Photo: Ofer Amram
PA President Abbas with Jordanian King Abdullah
A unity government will reportedly not be created, because Tzipi Livni thinks Benjamin Netanyahu does not adhere to the notion of the "two-state solution." But is this the only political solution? This is what Livni and many others around the world think, but it isn't so.
Not only is it far from being the single solution, it’s a bad solution, and will likely never be achieved.
The idea of "two states" is based on a series of assumptions: First, the assumption that the primary Palestinian national ambition is statehood. There is no basis to this. The Palestinian ethos is based on values such as justice, victimization, revenge, and above all, the "right of return."
It's true that the Palestinians want to do away with the occupation, but it's wrong to assume that this translates into a desire for an independent state. They would prefer the solution of "no state at all" – that is, the State of Israel will cease to exist and the area between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River will be divided among Jordan, Syria and Egypt.
The second assumption is that if a Palestinian state is created, it will be ruled by "moderates." There is no basis to this. It is likely that the regime in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank will fall within a short time into the hands of Hamas.
The third assumption is that two stable states can exist in the narrow strip that lies between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River. It is easy to prove this is not possible: the Palestinian state will not be able to be independent and Israel will not be able to defend itself.
The fourth assumption is that Israel can implement this agreement; that is, an agreement that entails evacuating 100,000 settlers from Judea and Samaria. Even if we ignore the social and political intricacies of this, such an operation would cost more than $30 billion, not including billions more that will be required to redeploy the army. Is this possible?
In short, the most the Israeli government can offer the Palestinians, and still survive politically, is less than the minimum that a Palestinian regime can accept, and still survive politically.
Chance for changeThere are at least two other solutions that are much more beneficial, and not only for Israel.
The first is to create an independent political entity in the West Bank that will be part of a confederation with Jordan. This may sound surprising, but there are increasing voices, both in Jordan and in the West Bank, in support of this idea.
The Jordanian logic is simple: If a Palestinian state is created, it will be ruled by Hamas, and a Hamas state neighboring Jordan is the beginning of the end for the Hashemite Kingdom. So it is better that control over security in the West Bank be in Jordanian hands.
Palestinians who support this idea do so for two reasons: They prefer a Jordanian rule to Hamas rule, and it is the quickest way to dispose of the Israelis.
The second alternative is a regional solution, in which there will be an exchange of territory not only between Israel and the Palestinian state; rather, Egypt will also be involved. Gaza can be expanded to three times its size, on account of Egyptian territory, and can be given genuine economic viability.
In exchange, the Palestinians will renounce a significant piece of land in the West Bank, and this will allow Israel to decrease the number of evacuees to 30,000.
Israel will compensate Egypt with territories in the south by opening a land crossing between Egypt and Jordan, north of Eilat, and more.
Back to the new Israeli government: Netanyahu would do best by not only rejecting the "two-state solution" but also persuading the United States to examine alternative solutions.
US President Barack Obama talked about change – here's a chance to make a change in the way the Americans have been looking at the situation until now.