Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Looking Beyond A Two State Solution

As I posted earlier (See Likud: The Next Generation), yesterday there was a conference at the Knesset entitled Alternatives to the Two-State Outlook:
The conference, organized by Likud MK Tzipi Hotovely, was purposely timed to coincide with the aftermath of Netanyahu's meeting in Washington with US President Barack Obama, amid speculation ahead of Obama's key speeches to the Muslim world and the quartet next month. The event was intended to send a message that opposition to the creation of a Palestinian state was common among mainstream Israelis and politicians not considered extremist.
Some of the alternatives that were offered to a 2 state solution:

Ya'alon instead suggested educational, economic, political, police and military reforms for the PA, while cooperating with Arab countries on issues like the humanitarian plight of Palestinians who consider themselves refugees. But he said even this could not take place without a responsible and able Palestinian leadership that would recognize Israel as a Jewish state.

One of the most radical suggestions was to do what has been disregarded out of hand for years:

Netanyahu's former bureau chief, Uri Elitzur, surprised people at the event when he said that the best possible option was the annexation of the entire West Bank, despite the danger of Israel eventually becoming a bi-national state. He said that solution was preferable to withdrawing from Judea and Samaria or continuing the current situation.

"While everyone has been saying for years that annexation was the worst option, we have tried everything else, so I think annexation is actually the most right plan," Elitzur said. "I would give citizenship to every Palestinian. There is no difference between Palestinians in Jenin and Sakhnin."

Elitzur, who is currently an editor at the Makor Rishon newspaper, said he did not fear demographic problems, but that Israel first needed to draft a constitution formally enacting that Israel would always remain a Jewish state. He said Israel should start governing and investing throughout the West Bank.

Asked what Netanyahu thought about his plan, Elitzur said that although he was still friends with the prime minister, "Bibi doesn't agree with me, and really no one else does either."

In addition:
Other plans presented at the conference called for a confederation between the West Bank and Jordan, and the extension of the Gaza Strip into the Egyptian-controlled Sinai Desert. Proponents of the ideas included former national security council head Giora Eiland, former Council of Jewish Communities in Judea and Samaria director-general Adi Mintz and an aide to former National Union chairman Benny Elon.
Of course, all of this is merely an intellectual exercise if there is no possibility of putting an alternative solution into effect--and considering the pressure being applied by the US to agree to the establishment of a second Palestinian state, it is difficult to imagine the the Obama administration agreeing to anything else.

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