Creating another Palestinian Arab state – in addition to Jordan – has been seemingly consigned to the garbage bin of history following Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s CNN interview on 28 September.
President Trump had just told Netanyahu on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly:
“I like two-state solution. I like two-state solution. That’s what I think works best. I don’t even have to speak to anybody, that’s my feeling.”When asked if he was prepared to commit to a two-state solution – Netanyahu told his CNN interviewer:
“I’ve discovered that if you use labels you are not going to get very far because different people mean different things when they say “states”. So rather than talk about labels, I like to talk about substance”Questioned on what he would like to see – Netanyahu replied:
“What I would like to see is that the Palestinians will have all the powers to govern themselves and not all the powers that will threaten us. What that means is that in the tiny area between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea – it’s all about 50 kilometres wide – that’s where the Palestinians live and the Israelis live – in that area under any peace agreement or without a peace agreement – Israel has to have the dominant power, the military power, overriding security power …”Netanyahu then stressed:
“Israel has to have the overriding security, not the UN, not Canadian Mounties, not — I don’t know – Austrian or Australian forces – Israeli forces have to have the security control, otherwise, that place will be taken over by Islamist terrorists, either Daesh, ISIS or Hamas or Iran, all of the above, and that’s my condition.”Trump’s upcoming peace plan slated for release in 2-4 months needs to deal with Netanyahu’s concerns if it is to win Israel’s backing.
Israel’s security demands would best be satisfied by part of the West Bank being reunified with Jordan to create a Jordanian enclave in the West Bank – with the remainder of the West Bank being annexed by Israel.
This solution would enable Israel to:
- Control access and egress between the West Bank and Jordan
- Maintain security control for the entire area from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea
- Ensure the enclave be demilitarized and remain demilitarized
The PLO has already rejected Trump’s peace plan – sight unseen – opening the door for Jordan – at peace with Israel since signing their 1994 Peace Treaty – to fill the negotiating void necessary to create this Jordanian enclave.
Israel’s former Foreign Minister Moshe Arens presciently stated on 11 January1989:
“Jordan is a Palestinian state. And it is with Jordan that we must decide where the border will run…. Should the border follow the Jordan River, as it does today, or should it be west of the Jordan, as the Jordanians would like?”Creating a Jordanian enclave in the West Bank with Israel annexing the remainder could be – in Trump’s own words:
I would suggest therefore that, when it comes to talking about territory there is only one negotiating party acceptable to the government of Israel. That party is the existing Palestinian state of Jordan.”
“the ultimate deal…as a deal maker, I’d like to do…the deal that can’t be made. And do it for humanity’s sake.”Don’t underestimate Trump’s deal-making ability to end what he himself has called “the war that never ends”.
(Author’s note: The cartoon – commissioned exclusively for this article – is by Yaakov Kirschen aka “Dry Bones”- one of Israel’s foremost political and social commentators – whose cartoons have graced the columns of Israeli and international media publications for decades. His cartoons can be viewed at Drybonesblog)