An Autonomous Palestinian State

Many people call on Israel to “end the occupation” by withdrawing from the West Bank. But Israelis fear that a withdrawal would put Jerusalem and Tel Aviv within range of rockets fired from the West Bank. They base this fear on the bombardment of southern Israel by thousands of rockets after Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005.

As an alternative to withdrawing from the West Bank, Micah Goodman, in a provocative NY Times Op-Ed on Oct. 1, recommends shrinking the conflict by paving roads linking Palestinian towns to one another. These roads, under the control of the Palestinian Authority (PA), would eliminate Israeli checkpoints.

To shrink the conflict more significantly, we propose, to a future national unity government of Israel, that the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) withdraw from the interior of the West Bank but maintain control of the perimeter. By maintaining control of the borders, the IDF would be able to safeguard Israel by preventing weapons from being smuggled into the West Bank. The PA would have administrative and police jurisdiction over all residents of the West Bank. All Jewish settlers living in the West Bank would retain their Israeli citizenship and become permanent residents of the West Bank. They would pay taxes to the PA and benefit from its public services which could be augmented by Israel. In summary, Israel would provide external security for the West Bank while the PA would provide internal security.

About the Author
Ted Sheskin is a professor emeritus of industrial engineering at Cleveland State University, and the author of a textbook, Markov Chains and Decision Processes for Engineers and Managers. He has published peer-reviewed papers on engineering systems and mathematical algorithms. His letters to editors addressing politics, economic policy, and issues facing Israel and American Jews have appeared in the NY Times, Daily News, Cleveland Plain Dealer, Cleveland Jewish News, Jewish Week, the Forward, and Jewish Voice.
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