The Four Hard Truths to Peace

The partisan divide in both the US and Israel is now strong. This breach has now crossed over the two nations and exists as competing paradigms between the Left and Right within (and against) each country. US Democrats are now so anti-Trump that a large segment have become anti-Bibi and pro-Palestinian, seeking goals which many Israelis view as anathema to their very existence. In opposition, most Israeli right-wingers have become so Republican and pro-Trump that the very thought of any “peace” outcome short of conquest (with limited Palestinian autonomy) is now considered out of the question.

In the US, it has become the moderate position among the Center-Left to cling to the outdated concept of a West Bank Palestinian state. The vast majority of Israelis reject a Palestinian state west of the river, especially one with Jerusalem as its capital. This West Bank state concept is now totally opposed by the US Republican Party. For their part, the Palestinians are correctly viewed as either complete rejectionists (Hamas), or phased rejectionists (Fatah). But absent the concept of a West Bank state, both the Right and the Left across the partisan divide are without an adequate alternative to either Palestinian statehood or the future of Jerusalem. This scenario is also very true in Israel. From my point of view, both sides, in both countries, are dead wrong on all accounts.

In order for there to be peace between Israelis and the Palestinians, four hard truths must come into existence. First, there must be a sovereign Palestinian state (sorry, right-wing). Second, that state must have its capital within a united Jerusalem (sorry, right-wing and Israeli center). Third, the sovereign Palestinian state must NOT be located on the area west of the Jordan River, commonly called the West Bank (sorry, left-wing in both Israel and the US). Fourth, the region of the Middle East must be pacified through international action and coordination, in order to sustain its balance of power in perpetuity (sorry to all current and/or aspiring hegemons, including Iran and most Palestinians).

So where should a sovereign Palestinian state with its capital in a united Jerusalem be located? Well, east of the river of course, in the territory originally mandated as eastern Palestine, but changed to become the monarchy of Jordan. Jordan was first and foremost an integral part of mandated Palestine. It was mandated originally as a homeland for the Jewish people as stipulated by international law through the League of Nations. Geographically and historically, Jordan has always been a region within Israel-Palestine. In a genuine and workable two-state solution, the inclusion of geographic Jordan becomes essential to a peaceful solution. This fact becomes the key element to hard truths numbers one and three.

Jordan could become Palestine by the democratic participation of all constitutional citizens, that is, Jordanians (also called Palestinians) on both banks of the Jordan River. So-called non-Palestinian Jordanians make up less than ten per cent of Jordan’s population. These non-Palestinian Jordanians are the Bedouin tribes who support the monarchy and are opposed to the democratic enfranchisement of the vast majority of Jordanian citizens who see themselves as Palestinian. Jordan’s population is predominantly Palestinian, and the land mass of Jordan originally encompassed the large territory of eastern Palestine.

If there is an apartheid state within the total and accurate boundaries of Israel-Palestine, it is certainly NOT Israel. The truth is that Jordan is an anti-Palestinian apartheid state, occupying eastern Palestine and operating as an absolute monarchy with great and powerful foreign friends in Washington and Jerusalem, which keep it afloat. But the truth is also that Jordan (the monarchy) has been a key factor in the pacification of the eastern Palestinian hinterland, and without Jordan’s army and air force, militant rejectionist Arabs could have encroached very close to Israel’s borders. Over the course of the last seventy years, the monarchy has played a moderating role within the region. The truth is that all sides to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict want to keep Jordan (the monarchy) afloat for their own reasons.

Israel needs Jordan (i.e. eastern Palestine) pacified for the essential reason of geopolitical necessity. This is why truth number four is so very vital to the Jewish state. Now however, with the rise of revolutionary Iran, pacification of the entire Middle East is a must. Peace between Israel and the Palestinians has become impossible without a corresponding regional pacification.

The Palestinians would like nothing better than a state on the West Bank as a stepping stone to the future overthrow of the monarchy east of the river. That’s why they demand a Palestinian state on the West Bank. And, for now, the Palestinians declare the monarchy in Jordan to be their best friend and potential partner. This friendship narrative is not to be believed. It is a sham. In a non-pacified Middle East, with a West Bank state linked to Jordan through confederation, federation or by more hostile means, Israel would be a mere nine miles wide. The Jewish state would be literally up against the sea; and without the monarchy, facing militant armies and militias from Tehran straight through to the suburbs of Tel Aviv.

In the current non-pacified Middle East, this attempt to push Israel toward indefensible borders is precisely why the Palestinians demand a West Bank state. The truth is that now, pacification must come first. A rollback of all forces east of the monarchy of Jordan and north of the Golan Heights (Syria) has become a must. In today’s Middle East, these Iranian-backed forces could link together with militant Palestinians in an attempt to challenge Israel’s very existence. Within this non-pacified area, a constant and relentless military pressure could eventually lead to Israel’s demise. First a West Bank state, then the overthrow of the monarchy in Jordan, all within a dominant Iranian region — this is the rejectionist Palestinian strategy.

This is why Israel will never accept a West Bank Palestinian state on a Jordan River border facing east toward the Jordanian hinterland. All of Israel’s political forces understand that its defensive line must be on the West Bank and on the river. Even under a regional and international pacification regime for the entire Middle East, this defensive line will still remain essential to the maintenance of that very same pacification regime. Without this defensive line, Israel will become (as in 1948 and 1967) extremely vulnerable, and so too will any pacification regime. Israel is the one country in the Middle East who could become easily surrounded by potential Islamic enemies (just like the non-state Kurds). This is precisely why UN Security Council Resolution 242 recognized Israel’s right, under international law, to secure borders. Israel needs the highlands of the West Bank for its ultimate security. For a blueprint of a regional pacification regime, google: Steven Horowitz, Times of Israel, May 11, 2018.

So what is to become of Jerusalem and the West Bank? Since there can never be either a West Bank Palestinian state or a Palestinian state without a capital in Jerusalem, (Islam’s link to the Holy City will never allow total Israeli control) — this leaves only one alternative. That is, the necessity for a structure for shared rule. The ultimate hard truth is that for peace to reign, shared rule within Judea and Samaria and the West Bank becomes the essential component. Within both Jerusalem and these territories, separation between Israelis and Palestinians has now become an impossibility.

The truth is that G-d demands peace and understanding between nations. A Divine Plan has been established within history in order for this to happen. But it is up to us — human beings in the Divine’s own image — to choose wisely, be flexible, and to work diligently for peace.

About the Author
Steven Horowitz has been a farmer, journalist and teacher spanning the last 45 years. He resides in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA. During the 1970's, he lived on kibbutz in Israel, where he worked as a shepherd and construction worker. In 1985, he was the winner of the Christian Science Monitor's Peace 2010 international essay contest. He was a contributing author to the book "How Peace came to the World" (MIT Press).