Jaime Kardontchik

Israel and the US: Both are right. Now change course

Israel and the US should end the unnecessary frictions between them. The humanitarian crisis in Gaza can be ended in 24 hours, if Israel and the US will agree to the following:

The Gaza Strip should be de-facto partitioned

The Gaza Strip should be partitioned between a northern and southern parts, with the boundary between them being essentially Wadi Gaza. The Gaza Strip north to Wadi Gaza will be administrated by Israel. The Gaza Strip south of Wadi Gaza will continue being administrated by the Palestinians, presently Hamas.

The Gaza Strip divided by Wadi Gaza between its northern and southern parts. Lexicon: Wadi: a valley or ravine that is dry except in the rainy season. (Map source: Ocha, BBC)

The long-term Israeli control of the northern part of the Gaza Strip will allow for a safe return of the large majority of the tens of thousands of presently displaced and war-traumatized Israelis to the border towns next to northern Gaza, and the rebuilding of their communities. Israeli civilians will not return to rebuild their lives there, after the horrible traumas they experienced on October 7th, if they do not see iron-clad basic changes on the other side of the border: the leaders of Hamas are on record of promising another “October 7th” again, and again.

Humanitarian aid to Gaza South of Wadi Gaza

Israel should not interfere – nor even give the impression of such thing – with the flow of humanitarian goods through the Rafah crossing, nor should Israel inspect them: Israel should take at face value declarations issued by recognized international aid organizations and Egypt about the contents of the humanitarian aid they provide. The flow of this humanitarian aid should only be limited by the capacity of these humanitarian organizations and Egypt to deliver it.

Humanitarian aid to Gaza North of Wadi Gaza

Israel will ensure that all the needed humanitarian aid reaches the civilian population North of Wadi Gaza. All this humanitarian aid will use terrestrial routes between Israel and northern Gaza, and will be inspected by Israel.

The above solution could be implemented immediately, ending the humanitarian crisis.

There are two objections to the immediate implementation of the above solution: on one side, the idea of a de-facto division of Gaza for years to come into a northern and southern part (similar to the division of Nazi Germany after World War II into West and East Germany) is presently an anathema for the US. On the other side, due to the massacre and atrocities committed by Hamas on October 7th, Israel has switched from a long-held perspective that a rule of Gaza by Hamas is tolerable, to a totally opposite perspective that even a temporary continuation of the rule of Hamas on any part of Gaza is intolerable. Both objections are counterproductive.

The day after

Beyond the immediate crisis, Israel and the US should set a common vision on how to solve the Arab-Israeli conflict. First, the refugee problem.

The refugee problem

There were two groups of refugees created by the Arab-Israeli conflict: the Jewish refugees from the Arab countries, and the Palestinian refugees from the 1948 Arab-Israeli war.

Any peace initiative should refer to both groups, or none of them. This balanced approach was explicitly adopted by the US Congress: The HR 185 Bill (year 2008) states that “Middle East refugee resolutions which include a reference to the Palestinian refugee issue must also include a similarly explicit reference to the resolution of the issue of the Jewish refugees from Arab countries”.

This was also the approach taken by the UN Security Council in November 1967, when it approved the 242 UNSC resolution. After the US and Britain rejected the motion of the Soviet Union representative to refer in it only to the Palestinian refugees, the approved 242 resolution states instead: “The Security Council … affirms further the necessity … (b) For achieving a just settlement of the refugee problem.”

The first step to solve the refugee problem is for the Arab states to give descendants of Palestinians, who were born in the Arab countries, full citizenship rights in their countries of residence. The wealthy Arab countries should provide all the needed help for the full integration of these refugees in their present countries of residence, including the eradication of all the refugee camps. According to the UNRWA, about 2,700,000 Arabs of Palestinian descent live today in Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan. Among them, more than 2,000,000 are in Jordan.

This is long overdue: this is an elemental recognized right for all descendants of refugees in all the other conflicts in the world: the right to rebuild their lives in their new countries of residence. The Palestinians became the exception to the rule: They were kept for generations as refugees in the Arab countries to sustain and provide a justification for the continuation of the war against the State of Israel.

Israel did its part by integrating more than half a million Jewish refugees from the Arab countries. Around half of the present Jewish population in Israel is descendent from Jewish refugees from Arab countries. It is time for the Arab states to do their part in integrating the Palestinian refugees in their countries of residence. The Arab countries should do this now, with no further delays.

The second part of the shared vision of Israel and the US should be how to solve the Arab-Israeli conflict. The principles for the solution of this conflict are formulated in the 242 UNSC resolution.

The 242 UNSC resolution

The Arab countries, Israel, the US, and the international community should adopt the 242 United Nations Security Council resolution from November 1967 as the basis for the settlement of the conflict. This step should begin with setting the international borders in the West Bank: As part of the 242, the West Bank will be reunified with Jordan, and remain demilitarized.

No one will be forced to leave his/her home. After a recognized international border between Israel and the reunified Jordan with the West Bank will be established, replacing the armistice (cease-fire) lines of 1949, some small Jewish and Arab towns, might appear “on the wrong side” of the international border. No one will be forced to leave his/her home, and the individual civil rights of these people will be respected. This will include their rights to keep their ties with their fellow citizens on the other side of the international border. This will also include their right to hold dual-citizenship.

In the cruel reality of the Middle East, a miniature independent state in the West Bank, 55 miles long by 40 miles wide, including also the minuscule Gaza Strip, 24 miles long by 6 miles wide (called the “Palestinian State” in the “2-state solution” approach), will become a failed state, and a fertile soil and launching pad for an irredentist movement to continue the war with Israel, or as the pro-Palestinian mobs in the European cities and at the university campuses in the US proudly chant: “From the [Jordan] River to the [Mediterranean] Sea, Palestine will be free”. Meanwhile, many in the academic and intellectual circles in the Western world either support this call for the elimination of the State of Israel (under the lofty wording of dismantling the “settler-colonialist” enterprise), or cowardly stay silent, intimidated. Or shamelessly deceive the public, saying that this call is just a spiritual aspiration, with no actual violent genocidal connotations.

About the Author
Jaime Kardontchik has a PhD in Physics from the Technion, Israel Institute of Technology. He lives in the Silicon Valley, California.
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