By Ted Belman
In Time to return to the Mandate, I argued that partition is dead and that we should return to the original mandate. Now I see that Hillel Halkin is making the same argument in his recent Commentary article The Peace Planners Strike Again. He also argues that the Palestinians should be connected to Jordan for their mutual benefit.
Although Halkin is against the two-state solution he is not in support of a one Jewish state to the Jordan as I have proposed
Israel will have to withdraw, for the sake of its own survival, from most of the West Bank. It should not do so, however, as part of a settlement establishing a Palestinian state that can only be a permanent danger to it. On the contrary: it should withdraw on its own and in such a way that a Palestinian state will not come into being. Pulling back to the security fence while holding on to all of Jerusalem, without which no Palestinian state is possible, would be the best way of accomplishing this. As I have argued before in these pages, Israel has only one responsibility toward the Palestinians of the West Bank: either to give them full equality as Israeli citizens or to give them full freedom without Israeli occupation or control. It does not owe them a state and has no interest in their having one.
He doesn’t comment on the dangers inherent in withdrawing to the fence.
Ami Isseroff goes into this position in more detail in Bush in the Middle East.
The truth, as Hillel Halkin notes, is probably that nobody in the Middle East really wants an Israeli-Palestinian peace settlement. Halkin deludes himself if he believes that a unilateral partial Israeli withdrawal can really provide a stable solution. Nonetheless, one suspects that option is preferred by much of the Israeli government, and may be preferred by the Palestinians and the Arab states. Halkin notes the long history of failed Jewish-Arab peace schemes, always offered by outsiders and generally rejected by the Arab side.
A non-peace “solution” would allow Israel to keep territories it would have to give up otherwise and prevent formation of a state that could well become an irredentist terror state. It would allow Palestinians to maintain their claims and national aspirations and avoid politically dangerous compromises. As for the Arab states, they have never been interested in a Palestinian state, and did their best to prevent the formation of such a state since 1948, as it was viewed as a potential source of radical ideology.
So Halkin and Isseroff both want to withdraw, i.e. unilateral withdrawal with some negotiated terms if possible. I on the other hand don’t want to withdraw but to continue putting facts on the ground and to slowly annex Judea and Samaria.