Friday, September 24, 2010

Dividing sovereignty of the West Bank between Israel and Jordan

Or International Analyst Network, 22 Sep 2010,  David Singer suggests an alternative to the Two-State Solution:

...There is however another far more practical and readily achievable alternative solution....That solution involves the division of sovereignty of the West Bank between Israel and Jordan.

Separation of Arabs and Jews in Palestine - as far as is possible - has been the policy that has guided international diplomacy in the region since 1920. It has been sponsored by the League of Nations, the United Nations and several Commissions of Inquiry. It remains the policy currently favoured and supported by America, Russia, the European Union and the United Nations.

This policy - with one notable exception - has failed for one reason - Arab refusal to accept anything less than sovereignty in 100% of the territory available for allocation between Jews and Arabs.

That one exception was Arab acceptance of the League of Nations decision on 23 September 1922 denying the Jews any entitlement to reconstitute the Jewish National Home in 77% of Palestine - laying the groundwork for the creation of an exclusively Arab State there in 1946 that is today called Jordan.

It was not until 1948 that the Jews were able to create their own State in 17% of Palestine.

Sovereignty in the remaining 6% of Palestine - the West Bank and Gaza - is still up for grabs.

Although Jordan and Israel have fought several wars following the War of Independence in 1948 they have enjoyed a signed and sealed peace treaty between their respective states since 1994 - which has withstood many political and diplomatic pressures that could have heralded its demise.

Jordan indeed fits the Clinton mould of Israel “living peacefully with a neighbor who has the same aspirations for normal life.”

Presently stuck between their two respective States is the West Bank with a population of 2 million Arabs and 500000 Jews - whose territorial sovereignty remains undetermined.

Division of that sovereignty between Israel and Jordan resonates as a just and fair solution for the following reasons:

•It will restore Jordanian governance to the major part of the West Bank as existed from 1950 up to its loss to Israel in the Six Day War in 1967.
•It will bring the overwhelming majority of its 2 million West Bank Arabs under Jordanian protection, free them from Israeli control and restore the freedom of movement and citizenship rights enjoyed by them between 1948 - 1967
•Not one Jew or Arab will have to leave his present home or business in the West Bank
•Issues presently seen as contentious such as water, refugees and Jerusalem have already been identified and proposed solutions flagged in the 1994 Treaty.
•Drawing the new international boundary between Israel and Jordan to end sovereignty claims by Jews and Arabs in the West Bank should be capable of being achieved within three months.
•There will be a dramatic and immediate change in the current status quo which most agree is dangerous and untenable
•Jordan is the only Arab partner that can honour and enforce any agreement on the West Bank that Israel is prepared to sign.
•It will finalize the allocation of sovereignty of former Palestine between the two successor States to the Mandate for Palestine.
Jordan cannot be allowed to simply reject such an alternative out of hand and seek to walk away from the looming conflict that must inevitably fill the void after the collapse of the two-state solution.

Jordan has been part of the problem surrounding the issue of sovereignty in the West Bank since 1920. It now is time for Jordan to step up to the plate and take responsibility for being part of the solution in 2010.

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