Wednesday, January 18, 2017


If it is true that a two-state solution cannot divide the region of Gaza, Israel, and the West Bank into to states--Israel and Palestine--because of competing geographic needs of each party that cannot be compromised, what can be done?

This analysis does not bode well for a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestinian conflict:

The Israelis cannot give up the Jordan River line since it is their main defensive position. Nor can they accept a westward shift of the border toward the 1948 lines, as it would make the Israeli heartland (the Tel Aviv-Haifa-Jerusalem triangle) vulnerable to the kinds of rockets fired from Gaza.

The Palestinians can’t accept a state divided between Gaza and the West Bank, without any transport under their control. Nor can they accept Israeli control of the Jordan River line, as that would mean that they remain isolated except for Israel permitting movement – and would mean the Israeli army moving through Palestinian territory. Finally, such a geography would be economic insanity. Palestine would remain dependent on Israel, with its population employed in menial jobs in Israel, passing through Israeli checkpoints.

Those who want Israel to retreat from the Jordan River--even if some would let Israel keep outposts along that line to monitor the region--argue that the world had moved beyond land as a basis of power and security. The position of rocket launchers in Gaza and Hezbollah-controlled southern Lebanon--would seem to negate that optimism.

But what if a two-state solution partially retreats from the territorial basis of states?

Could a Palestine complete with a UN seat be created in pockets of territory controlled by Israel, plus Gaza, while granting Palestinians who live in territory controlled by Israel, Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan Palestinian citizenship?

The focus of citizenship would be transferred to the Internet, for taxation, voting, incorporating companies, and civic groups.

Could Estonia help with this type of focus given their reputation as E-stonia?

By removing these now-Palestine citizens from the local governments, they would be a lesser factor in local politics. For generations, Arab states have refused to grant the descendants of refugees permanent residence status or citizenship. Wouldn't this option be attractive to these states?

Those Palestine citizens would have to be given the option of seeking citizenship in the local government. Perhaps with conditions and numerical ceilings, in a wider "right of return" with limits.

International financial and technical support could be shifted from "refugee" support to state-building on the Internet and in legal matters in states that host the most Palestinians.

Perhaps this could go global with states allowing Palestinians to be residents without being on a citizen track. Again, national limits could be assigned so this isn't just open borders globally for Palestinian citizens.

Sure, the Palestinians would be subject to the friendship or hostility of host nations. But how different is that from the current situation?

We are building an Internet of things, now. Could we build an Internet of a State to get around the problem of two people fighting over control of one piece of land?

I haven't tried to think through the intricacies of such a solution. But I thought I'd throw it out there.