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Published:February 24th, 2009 13:13 EST
Two-State Solution And The Future: It Will Happen?

Two-State Solution And The Future: It Will Happen?

By SOP newswire2

  • While the outlines of a two-state solution are generally known, the maximum that any government of Israel will be ready to offer the Palestinians and still survive politically is much less than the minimum that any Palestinian leader can accept. The real gap between both sides is much greater than what is perceived, and that gap is growing.
  • The level of trust between both sides has changed. There are fewer Israelis who believe that the real intention of the Palestinians is to have only a small Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza. Furthermore, there is less trust in the Palestinians` abilities to keep their commitments, even if they undertake the right commitments.
  • In Gaza today there is, for all practical purposes, an independent state led by Hamas. It is not part of the Palestinian Authority because that is what the Palestinians decided. If there is an accountable state in Gaza, although it is an enemy state, Israel has a degree of deterrence because there is another party that has something to lose. Current Israeli policy claims that Israel`s goal is to bring about the collapse of the Hamas government in Gaza, but that is not going to happen.
  • If we make Gaza double or triple its current size by adding an additional 600 sq. km. of territory from Egyptian Sinai, this could give Gaza the space it needs. Suddenly Gaza would have the space to build a new city of a million people, along with a real seaport and airport, and to create the conditions that would make economic expansion possible.
  • At the same time, Israel needs 600 sq. km. in the West Bank because the 1967 line is unacceptable from a security point of view. In return, Israel could give to Egypt 600 sq. km. in the Negev in southern Israel. At the end of the day no one loses land, while multilateral swaps enable us to solve the currently intractable problem of Gaza and solve Israeli needs in the West Bank.
  • Egypt can gain significant benefits from this arrangement. The new seaport and airport next to Egypt can become major economic connections between the Gulf and Europe. Furthermore, Egypt could get a land corridor to enable movement from Egypt to the rest of the Middle East without the need to cross Israel.

    I would say that Palestinian society is divided into three groups. Maybe 20 percent of the people are supportive of Hamas. They are religious, they believe in this ideology, and they will be against any agreement with Israel. Another 20 percent are more moderate, secular, and they really want peace. The remaining 60 percent are the silent majority. Many of these people will follow whoever can deliver, whoever can give them something. While the only side that is offering something to the people is Hamas, if you offer them the proposal suggested here and say that this is a chance to build something that gives you real hope to someday become the Singapore of the Middle East, things might change if there were the right leadership, which is missing today.

    In the end, nothing can happen unless there is a real Palestinian leadership that accepts this proposal. In a way, this is similar to the policy of the first Israeli prime minister, David Ben-Gurion, who said we cannot get all that we want, we have to make real concessions. But he was ready to pay the price and move forward because he wanted to have a state for his people. So far, this is not the message of the Palestinian leaders when they speak about the importance of an independent state. Palestinian rhetoric speaks about misery, about justice, about how Israel is doing terrible things. But the efforts that are made in order to improve what can be improved within domestic Palestinian society are minimal, and unless there is a change in this attitude, I agree that certain important conditions for peace are missing.