Steven Teplitsky

Three State Solution – Part 2 – Protectorate

In a previous post, titled “The 4000 Year History of Gaza”, I suggested that we think out of the box. Specifically, we no longer consider a One-State Solution which would be demographic suicide, or even a Two-State Solution which only the external players want.  Neither the Palestinians nor the Israelis are in favor of this “solution”. Otherwise it would be a reality today.

My proposal for a Three-State Solution calls for The State of Israel in a modified post-1967 border (not pre-1967) that includes the major settlement blocs. It calls for a totally de-militarized State of Gaza and a totally de-militarized State of West Bank Palestine. The State of Gaza would have links to Egypt and The State of West Bank Palestine would have links to Jordan (or what used to be called Trans-Jordan before the 1948 war). Both de-militarized states would be supervised and all states would have their security guaranteed by a consortium of stakeholders such as Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the UAE, United States, The UK, and France.

The United Nations and its Agencies would not be permitted in the area.

Could this be feasible?

I believe so. But only if we are willing to view the Middle East in a different light.

Let us examine the geo-political term “Protectorate”.

According to the National Museum of American Diplomacy, “A Protectorate  is an autonomous territory that is protected diplomatically or militarily against third parties by a stronger state or entity. The protectorate retains formal sovereignty and remains a state under international law, but in exchange for this, they usually accept specified obligations that vary depending on the nature of their relationship.”

What may come to mind by those with biased minds is that the Imperialist west wants to “colonize” Palestine once again. That is not so.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between a colony and a protectorate?

A colony has no control over its internal affairs and is a part of the same nation as the colonial power. A protectorate continues to be an independent state, with its external affairs controlled by the protector country.

What is a protectorate?

A protectorate is the relationship between two countries in which one nation is the ”protector” and the other is the ”protected.” In a protectorate relationship, the protected state maintains control of their internal affairs and relinquishes control of external affairs.

What is an example of a protectorate?

There are many examples of modern day Protectorates.

The United States currently has five inhabited Protectorates. They are Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands in the Caribbean Sea, Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands in the North Pacific Ocean, and American Samoa in the South Pacific Ocean.

The United Kingdom calls protectorates UK Overseas Territories. According to the UKOT, there are a total of 14 UK Overseas Territories (UKOTs) that have retained a constitutional link with the UK. They are inhabited by over 300,000 citizens and cover a combined area seven times that of the UK. While most are self-governing, with their own governments and legislatures, the UKOTs retain a strong relational tie to the UK, which has responsibility for foreign relations, security, defence, and good governance.

France’s protectorates fall under the French Constitution. The Overseas Departments-Regions and the Territorial Communities are Guadeloupe, Guiana, Martinique, La Réunion, Mayotte, Saint-Barthélemy, Saint-Martin, Saint-Pierre- et-Miquelon, the Wallis and Futuna Islands and French Polynesia.

The key to maintaining an independent status as a Protectorate is that the Protectorate is recognized under international law and the specific relationship between the Protectorate and the the “Protector” is set out under a treaty signed by both parties.

The Protectorate in Recent History

The Falkland Islands is a British Protectorate. On April 2, 1982 Argentina’s military government invaded the Falklands. This act started the Falkland Islands War, which ended 10 weeks later with the surrender of the Argentine forces to British troops who had forcibly reoccupied the islands. As a Protectorate it was the UK’s duty to defend the islands.

In 2013 the citizens of the Falklands voted unanimously to remain a UK Overseas Territory.

Japan became a Protectorate of the United States when it surrendered on September 2, 1945 until the US relinquished its control on April 28, 1952.

As a political and governing system, the concept of Protectorate has worked in the past and is currently working in the international arena quite well. In the case of the State of Gaza and the State of West Bank Palestine, the “Protectors” can be multi-layered with Egypt and Trans-Jordan on the lower rung under the umbrella of the UAE, Qatar, Saudi, the US, UK and France. The states would have status as independent countries by international law and have a seat at the UN. But as a Protectorate they will be totally de-militarized, save for a police force. If attacked they would be defended by their “Protector” nation. This would, in effect, be a security guarantee to Israel as well as the State of Gaza and the State of West Bank Palestine.

One of my favorite lines from Mark Cuban on the show Shark Tank is, “Would you rather own 100% of a grape or 10% of Watermelon?” For some reason, we are drawn to bigger numbers even when they don’t provide as much value. 100% just sounds better than 10%. BUT 10% of a watermelon is a lot more fruit than 100% of a grape.

The Palestinians have to come to the realization that statehood is achievable if they really want it. But all parties have to embrace a new paradigm since October 7, 2023.

The suggestion to write a post on “Protectorates” was given to me by my rabbi and friend, Rabbi Dr. Michael Baris.

About the Author
Graduated from Brandeis University in Near Eastern and Jewish Studies in 1978 before completion of PhD (ABD) in "Relationship of US to Pre 1948 Yishuv". Active in Toronto Jewish community while pursuing business career. Made Aliyah in 2020. Last person to be admitted into Israel before Covid shutdown. Favorite movie quotes are "I'm as mad as hell, and I'm not going to take this anymore!" and "You can't handle the truth!" and "Whaddya think, I'm dumb or something?"