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Tuesday, June 25, 2002

Bush and Israel-Dubya's Middle-East policy address nailed things fairly well, requiring a new generation of Palestinian leaders before any peace is possible. The good news is that Yasser has been declared persona non grata by this speech. The bad news is that the idea of a peaceful, democratic Palestinian state is a tad goo-goo and downright Wilsonian. This isn’t too satisfying, but what good alternatives do we have in the long run? Here are six possible scenarios for a long-term situation in the West Bank and Gaza
(1) An Israeli colony-no political rights to the residents-The pre-Oslo situation
I don't think Israel has the stomach to be an occupying empire over the long haul. Some alternative solution needs to be created.
(2) Annexation into Israel with full rights to residents
That would be suicidal, as Arabs would quickly be a majority in the merged territory. When combined with the Arabs inside Israel proper, the new Israel would be about 40% Arab.
(3) Israeli ethnic cleansing-Annexation by eviction of non-Jewish residents
It might come to this, but its not an option too many people would be interested in. World War III, anyone?
(4) Jordanian control
That might work, except that this would radicalize Jordanian politics (the population of Jordan proper is majority Palestinian) and lead to a larger Palestinian state and the overthrow of the Hashemites. Do we want an anti-western Arab tyrant running Jordan proper, the West Bank and Gaza?
(5) UN protectorate
Sorry! Wrong answer! Bad nightmares of Bosnia.
(6) Independent state in some form
We may have to go back to option 1 for a while until an alternative Palestinian leadership can be nurtured, but I think some sort of disarmed independence, possible with US supervision, is the best option 5 to 20 years down the line.

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