Jaime Kardontchik

Time to move on: The Hashemite Kingdom of Palestine

Year 1967:

On May 18, 1967, the United Arab Republic (then a union of Egypt and Syria) requested the United Nations to withdraw the UN forces from the Sinai Peninsula and the Gaza Strip, stationed there to maintain a quiet border with Israel. The UN protested but it complied with the request.

Four days later, on May 22, 1967, Egypt closed the Straits of Tiran to navigation to and from Israel. At that time around 90% of the vital oil imports to Israel (from Iran) passed through the Straits of Tiran. This triggered, two weeks later, the June 1967 war. The war pitted Egypt, Syria and Jordan against Israel, and its effects are felt till today. The main results of this war were: Egypt lost the Sinai Peninsula and the Gaza Strip, Syria lost the Golan Heights, and Jordan lost the West Bank.

In November 1967 the United Nations Security Council adopted the resolution 242 that set the principles for the resolution of the conflict between Israel and the Arab countries.

Year 2000:

President Bill Clinton gave a pointedly summary of the negotiations between the Israeli and Palestinian teams held during July-December 2000, hosted by the US in Camp David:

“Arafat was also trying to wiggle out of giving up the right of return … I reminded him that there were not going to be two majority-Arab states in the Holy Land…Arafat’s rejection of my proposal [the ‘Clinton parameters’] after Barak accepted it was an error of historic proportions.” [President Bill Clinton, recounting his conversations with the Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat in Camp David, in year 2000 (From his autobiographic book “My Life”, 2005)]

The 2-state approach

The 2-state approach has been pursued by all stripes of the political spectrum of Israel: by the leftist Labor (prime minister Ehud Barak: in Camp David, 2000, who accepted president Clinton’s parameters for the resolution of the conflict with the Palestinians), by the rightist Likud (prime minister Ariel Sharon: who – in a unilateral move – removed all the Jews from Gaza in  2005, and left the strip to the Palestinian Authority), and by the centrist Kadima (prime minister Ehud Olmert, who made further concessions to the Palestinians in matters related to Jerusalem, in 2008).  All these efforts failed to produce any results.

It is time to move on.

Year 2023:

Israel must return to the UNSC Resolution 242 and negotiate with Jordan an end to the conflict. The main items to resolve the conflict are its territorial and refugee aspects.

The territorial aspect: Gaza and the West Bank should be demilitarized and reincorporated as part of Jordan, perhaps the West Bank first and Gaza sometime later.

The demilitarization of the West Bank

Israel, the West Bank and Gaza. (Map source: the US State Department)

Notice the width of the state of Israel in its heavily populated area along the Mediterranean Sea: It is only about 10-20 miles. A demilitarized West Bank would provide a minimum safeguard to Israel against a sudden deterioration of the political situation in the West Bank and a consequent military aggression that could threaten its heavily populated center and “cut” Israel into two halves at its thin waist.  A demilitarized West Bank, as part of Jordan, will not hurt the national feelings of sovereignty of anyone: It already works fine for many years with Egypt’s Sinai.

As suggested elsewhere, Jordan will change its name to reflect this territorial union (the name “Hashemite Kingdom of Palestine” has lately been suggested in an article published in the Saudi Royal Family-owned news outlet “Al-Arabiya News”, last June 8, 2022), and an internationally recognized border between Israel and the Hashemite Kingdom of Palestine will be established to recognize the new reality.

The refugee aspect: An international aid program – similar to the Marshall Plan for Europe after World War II – should be established, as part of the solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict, to develop the economy of Jordan and integrate the Palestinians in the expanded Hashemite Kingdom of Palestine.

I do not say that the return to the UNSC 242 and to the Jordanian track would be easy and accepted immediately by the world: it might take some time for this proposal to sink in the minds of the people in the region and in the western world, and be implemented. But this vision should be clearly and explicitly adopted by Israel early on: It is in Israel’s best interests, in order to concentrate its limited human resources on the principal objective: A Jewish and Democratic state, living in secure and recognized international borders.

No one will be forced to leave his/her home

After a recognized international border between Israel and the Hashemite Kingdom of Palestine will be established, replacing the armistice (cease-fire) lines of 1949, some small Jewish towns, presently in the West Bank, might appear within the Hashemite Kingdom of Palestine international borders. Similarly, some small Arab towns, presently in the West Bank, might appear within the international border of Israel. The same might happen with some small Arab towns presently within Israel’s 1949 armistice borders: they might appear within the Hashemite Kingdom of Palestine international borders. 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.

The Hashemite Kingdom of Palestine

The Hashemite Kingdom of Palestine will include the present Kingdom of Jordan, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

The West Bank: A geographic perspective

The map below shows the relative size of Jordan and the West Bank. Jordan is comparable in size to the state of Indiana. The West Bank is around only 6% of the area of Jordan, and is comparable in size to the state of Delaware.

Jordan and the West Bank. (Map source: Central Intelligence Agency, USA)

The Gaza Strip: An economic perspective

The area of the Gaza Strip is only 140 square miles, with a population of about 2 million people. An underground tunnel joining Gaza to the West Bank (similar in length to the undersea channel between the UK islands and Europe, but easier to build and maintain) will put an end to the isolation of the Gaza territory, allowing for a free interchange of people and goods. The economy of Gaza will now be sustainable: a port, a system of desalinization plants and tourism. For Jordan it means direct access to the Mediterranean Sea, and an underground aqueduct will provide a long-term solution to access to potable water to the Jordanian population: Jordan is presently practically a landlocked country with very limited water resources. For comparison: Israel desalinates 75% of its drinking water from the Mediterranean Sea. The aqueduct can also provide an ecologically-sound solution for the dying Dead Sea.

The Gaza Strip connected to the West Bank and Jordan through an underground tunnel and aqueduct. (Map source: The US State Department)

The map above shows the Gaza strip joined to the West Bank and Jordan through an underground tunnel (for the free interchange of people and goods) and an underground aqueduct (to provide desalinized water to the West Bank and Jordan.)

The Gaza Strip: A timeline

The political future of Gaza will have to be postponed to a later time: it will have to be demilitarized, but, as long as the Ayatollahs remain in power in Iran, the stalemate in Gaza will persist. However, the reunification of the West Bank with Jordan could proceed to completion without having to “consult” Hamas, that is, without giving to Hamas a veto power, and let this process begin with the West Bank first.

Note: The above are excerpts from my book, published in English, Spanish and Hebrew editions. The book is available at Amazon, but it can be read and downloaded for free. Here come the links for the free download of the book:

Hebrew edition:

Spanish edition:

English edition (recommended outside the US):

English edition (recommended for the US):

On a light note: Congratulations on the wedding of Al Hussein bin Abdullah, Crown Prince of Jordan, and Rajwa Al Saif, architect (Syracuse University School of Architecture), daughter of a Saudi businessman, and family-related to Saudi’s royal family. This union might help …

It is time to move on.

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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