Since I first published the proposal for a Three State Solution for the Israel-Palestinian Conflict, I have received an enormous amount of feedback from people across the political spectrum. Some has been positive — very positive — but much has been negative. I’ve chosen to ignore the far extremes on both sides. The “Push the Arabs into the Sea” crowd and the “Push the Jews into the Sea” crowd are equally unrealistic. Neither of those things are going to happen.
Nor are the two sides going to settle down next to each other like kittens spooning and be peaceful neighbors.
If we are to avoid eternal war, and resolve this conflict without the utter destruction of one or both of the sides, the Three State Solution, or something very much like it, is necessary.
But to clarify, because I’ve had some people who misunderstood the intent of the Three State Solution, there is no forced removal of anyone from the West Bank or the Gaza Strip other than actual convicted combatants.
In 2000, a natural gas field was found off the coast of Gaza. It’s about 36 km offshore and 610 m down, and it’s thought to contain more than a trillion cubic feet of natural gas. Israel uses about a third of a billion cubic feet of natural gas a year, so if that rate of usage stays the same, this is about 3000 years’ worth of natural gas.
In the Three State Solution, both Gaza and its offshore waters and minerals found there belong to Israel. But Israel chose, in 2005, to give over the Gaza Strip to the Palestinians, and it could be argued that that choice has a cost.
What I’d like to add to the Three State Solution is this. Fifty percent of the profits from the Gaza Marine gas field be gifted to the Palestinians. Not, however, to the Palestinian rulers.
Current Palestinian rulers have demonstrated an astounding level of corruption, and any profits given to them would be unlikely to trickle down to the Palestinian public.
Instead, I propose that an accurate census be taken of the Palestinians who live in the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, and Jerusalem, and that the 50% of profits from Gaza Marine be divided by that number, with the money held in trust by Israel, and disbursements made to individual Palestinians and their families, per person, when they move to the new Palestinian state, and every year thereafter, so long as profits are earned from the Gaza Marine gas field.
This is not dissimilar from the payments received by Alaskans for the oil produced in Alaskan oil fields. Since 1982, Alaskans have received annual dividend checks from the state oil fund simply for living in Alaska. Likewise, Palestinians who move to Palestine from the currently disputed territories west of the Jordan would receive a yearly dividend, per person. A family would receive an amount for all of its members.
This gift would serve both as an incentive to move to the new state, and a financial bonus received every year that would ease the difficulties of resettlement.
Most importantly, it would be an offer made to individual Palestinians, and not to any group that claims to represent them.
Status of Palestinians Remaining in Israel
Palestinians who choose to remain in Israel would be considered foreign nationals, with Palestinian citizenship, and subject to repatriation only if convicted of violent crimes or conspiracy or incitement to commit violent crimes. They would be subject to the same laws as Israeli citizens. Those who are repatriated involuntarily would forfeit their Gaza Marine benefits.
It is my hope that the uncivilized custom of “administrative detention”, in which individuals, including Israelis, can be imprisoned without charges and without a trial for an arbitrary period of time, will end.
Another Price Paid
This constitutes another price that would have to be paid by Israel in the framework of the Three State Solution. But I believe Israel would consider it eminently worthwhile, given the benefits.