Obama must break from 2-state vision

The road to peace in Middle East does not go through Gaza City or Ramallah, but through Amman and Cairo

Early on in his presidency, George W. Bush stated that the only solution to Israeli-Palestinian conflict was a vision of two states, a secure Israel and a democratic Palestinian state living side by side in peace.


Like many other things, Bush was wrong about this as well. With the Hamas takeover of Gaza and the enmity that exists between it and Fatah it has became that the Palestinians were unable to govern themselves as one entity. The dream of a two state solution is exactly that—a dream with no anchor in reality. But Bush and the world never took note.


One may argue that the two-state solution grew out of the 1978 Camp David Accords between Israel and Egypt which called for "full autonomy to the inhabitants" of Gaza and the West Bank. Note, however, that it did not call for a Palestinian state.


The Oslo Accords began a peace process that gave the Palestinians autonomy and Israel's unilateral withdrawal from Gaza in 2005 cemented it. Despite this the Palestinian issue is still a problem.


But the initial Camp David Accords have not been followed by any side. The 1978 Camp David accords talked "negotiations among Egypt, Israel, Jordan and the representatives of the inhabitants of the West Bank and Gaza." But Jordan and Egypt have been missing in action during any negotiations with the Palestinians. This has been a major problem and must change.


During the last few weeks of fighting the Rafah border crossing between Egypt and Gaza has come into focus. This has reminded us that Gaza borders Egypt and the West bank borders Jordan. In fact the West Bank used to belong to Jordan and Gaza to Egypt.


Palestinian autonomy in the West Bank and Gaza is something that Israel has supported and encouraged for many years. However, the two state model was never going to work and will never work.


Instead we must look for models that have worked elsewhere. One good example may be the Native Americans in the United States. Indian Reservations in the United States give Native Americans limited sovereignty and autonomy over their economy and education systems; however, they do not have their own military and they are subject to federal law.


Offering incentives

There needs to be a shift in thinking about the Palestinian issue. The solution cannot be only between Israel and the Palestinians because they have no one person or entity that talk for them or negotiate on their behalf. The resolution to this problem must be conducted between Israel, Jordan and Egypt—all countries that have good diplomatic relations with each other.


Ultimately, Egypt must take full responsibility for Gaza and Jordan for the West Bank. Each of these territories would become Palestinian reservations within the respective countries of Jordan and Egypt.


Initially, Jordan and Egypt will be given the burden of enforcing law and order in the territories—something they would obviously be reluctant to do. Therefore, the international community and the United States must encourage and pressure Egypt and Jordan do this by offering them incentives including better trade agreements and financial and military aid. After this occurs any attack from the West Bank or Gaza on Israel will be seen as an act of war by Jordan or Egypt.


Egypt and Jordan have gotten away with abdicating their responsibilities, as state in the 1978 Camp David Accords, for far too long and it is about time the international community pressures them to take full responsibility for territory that is really theirs.


The road to peace in the Middle East does not go through Gaza City or Ramallah. It goes through Amman and Cairo. As Barack Obama takes over as president of the United States he needs to break from Bush's failed concept of a two state solution and begin knocking on doors in Cairo and Amman instead.


פרסום ראשון: 01.20.09, 08:20
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