June 24, 2022

The question has not changed in decades. What to do with the Palestinians?

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Pro-Israel advocates seem intent on sidestepping the chief issue. Their standard answers are no longer accepted, but rather than addressing the problem, they just reformulate the response, as if a bad answer will be accepted if it is reworded.

Basically, it boils down to this:

A) Israel does not want a two-state solution — a large of part Israel wants Judea and Samaria (what the world calls the West Bank) to be under Israeli control: It is the historic heart of ancient Israel, and it is needed for security reasons.

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This would be a reasonable position, except that it leaves millions of Arabs in the area. Israel does not want to incorporate them (who can blame Israel?), and offers them only a very limited autonomy in discontinuous zones. The Arabs would have no say in the government that controls their borders, their immigration, their export and import, their movement, their population registry, and so on.

Even the much-heralded Kushner plan did not allow for Palestinian sovereignty, but offered only economic sops.

The problem is that no group would accept such a situation, even if they were reasonable, which Islamic Arabs are not.

B) Israel does not want a one-state solution, since incorporating the Arabs into their system would overwhelm the Jewish character of their state. Indeed, some Jews have averred that pressing for a one-state solution is inherently antisemitic.

No to a two-state solution. No to a one-state solution. What else is there?

Ah, there is the Jordan option — declaring all West Bank Arabs to be Jordanian citizens. Well, that depended on one man: Mudar Zahran, and the overthrow of the Jordanian government. The only problem was that Jordan was not so agreeable.