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However, it’s more than likely the EU, US and Quartet among others would raise strong objections to Israel abolishing the PA. In the world at large and in particular with the US, EU and Quartet, the belief in Palestinian self-determination and so on is deeply imbedded. So it stands to reason that Israel would encounter heavy international weather if it decides to terminate the PA and return to business as usual before 1993. This also raises the question whether FM Lieberman’s desire to change Israel’s relationship with the PA will also encounter heavy international weather. Changing anything related to the immovable PA is easier said than done.
The Jordanian Option – In a 7 September interview in Haaretz Benny Morris reflects: “Because it is still more logical than a settlement between us and the Palestinians based on partitioning the land. The logic of a large Palestinian state is still more valid than any partition settlement, and I am in favor of this. I think that anyone who speaks about a solution of two states for two peoples is throwing sand in the public’s eyes. Justice and logic say that the Palestinians need a country next to Israel, but dividing the land designated for them will not satisfy them. Therefore you need to add into the equation the territory east of the Jordan to give the Palestinians space. The West Bank, also without Jewish settlers, is a small place for them. Jordan Palestine is an idea for a permanent settlement that will stand the test of time, even if in our time it cannot be achieved.”
Another interesting prospect is the “Eight State Solution.” In his online introduction to this proposal Dr. Mordechai Kedar writes: “The Eight State Solution is a viable alternative, based on the sociology of the clans and tribes in Gaza, Judea and Samaria, which can bring lasting stability and therefore peace to the region and security for Israel.
“Due to tribal rifts and local patriotism there will never be a successful unity government among the Arab population centers in Gaza, Judea and Samaria. The failed Two State Solution is rapidly heading to the dustbin of history where it belongs. Like the PLO in the past, the PA today does not represent the true ambitions of the majority of peaceful Arabs who just want a better future for their children in traditional, local frameworks.
“Successful Arab leadership must be local and firmly rooted with a traditional and homogenous sociological foundation. Israel and the world should recognize and support local leadership in Arab population centers that desire lasting peaceful relations as independent city-states. This is the concept of the Eight State Solution.
The eight city-states would comprise the areas of Jenin, Nablus, Ramallah, Jericho, Tul-Karm, Kalkilya, the Arab part of Hebron and the Gaza strip. Local residents would become citizens of these eight independent countries.”
Dr. Kedar’s proposal for an eight state solution is very idealistic, but it has the merit of being based in Palestinian Arab sociology. Shifting Palestinian rule from the hands of the PA to tribal and family elements at ground level Palestinian life will be a severe challenge. But this proposal also eliminates the PA and focuses the needs of Palestinian society in the heart of Palestinian society.
For his part, FM Lieberman seems to be interested in replacing Oslo with a long term interim agreement. In the past Lieberman crystallized such a plan for an interim settlement, whereby cooperation between Israel and the PA would be increased in the economic field and also the security field. Lieberman’s plan sought to strengthen the Palestinian economy through economic incentives and increased freedom of movement in Judea and Samaria. This in place of a permanent agreement and establishment of an independent state.
But is it feasible? Desirable yes. The Palestinian Authority does not behave as it did in the early days of Oslo. It has in fact betrayed Oslo, and the principles on which Oslo is based have been extinguished. So changing relations with the PA has merit on many planes. Unfortunately, the PA is a white elephant these days, propped up financially and politically by powerful governments worldwide. It is not going to be so easy to change anything there. Fateful decisions need to be made in the Israeli government regarding what to do with the PA now. FM Lieberman’s re-evaluation of Oslo is a start. But these things are easier said than done.
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