We need to see things as they are. There is no ideal solution to the Palestinian imbroglio. The so-called “two state” solution was never a plausible outcome, being nothing more than a Western delusion and a Palestinian phased strategy for the subversion of Israel. It simply won’t fly. Some analysts have accordingly come to believe that it makes more sense for the Palestinians to look east rather than west, to consider Jordan rather than Israel as the object of their campaign for nationhood.
Indeed, a new proposal involving the future of Jordan and its relation to the Palestinians has begun to gain preliminary traction. Mordechai Nisan in his recent Only Israel West of the River persuasively argues that “Redefining Jordan as an official Palestinian entity offers the solution to the conflict.” This is the “new paradigm” and the only one, he believes, that is likely to work. Similarly, Alan Bergreen in American Thinker points out that the days of the Hashemite monarchy may be numbered in any event. He suggests that Jordan’s ruling family would be wise to get ahead of the curve by establishing a Palestinian constitutional monarchy as the symbolic head of a full-fledged Palestinian state. The recommendation certainly seems reasonable to Knesset member Aryeh Eldad who, in the words of Gavriel Queenann in Arutz Sheva, is a “long-time proponent of defining Jordan as the ‘Palestinian state’ over creating such an entity in Israel’s biblical heartland.”
Writing in The Middle East Quarterly, expatriate Jordanian-Palestinian writer Mudar Zahran calls it “the Jordanian option,” namely, the democratization of the country, which is already majority Palestinian. “Empowering Palestinian control of Jordan and giving Palestinians all over the world a place they can call home,” he contends, “could not only defuse the population and demographic problem for Palestinians in Judea and Samaria but would also solve the much more complicated issue of the ‘right of return’ for Palestinians in other Arab countries.” Jordan, in effect, is Palestine. “It is historically perplexing,” Zahran continues, “that the world should be reluctant to ask the Hashemites to leave Jordan, a country to which they are alien, while at the same time demanding that Israeli families be removed by force from decades-old communities in their ancestral homeland.” The new Jordan “could also greatly benefit from financial and economic incentives attending good-neighbor relations with Israel.” He concludes: “A moderate, peaceful, economically thriving, Palestinian home in Jordan would allow both Israelis and Palestinians to see a true and lasting peace.” The trouble with this proposal, as should be immediately obvious, is that it is eminently reasonable.
Another option is simply to maintain the status quo, however unpalatable, with Israel living in a condition of military readiness—as it has had to do since 1948—and the “West Bank” Palestinians continuing to threaten, lobby, gesticulate, ply their propaganda and make a perpetual nuisance of themselves. (Though now that Fatah in the “West Bank” has apparently reconciled with Hamas in Gaza to form a united front against Israel, the new alliance, assuming it does not unravel as it has on previous occasions, may eventually have to be dealt with decisively.)
Israel may also consider reinforcing the status quo by annexing the majority-Jewish administrative division known as Area C, as per the Oslo Accords, in order to establish a strong defensive perimeter while fully incorporating the Area’s inhabitants into the Israeli homeland. As Jeremy Saltan explains in The Jewish Press, “Following the Palestinians’ unilateral bid for statehood at the United Nations, many expect the Israeli government to announce their own large scale unilateral move. The Oslo Accords… allow one side to respond with their own unilateral action if the other side decides to engage in one first.” Despite international disapproval and regional pressures, Israel is certainly within its rights to proceed in this manner.
As far as I can tell, these are the only two rational options before us. They are by no means ideal solutions, and the odds for the Jordanian option are currently far from promising. But anything else—the “two state” hallucination which is going nowhere or the “binational state” absurdity which would spell the end of Israel, recommended by fantasists and false friends like Jay Bushinsky and the late Tony Judt—is self-deception and a prospectus for perpetual discord and endless suffering.
Unpleasant as it may be, more of the same seems the only practical alternative at the present historical moment, with the proviso that “the same” must not only be accepted as the condition of survival but also strengthened, resolutely defended, and perhaps supplemented. It’s time to get real.
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