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The new political paradigm of ‘only Israel west of the river’ offers Palestinian inhabitants in the territories liberty and autonomy, prosperity and stability – but not independence. Would they achieve independence/statehood in the West Bank, this would whet the Palestinian appetite to launch attacks by slipping across the Green Line, joining with the Arabs in the Galilee, already in high spirits of nationalist extremism and Islamic fundamentalism, while rejecting Israel as a Jewish state. A Palestinian state in the West Bank is to invite the irredentist drive toward Nazareth, Akko, and Taibe – and Israel’s demise. This scenario rings with the authenticity of Middle Eastern turbulence, Palestinian militancy, and Islamic jihad.
Across the river in Hashemite Jordan, the Palestinians should turn their demographic majority, along with their talents and energies, into political rule and statehood. In the spirit of the ‘Arab Spring’, this would be an expression and fulfillment of democracy and self-determination.
The artificial political entity created by the British in Transjordan in 1920 was initially consigned to be a home for the Arabs of Palestine, while west of the river Zionism built a Jewish national home. No longer should the alien Hashemite family dynasty in Jordan, whose origins are from Arabia, block Palestinian aspirations. It is Jordan, in differentiating itself from ‘Palestine’, which stands in the way of an Israeli-Palestinian accommodation and settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Now more than ever, under King Abdullah II, does Jordan feel the political rumblings threatening to overthrow the illegitimate monarchical regime in Amman. The King has recently adopted an antagonistic stance against Israel in order to strengthen his own standing at home, but this tactic is transparent and insufficient to sustain his regime.
The two-state solution is reasonable. It just has to move a short distance across the river. This political map will offer strategic equilibrium and deterrence between Israel and Palestine. A viable resolution of the conflict must deter and preempt its violation by removing incentives for any side to adopt a bellicose position, which is why stubbornly squeezing two competitive states in the 40-miles width of the country west of the river is an act of desperation and foolhardiness. How long will mindless folly insist on shoving a square peg into a round hole?
When a major crisis explodes, an innovative reality-based policy paradigm can offer new political direction to solve old problems. And the peace proposed by the new paradigm, in place of the imprudent Oslo plan, is a peace that Israel can live with.
Dr. Mordechai Nisan, lecturer in Middle East Studies at the Hebrew University, has recently written Only Israel West of the River: A Jewish State and the Palestinian Question, available on Amazon.com and CreateSpace.com.
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