Yoram Cohen
Yoram CohenFlash 90

Former Shabak (Israel Security Agency) chief Yoram Cohen warned against a one-state solution, urging Israel to tone down the option of sovereignty in favor of a "more modest" solution.

In an interview with Kan Reshet Bet Cohen warned that annexing 30% of the land in Judea and Samaria may lead to a de facto one-state solution.

"We are deteriorating towards the option of creating a de facto one-state [solution]," he said. "They will be among us, spread out, cut off, without a real vision."

"We don't want to reach either a situation with two states or with one state, each because of its own dangers. Both will be tragic. They will be among us, like the skin of a giraffe, spread out, cut off, without a real vision. They will become embedded in us. If I could advise the decision makers 50 years ago, I would ask them, 'Why do we need Jabel Mukaber, Sur Baher, and Isawiya? Twenty thousand people live today over Jerusalem. For what? So that their children can carry out suicide terror attacks here? They will be enemies for us, from within us.'

"Such a large process of annexation may lead to a disturbance of the security situation and to a crisis in our relationships with the Arab countries and Europe - and what I fear most is that we will deteriorate into the option of a de facto single state, which is a disaster for the State of Israel."

Instead, Cohen suggested "making do with a more modest goal of autonomy plus. Others might call it a state minus." This, he said, would be "according to several principles: In no agreement would we harm existing security components, settlements, holy sites, and no irreversible operations to change reality would be conducted. That way we can define where we are going on the issue of annexation as well."

"I think that the Trump plan is good for Israel. The security components are in our favor, Jerusalem stays with us, there is support for applying sovereignty, the refugees are irrelevant. At the end of the process the Palestinians get a state. But applying sovereignty over 30%, like what we're talking about now, which is about 10% of the settlements in Judea and Samaria and 20% is the greater Jordanian Valley - that means that you are surrounding the Palestinians on 360 degrees by dry land.

"From their perspective they are an enclave within Israel's stomach. Jericho will be a babushka doll. We will need to invest an ocean of money in fences, in field security, in agricultural gates, and in the disruption to the security situation."

Instead, Cohen suggests annexing only the settlement blocs, which are about 10% of Judea and Samaria, and giving the Palestinian Authority a similar amount of land from Area C, which is currently under Israeli authority.

"Israel has an interest in going for something more modest," he concluded.