Dry Bones: Fittng the puzzle pieces together
Dry Bones: Fittng the puzzle pieces togetherY. Kirschen

The United Nations (UN), Jordan, Egypt, the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) and Hamas need to focus on the current reality that the two-state solution called for in UN Security Council Resolution 2334 is impossible to achieve: That is, creating a second Arab State in 5% of former Palestine - in addition to Jordan – which presently exercises sovereignty in 78% of former Palestine.

That reality was made abundantly clear by Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process -Tor Wennesland – when addressing the Security Council on 19 January during its quarterly debate on “The situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question”.

Wennesland told the Security Council:

“Efforts must also continue to encourage all Palestinian political factions towards political consensus and bringing Gaza and the occupied West Bank under one legitimate, democratic Palestinian authority. Gaza remains integral to a future Palestinian State as part of a two-State solution”

Bringing “Gaza and the occupied West Bank“ under “one legitimate, democratic Palestinian authority” requires a miracle of truly biblical proportions.

Neither Hamas – which has governed Gaza since 2007 – nor the PLO – which has governed Areas A and B – 40% of the 'West Bank' - since 1994 – currently has any intention of allowing their respective populations to have any say in their own future by holding free and fair elections. Promises to do so have come and gone like the four seasons. These political antagonists are locked in a power struggle that sees no prospect of being resolved in the foreseeable future.

Other features of a democratic society – a free press, independent judiciary and freedom of speech and assembly – are nowhere to be seen in either Gaza or the 'West Bank' (Judea and Samaria):

Until these essential conditions prevail - any talk of achieving the two-state solution as contemplated under UN Security Council Resolution 2334 is a complete waste of time.

A circuit breaker is needed – until one legitimate, democratic Arab Palestinian authority emerges – to defuse and hopefully end the increasing violence between Jews and Arabs occurring on virtually a daily basis.

That circuit breaker could involve the UN Security Council, Jordan, Egypt, the PLO and Hamas negotiating with Israel for a partial return to the status quo that existed in Gaza, the 'West Bank' and East Jerusalem on 5 June 1967 - when:

  • Egypt had been occupying a Jew-free Gaza since 1948
  • ∙The 'West Bank' had been unified with Transjordan since 1950 to form a new country called “Jordan”
  • all Jews living in the 'West Bank' having been driven out in 1948 whilst its then Arabs-only remaining population had become Jordanian citizens electing their own representatives to the Jordanian parliament
  • The PLO was not claiming regional sovereignty in either the “West Bank in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan” or “on the Gaza Strip” - its activities then being “on the national popular level in the liberational, organizational, political and financial fields”

Hamas did not exist – its founding not occurring until 1988.

Successful negotiations to turn back the political clock existing at 5 June 1967 with changes between Israel andEgypt and Jordan – with whom Israel has had signed peace treaties since 1979 and 1994 respectively – backed by the PLO and Hamas, chaired by the UN Secretary-General could keep the future possibility of the two-state solution alive.

Such negotiations could also open up a variety of other solutions to end the Arab-Jewish conflict including:

  • Gaza-Egypt: confederation or unification
  • 'West Bank'-Jordan: confederation or
  • reunification of such areas of the West Bank with Jordan as is agreed between Israel and Jordan.

The Security Council should heed Wennesland’s advice and use its influence to make these negotiations happen.

Talking is always preferable to fighting.

Author’s note: The cartoon — commissioned exclusively for this article — is by Yaakov Kirschen aka “Dry Bones”- one of Israel’s foremost political and social commentators — whose cartoons have graced the columns of Israeli and international media publications for decades.

David Singer is an Australian lawyer who is active in Zionist community organizations in that country. He founded the "Jordan is Palestine" Committee in 1979.