IMRA contacted Prof. Efraim Inbar to ask him about his proposal fr Egypt and Jordan to control the Gaza Strip and West Bank respectively (see below):
IMRA: It doesn’t require a particularly fertile imagination to come up with scenarios under which the restoration of Egyptian and Jordanian control of the Gaza Strip and West Bank would ultimately lead to the situation that Israel finds itself facing formidable military invasion forces deployed in Israel’s backyard (if not bedroom) under the command of radical Islamic states (no one can predict with certainty what and who will rule Egypt and Jordan in the future).
The consequences of such a development are so grave that this policy recommendation (restoration of Egyptian and Jordanian control of the Gaza Strip and West Bank) should be rejected even if the odds favor a more positive outcome.
Would you say that there is a potential problem here?
Prof. Efraim Inbar: With the Egyptians we have an arrangement in Sinai that largely can be extended to Gaza and in the West Bank we can have some kind of limited Jordanian military presence with us sitting on the Jordan River. A version of the Allon Plan.
IMRA: So if it turns out that to run the Gaza Strip they need ten thousand troops with armored personal carriers then that would be OK.
Prof. Efraim Inbar: They would need much less. How many do they need to police Cairo? They have a very effective intelligence force that is more efficient that ours.
IMRA: And if I turns out that Moslem Brotherhood took over Egypt what would you do then? Would you invite them to leave or just hope for the best?
Prof. Efraim Inbar: Well, if they took over we would have a much large problem.
IMRA: But wouldn’t you exacerbate the situation if they have forces next to Ashkelon?
Prof. Efraim Inbar: I think that then the whole arrangement we have with Egypt would collapse.
The Rise and Demise of the Two-State Paradigm by Prof. Efraim Inbar
BESA Center Security and Policy Studies No. 79, January 27, 2008 www.biu.ac.il/SOC/besa/MSPS79En.pdf
In this new BESA Center study, Prof. Efraim Inbar, Director of the Begin-Sadat Center, argues that the “two-state solution is an obsolete paradigm.” He calls instead for a regional approach to Israeli-Palestinian diplomacy whereby Palestinian areas would be linked again (or “retrocede”) to Egypt and Jordan, and the conflict would be managed — not solved.
The study traces the development of the two-state concept and international diplomacy based on it since 1917; analyzes the failure of Palestinian state building since the beginnings of the Oslo process; and suggests policy options for the future.
“While the two-state paradigm has a long pedigree and current popularity in contemporary academic and diplomatic circles, it has no chance of achieving a stable and peaceful outcome in the coming decades,” writes Inbar. “At present, Palestinian society is caught in the crux of a civil war between radical Islamists and nationalists, neither of which truly seeks establishment of a small Palestinian state living peacefully alongside Israel.”
“After more than 100 years of conflict, it is apparent that the two national movements, the Palestinian and the Zionist, are not close to a historic compromise. It is equally clear that the Palestinians are not able to build a state; they have been given the chance but produced only a ‘failed state’ that is corrupt and anarchic. This is true both of the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority in the West Bank as well as the Hamas government in Gaza.”
“Mistakenly, most Israeli and Western leaders still think that they can engage in building a Palestinian state that will choose coexistence with Israel. But political engineering from the outside has its limits, as has been amply demonstrated in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere. Palestinian society has a long way to go towards political maturity, sobriety and moderation, and this change must grow naturally from within; which will take decades, if at all.”
“In the meantime, we are stuck with two rival Palestinian entities on Israel’s borders which are nowhere near merging into a responsible partner for Israel. So for now, the two-state option is not relevant.”
“Linkage or retrocession of the West Bank and Gaza to some form of Egyptian and Jordanian security control and civil administration has a greater chance of stabilizing the situation than the previous paradigm. While these Arab countries will initially resist this step, wise diplomacy and long-term conflict management will move in this direction.”
“In the wake of the Israeli operation against Hamas in Gaza, Western leaders are blindly rushing to reconfirm their commitment to a two-state solution. Yet Palestinian independence has proven to be a bad idea. The new US President and his Mideast envoy have an opportunity to take a fresh look at the situation, to reject retrenched and stale thinking, and strike out in new directions — particularly since they advocate a regional approach.”
The Hebrew-language study by Inbar, and an English-language version (to be published in the spring issue of Orbis), can be found at www.besacenter.org