Tuesday, March 21, 2017
Revisiting The Jordanian Option
The Opposite of a Two-State Solution Is Not One State - Shoshana Bryen
The so-called “two-state solution,” to subdivide the land between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea between independent Israel and independent Palestine, fails the tests of logic and history. And it ignores the Kingdom of Jordan – whose participation is required for any stable, long-term arrangement.
There are presently three “states,” or at least three governments, west of the Jordan: Israel, the Palestinian Authority (PA), and Gaza. Pro-Israel “two-staters” think Gaza and the West Bank territory should become one state with Israel as the other, assuming-for-no-reason that it is Hamas that will disappear. Hamas vociferously disagrees. Assuming-for-no-reason that a single PA-governed state does emerge in both places, Israel would be left divided north from south by a corridor across the country so Palestinians could access both parts of their state. Arab armies tried multiple times to sever Israel’s waist in pursuit of conquest -- this would have Israel do it for them.
The Palestinians -- at best -- would have a split rump state squeezed between a hostile Israel and a more hostile Jordan. But the only thing Hamas and the PA appear to agree on is that the State of Israel is the one that has to do the disappearing. They believe the establishment of Israel in 1948 was a mistake by the international community that needs to be rectified. Hamas believes it should be through violence and bloodshed; the PA would negotiate Israel away through the “right of return.” A nasty Hamas-Fatah civil war in 2007 was never concluded, and the PA government rightly fears Hamas more than it does Israel -- in fact, the IDF and Shabak (Israel’s internal security agency) are what keep the PA in power.
The arrangement that might have the best chance of working for America’s two regional allies -- Israel and Jordan -- is King Hussein’s old confederation. The Palestinians would have to live with something less than independence (independence is not part of the Oslo Accords), but could have political and economic benefits they do not now possess. And if Gaza has to remain on the outside, West Bank Palestinians will have more security than they now have.
It is not time to push for a confederated solution – or any solution – and it is unlikely the Arab states will soon come forward and meet their obligations under Resolution 242. But broader thinking is more likely to produce results than the illusory “two state solution,” and in fact, leaves two states – Israel and Jordan – where two were intended to be.