation of eight independent and
separate city-states within the West
Bank, having a limited rural periphery,
that will enable future expansion and
the establishment of industrial zones.
The towns that will receive independence
under this plan are Hebron (the
Arab part), Jericho, Ramallah, Nablus,
Jenin, Tul-karem and Qalqilya. Bethlehem
will require further consideration.
At the same time, Israel must create a
situation of de facto annexation of the
majority of the rural areas, while granting
Israeli citizenship to those Arab residents
of the villages who want it.
Such a de facto division, sustained
over time, will foster the development
of local rule and facilitate the establishment
of political entities based on each
separate city-state and its tribe.
In its public relations outreach, Israel
will put forth and explicate the
concept that size alone does not determine
the success or failure of a state.
For example, Monaco, Lichtenstein,
San Marino and Luxembourg are small
states with a high quality of life, while
Algeria, Libya, and Sudan are large
states with poor quality of life. Thus,
it is demonstrable that size is less important
than effective government. So
far, the Palestinians have shown their
inability to manage an orderly, peaceful
political system that has renounced
terror. Until this happens, Israel must
retain as much territory as possible to
defend its citizens.
Hurd les
There are three major hurdles for
Israel regarding the question of territorial
contiguity. The first deals with
the differences in social characteristics
between Gaza and the West Bank.
In Gaza, there is a high percentage of
refugees and Bedouins, while by contrast,
their concentrations in the West
Bank are smaller. The levels of education
and income are also unequal, and
even the spoken language differs. As a
result, it appears that the political separation
between the West Bank and the
Gaza Strip will continue. Considering
that the prevailing historical competition
and tensions between Nablus and
Hebron have created friction within the
Palestinian Authority, it can be reasonably
assumed that their separation into
two states will be tacitly accepted.
A second hurdle that Israel must
overcome is the Supreme Court. Currently,
the Supreme Court has taken on
the role of demarcating the country’s
borders. To undo this role, the Knesset
must pass a basic law, by which the
government declares that the setting
of borders is a political rather than a
judicial act. Indeed, defining a state’s
borders has political (not legal) significance,
and it is inappropriate for the
Supreme Court to continue managing
Israel’s relations with its enemies.
The third and highest hurdle is Israeli
public opinion, which has adopted
the terms “Palestinian territories”
and “occupied territories.” This terminology
is taken from the Arab-Palestinian
narrative that Europe has so enthusiastically
adopted and espoused.
These terms are problematic because
there still is no Palestinian state and,
therefore, no “Palestinian territory.”
The region of Judea and Samaria is a
territory without sovereignty, and the
ability to claim sovereignty over it exists
for any state that borders it, including
Israel. The existence of Israeli settlements
over dozens of years is sufficient
for claiming sovereignty. Moreover, the
residents of the territory are Israeli citizens.
The settlements do not infringe
on the sovereignty of any existing
state. Since these territories are vital to
Israel’s security, the government needs
to construct and propagate a new and
different narrative. They should use
these arguments to inform and so,
combat, negative public opinion.
From the standpoint of demography,
the rural areas in the West Bank
constitute a small burden relative to
the size of the territory that will be
added to the state through annexation.
Hence, there is almost no need to relinquish
these areas out of demographic
considerations. Israel will provide these
residents a choice between citizenship
and residency, the same choice possessed
by the Arab residents of East
Taking into consideration Israel’s
security requirements, it is imperative
to block the territorial contiguity of any
future Palestinian entity. Israel should
encourage and assist the establishment
of eight “city-states” in the towns
of Judea and Samaria, which will be
independent and separate. Technical
problems arising from the separation
between them can be solved if their
residents maintain good neighborly relations
with Israel.
Israel must retain as much rural land
in the West Bank as possible, particularly
the area between Ramallah and
Nablus, for security and demographic
reasons. Evacuation of these areas will
create a dangerous situation for Israeli
security and will necessitate reconquering
extensive parts of the West
Bank. According to this scenario, there
is no reason to dismantle and destroy
most of the existing settlements.
It would be a dangerous folly to relinquish
these areas of the West Bank
and would result in undermining Israel’s
security and economy. Such ideas
stem from the adoption of Arab-Palestinian,
anti-Zionist and anti-Israeli rhetoric
which must be strongly refuted. It
is imperative that Israel do everything
possible to thwart such an outcome. 
Dr. Mordechai Kedar, a researcher at the Begin-
Sadat Center for Strategic Studies, Bar-Ilan University.

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