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The two-Palestine solution

By Charles A. Morse
web posted April 22, 2002

While the Palestinian Authority asked the nations of the world to recognize its sovereignty, it armed itself with offensive weapons, allowed anti-Israel militias to operate freely, and allowed these militias, along with its own Israeli trained army, to invade Israel by, among other actions, sending in mass murderers. Israel has now gone in and done the job the PA was supposed to do under the Oslo Accords, which was to quell such militias. Arafat promised to negotiate peacefully, and renounced the use of terror, in English, at a White House ceremony 1995 in which he shook hands with Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. This promise proved to be worthless and Arafat, and the PA have, as a result of their perfidy and the subsequent terror they initiated, sold out, forever, the possibility of the creation of a third Palestinian State. The PA is complicit in internationally recognized acts of war against Israel in the same way as the Taliban government of Afghanistan was complicit in the World Trade Center attack.

According to the Debkafile article "U.S. has Small Plans for Arafat," (April 21) a plan is being discussed, in the aftermath of Israel's routing out most of the militia forces and seizing the heavy weapons and bomb factories on the West Bank, in which Arafat and the PA would be sent to Gaza where Israel and Egypt can keep close reigns on their activities. The existence of this plan possibly explains why Sharon didn't include Gaza in the most recent military action. The theory is that by isolating Arafat in Gaza, local groups in West Bank cities such as Hebron, Nablus, and Ramallah could form regional self-ruling authorities, which would maintain only formal ties to a PA separated in Gaza.

The interesting nuance to this plan, one which, albeit imperfectly, harkens to a long term solution to the conflict, is that Jordan will replace the PA, de facto, as the administering authority in the West Bank along with Israel, hence, the two Palestine solution. The historic and undisputable fact is that both Israel and Jordan are Palestine. The British Mandate of Palestine, formally part of the Ottoman Province of Syria, created in 1919, included the area that now makes up Israel and Jordan. In 1923, the British divided its Palestine Mandate along the Jordan River giving the eastern sector to the Hashemite Arab King Abdullah as a reward for his tribes support against the Ottoman Turks in World War I. Abdallah's great grandson of the same name continues to rule Arab eastern Palestine, today known as the Kingdom of Jordan. Arab Jordan/Palestine invaded Jewish Israel/Palestine at the time of its independence in 1948 and occupied what is known as the West Bank. Jordan administered the West Bank, the border of which was the armistice lines established between Israel and Jordan in 1949, until the area was conquered by Israel as a result of the June 1967 Six Day War.

The plan presently being floated, and worthy of support, calls for a regional Palestinian Authority on the West Bank to form a political link with Jordan, which would be called upon to administer the territory's security and intelligence jointly with Israel. Most of the Arabs on the West Bank were Jordanian citizens prior to 1967 and many still are. Jordan, where the Palestinian Arabs have achieved their political, national and cultural rights, could eventually emerge as the primary governmental authority for the Palestinian Arabs on the West Bank. West Bank Palestinian Arabs would be re-united with their Palestinian Arab compatriots on the East Bank in Jordan. Jordan could eventually assume responsibility for the laws, judicial system, public welfare, education, health, and other aspects of Palestinian governance on the West Bank. Arafat and the PA would be relegated to stirring up terror from the closely watched confines of Gaza.

A long-term plan, implemented over decades, could involve a confederation of the two Palestine's, Israel and Jordan, with joint control of the West Bank. This could result from the strengthening of political, economic, and even cultural ties between the two Palestine's. Israel will remain Jewish, Jordan Arab, with shared citizenships and populations in the West Bank. Israeli dreams of a greater Israel, and Arab dreams of incorporating Israel into their sacred "Ummah" could, for all practical purposes, be relegated to the status of historical fantasies.

Chuck Morse is a talk show host on Salem Radio/WROL in Boston.

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