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Egypt and Jordan - lifelines to Gaza and West Bank

By David Singer - posted Thursday, 22 January 2009

The growing humanitarian crisis in Gaza is slowly leading to the realisation that removal of Hamas and its 20,000 terrorist army from there has become a fundamental priority in permanently ending the suffering of Gaza's civilian population.

This understanding has been complemented by the acknowledgement that the Palestinian Authority has been reduced to the status of a political eunuch following:

  1. its failure to achieve any breakthrough in 15 years of fruitless negotiations with Israel; and
  2. the embarrassing loss of its political and administrative control over Gaza to Hamas in the bitter confrontation played out between them in 2006 and 2007.

These views are reflected in articles appearing in the Washington Post on January 5, 2009 -"The Three State Option" - written by John Bolton former US ambassador to the United Nations and in the Jerusalem Post on January 6, 2009 - "The Solution to the 'Palestinian Problem'" - written by respected international analyst Daniel Pipes.

Messrs Bolton and Pipes have both advocated a Jordanian - Egyptian rescue package as the solution to end the chaos and mayhem in Gaza and to avoid the threatened crisis that will inevitably occur in the West Bank as President Bush's Roadmap is finally determined to have run out of roads to traverse.

Both Bolton and Pipes recommend that Jordan return to control the West Bank and Egypt do likewise in Gaza - replicating the position that had existed from 1948 until 1967 when both territories were lost to Israel in the Six Days War in June 1967.

Despite continuing rosy and optimistic assessments claiming an imminent breakthrough in the negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, the parties still remain poles apart in their negotiating positions.

The Palestinian Authority continues to insist on the following two demands being accepted by Israel:

  1. the removal of all 500,000 Jews now living in the West Bank; and
  2. the return to Israel of millions of Arabs (and their descendants) made homeless by the 1948 Arab-Israel War.

Israel has clearly indicated its outright rejection of these two demands and the last 12 months of intensive and exhaustive negotiations have failed to make any real dent in the negotiating positions of either side.

The Arab Peace initiative 2002 has now been touted as the saviour of these negotiations but it fails to offer any answers to resolving these two deal-breaking demands. Indeed it virtually imposes their acceptance as essential to the success of the Initiative. It is presented by the Arab League on a "take it all or leave it basis" and accordingly will be left at the starting gate by Israel.

In essence then the so called solution to the "Palestinian problem" - the creation of a new Arab State in the West Bank and Gaza - has become insoluble because the Arab conditions for its creation are unattainable in any negotiating process.

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About the Author

David Singer is an Australian Lawyer, a Foundation Member of the International Analyst Network and Convenor of Jordan is Palestine International - an organisation calling for sovereignty of the West Bank and Gaza to be allocated between Israel and Jordan as the two successor States to the Mandate for Palestine. Previous articles written by him can be found at

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All articles by David Singer

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

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