[Published 2 September 2012]
A new strategy to resolve the 130 years old Jewish-Arab conflict is urgently needed with the growing recognition that the “two-state solution” proposed by the Oslo Accords and the Bush Roadmap for the last 20 years is dead and buried .
Dr. Carlo Strenger has recently expressed this view in an article entitled “Requiem for a two- state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict”.
Dr Strenger is Chair of the Clinical Graduate Program of the Department of Psychology at Tel Aviv University. He serves on the Permanent Monitoring Panel on Terrorism of the World Federation of Scientists, the Seminar of Existential Psychoanalysis in Zurich, and the Scientific Board of the Sigmund Freud Foundation, Vienna in addition to maintaining a part-time practice in existential psychoanalysis.
He is - and has been - a constant critic of the policies of Israel’s Government and its Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Dr Strenger’s summation of the current position is succinctly stated:
“I came to the conclusion that the two-state solution was dead at the end of 2011, when Abbas’ bid for recognition of Palestine by the UN failed. Ever since I published this assessment, friends and readers have asked what I suggest as an alternative. Some thought that I had finally moved to the extreme left’s endorsement of the one-state solution; others thought that I had moved to the right.
Neither is the case. There are moments when reality flies into your face, and in which you realize that your political program is no longer viable, even though you do not endorse any of the alternatives. I do not derive much comfort from being in good company: The remainders of Israel’s left pay lip service to the two-state solution, knowing that there is no longer a way to implement it.
My conversations with European diplomats and politicians generate the impression that the same holds true for Western Europe. For lack of an alternative to the two-state solution, European governments have not endorsed any alternative conception, but they are beginning to realize that the two-state solution won’t happen.”
Dr Strenger further confesses that he too “does not have any coherent strategy to propose.”
There is however a coherent strategy or alternative conception that can be pursued outside the options mentioned in his article - which Dr Strenger and Western Europe have failed to consider - focusing on Jordan - 78% of former Palestine.
Jordan’s entry into the Six Day War on 5 June 1967 against Israel’s warning to refrain from doing so - resulted in Jordan’s loss of control over the West Bank and East Jerusalem to Israel.
The War broke out when Israel responded to the Egyptian military build-up by launching a surprise attack on Egypt’s air force, destroying most of it on the ground within a matter of hours.
That same morning, Israel had sent a message to Jordan’s leader King Hussein via the US State Department, the UN and the British Foreign Office, saying that, despite the outbreak of war, it would not attack the West Bank if Jordan maintained quiet on that front.
Jordan ignored Israel’s appeal to avoid any such conflict - and launched the following attacks on Israel before Israel acted militarily against Jordan or moved into the West Bank
1. Civilian suburbs of Tel-Aviv were shelled by artillery;20 Israelis died in these attacks; 1000 were wounded. 900 buildings in West Jerusalem were damaged.
2. Israel’s largest military airfield, Ramat David, was shelled;
3. Jordanian warplanes attacked the central Israeli towns of Netanya and Kfar Sava;
4. Thousands of mortar shells rained down on West Jerusalem hitting civilian locations indiscriminately, including the Hadassah Hospital and the Mount Zion Church;
5. Israel’s parliament building (the Knesset) and the Prime Minister’s office, each in Israeli-controlled West Jerusalem, were targeted;
“Jerusalem is totally engulfed in war…” reported the British Consul-General that morning.
At that fateful moment in time:
1. Jordan had continuously occupied the West Bank and East Jerusalem from 1948 - 1967.
2. Not one Jew had lived in the West Bank or East Jerusalem for those 19 years
3. The West Bank and East Jerusalem had been incorporated as part of Transjordan following a conference of hand picked Palestinian Arab leaders held on 1 December 1948 in Jericho.
4. Transjordan had officially changed its name to the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan on 25 April 1949
5. On 24 April 1950 the Jordan House of Deputies and House of Notables, in a joint session, adopted a resolution declaring:
“complete unity between the two sides of the Jordan and their union in one state…at whose head reigns King Abdullah Ibn al Hussain, on a basis of constitutional representative government and equality of the rights and duties of all citizens.”6. West Bank Arabs had become Jordanian citizens and held Jordanian passports
7. Not one call to establish an independent Palestinian Arab state in every square centimetre of the West Bank with its capitol in Jerusalem had been made during those 19 years.
8. The Palestine Liberation Organization had only been in existence for three years but article 24 of its constitution clearly stated that the organization:
“does not exercise any regional sovereignty over the Western Bank in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan …”
Jordan must now be pressured to fill the Arab void following the burial of Oslo, the Roadmap and the Palestinian Authority with it - because Jordan’s decision in 1967 to join the Six Day War against Israel and its consequent loss of the West Bank and East Jerusalem to Israel created the problem that still persists unresolved to this day.
Jordan cannot be allowed to simply bow out of resolving a problem which it helped create by either
1. refusing point blank to come to the negotiating table with Israel or
2. by claiming to have washed its hands of the problem in 1988 when foregoing any territorial claims in areas it had ruled for 19 years between 1948-1967.
There is a beautifully expressive Yiddish word - tachless - which the Everyday Yiddish-English-Yiddish dictionary defines as:
“substance, worth, basics, ’brass tacks’ “
It is time to talk tachless with Jordan and let it know in no uncertain terms that it is part of the problem in the West Bank and East Jerusalem - and must now be part of the solution.