2 States Really Means 3 States
By Micah Halpern
Monday April 18, 2011
Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salim Fayyad is going public with his economic plan for Palestinian statehood. His goal is to declare Palestinian statehood by September 2011. His intention is to achieve that goal by way of a straight up vote in the United Nations General Assembly.
By all estimates, the decision to grant statehood to the Palestinians will fly through the United Nations. But that doesn't mean that the Palestinians don't have to first engage in some pretty fancy preliminary diplomatic tap dancing.
The Fayyad Plan, a very detailed three-year plan, has already been distributed to those donor nations scheduled to meet in June. The prime minister hopes to collect $5 billion to jump start the process of Palestinian statehood. He actually lists dollar amounts required to build, stimulate and create a stable economy that will become self sufficient over time.
The declaration of statehood and recognition by the world as put forth by Fayyad is pretty straight forward. The PA will ask that a Palestinian state be established in the post '67 West bank and Gaza areas - the terminology used by the Palestinian Authority is the post 1967 occupied territories.
There are two significant glitches to the plan. One glitch is that the United States does not want a unilateral declaration of Palestinian statehood. Washington wants a negotiated agreement between the Palestinians and the Israelis. A unilateral declaration supported by the UN does not define borders, does not delineate defenses and does not detail the new state's orientation. A declaration almost certainly guarantees continued tensions that can escalate into war with Israel and even result in Israeli conquest which would set back Palestinian statehood indefinitely.
The second glitch in this plan is that Fayyad speaks in detail about Gaza - both in terms of economic growth and the bureaucratic role Gaza will play. But Gaza is not controlled by Fayyad, Gaza is not controlled by the Palestinian Authority. Hamas controls Gaza and in 2007, Hamas tossed the Palestinian Authority out of Gaza in a violent, bloody, coup.
The truth is that the Palestinian plan for statehood is not a two-state plan, it is a three-state plan, but the Palestinians refuse to acknowledge that harsh reality. The only way a workable Palestinian state can be declared is with three independent states living side-by-side. One Israeli state, one Palestinian state in the West Bank and one Palestinian Hamas state in Gaza.
Three, not two.
There is little doubt that most of the Western world, including a majority of Israelis and the United States are in favor of a two-state solution. But two states is not what they will get.
As far as Hamas is concerned, the plan put forth by Salim Fayyad holds no value. For Hamas, Fayyad is symbolic of the tensions and the enmity that exist between West Bank Palestinians and Gaza-s Palestinians. When Palestinian elections were held in 2006, Hamas won. Unhappy with the results, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas ousted Hamas' prime minister, Ismail Haniyah, and put in his place a trusted ally named Salim Fayyad.
Fayyad was never elected to office and he has no authority - other than being appointed to a position that someone else was elected to. There have been no Palestinian elections since and until this is resolved, Hamas will not honor any future elections.
In the meantime, donor nations will dig into their coffers and provide the Palestinian Authority with the $5 billion they are asking for their three-year plan. It is a very nice plan, but it is a plan that is destined to fail. It will fail because it is built on a fallacy. The Palestinians are not one people, they are two peoples. Hamas and the Palestinian Authority hate each other almost as much as they each hate Israel. That is not going to change by September 2011.
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