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Federation - Not Separation

By Elon Jarden

An independent Palestinian state - the worst solution for all in the Land of Israel

Those who support an independent but limited state are simply not over-familiar with the modern international law that settles international relations. The fact is that international law does not recognize the hybrid called “a limited independent state”. Since military alliances by independent states are not prohibited under international law, nothing can prevent a sovereign from arming itself, forging military alliances, or even sheltering terror organizations.

In the event that Israel decides to defend itself against aggression by an independent Palestinian state, it may find itself under massive diplomatic attack from the international community. On the other hand, as long as the territories of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip are under Israeli military control, any military operations applied by Israel, such as ‘Defensive Shield’ are always an optional means for using its sovereign authority to maintain security in those areas.

Moreover, an independent Palestinian state will bring to an end the Jewish settlement endeavor in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. This implies the transfer of hundreds of thousands of Jewish settlers from their homes and land.

An independent Palestinian state will also pose a strategic threat to the Kingdom of Jordan. The existence of a friendly Jordan is a vital Israeli interest.

An independent Palestinian state is also the worst solution for the majority of Palestinians in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Since the establishment of the Palestinian Authority, there has been a marked deterioration in economic and military terms. A Palestinian state that will engage in an armament race, coupled with a corrupt bureaucracy, would devour most of the economic resources, and impoverish the Palestinian society.

A Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip areas is also a flawed solution since it leaves most of the Palestinian people, according to its minimal self-definition, beyond the borders of such a state – within the areas of Israel and the Kingdom of Jordan. To overcome the anticipated rift, the independent Palestinian state might demand to annex areas inside Israel and Jordan. This would lead to the elimination of Israel and Jordan as independents states, and the subjugation of their citizens (those who survive) to a hostile Palestinian government.

The Best Solution: Federation

The Federation Plan maintains that Palestinian autonomy in the West Bank and Gaza Strip is an interim stage leading to an Israeli-Palestinian federation, based on full equality, under joint federal rule, with a common army, and a shared economy.

At first, each region will establish a separate autonomy in its area, in which democratic institutions and a modern economy will develop. Each autonomy will have a separate parliament (conducted on a modern, multiparty basis), an autonomous judicial authority, free multi-channel communications, and a shared civil administration.

At a later stage, once the West Bank and Gaza Strip achieve social and economic equality with the other regions in the country, Israel will be transformed into a federal Israeli-Palestinian entity. Its structure will be anchored in a federal constitution, with several cantons, as determined by its established assembly, in accordance with demographic patterns of the country’s regions. Each canton will be demarcated by specific jurisdictional borders, but these will be administrative, not military, borders. All citizens of the federation will have dual cantonal and federal nationality. The canton’s national identity will be determined by the majority, while the federation will be a ‘state of all its citizens’.

Security in the federation will remain in the hands of the IDF, which will gradually take in all citizens of the country.

The federation will have one currency and common market, with free movement of people, goods, capital, and know-how in its territory.

State and religion will be separate in the federation, granting full equality to all religions.

Hebrew and Arabic will be the federation’s official languages in all state institutions.

In order to assure that demographic changes do not change the unique status of the Jewish people in its land, there will be a federal House of Representatives above the cantonal parliaments. Representation in the house will be on an egalitarian basis, and its decisions must be unanimous, unrelated to majority and minority issues in Palestinian/Jewish relations. In addition, the constitution will assure the rights of minority and majority alike in each canton, and in the entire region of the federation.

Likewise, to assure the continued absorption of immigration and Jewish settlement without injuring the needs of the Palestinians, future Jewish settlement will be channeled to sparsely populated areas in the Golan, the Galilee, the Jordan Valley, and the Negev, but not to the West Bank and Gaza Strip, which are densely populated. Existing Jewish settlements will not be evacuated, except perhaps those in the Gaza Strip which, because of its dense population, cannot support land-intensive agricultural settlement. (An alternative solution is to find additional land reserves for settling the residents of Gaza outside the Strip, in Sinai and the Negev).

A confederation of the State of Israel and the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan

The Land of Israel is a single geopolitical unit. The Jordan river has never served as a national border. The future of the land is contingent on a return to natural boundaries - the Mandate’s borders - and on establishing a modern community of peoples within those boundaries.

To achieve this objective, a confederation composed of Jordan and Israel should be established. The confederation does not have to possess similarity of rule, and so it is a viable option, even today when each nation has a different form of rule - for Israel and Jordan have common vital interests in terms of security, the economy, and the environment. Equally, it will provide a solution to the problem of the refugees, the majority of whom live in the territory of Mandatory Palestine.

Read about the full plan in Elon Jarden's "Zion shall be Redeemed with Judgment"

About Elon Jarden

Articles published in HopeWays' 'News & Views' section

Visit the (Hebrew) site of The Zedec Movement, founded by Elon Jarden.

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