Heritage Florida Jewish News - Central Florida's Independent Jewish Voice

By Ira Sharansky
Letter from Israel 

A three-state solution?

 

August 31, 2018



It appears that the split between Gaza and the West Bank is serious. There’s a line of culture between us and them that keeps us from knowing what’s occurring. We do know that the Fatah of Mahmoud Abbas is out of touch with the Hamas that controls Gaza. We don’t know more, but there’s speculation that it is or isn’t a matter of Abbas’ stubbornness. He’s in his mid-80s, and ill, and there are several competitors for his job. One or more may have connections with Gaza.

Hamas appears to be dominant in Gaza. Its competitors include several groups even more radical; and there are lots of Gazans who seem primarily concerned with earning a living.

So, at least for the time being, it appears that Gaza and the West Bank have been apart for long enough to develop their own inner cement. Qatar has stepped up to provide the money seeded to pay for what’s imported to Gaza from Israel. There are two claimants on Palestine.

We’re a long way from Israel recognizing any claimant. But given that there are two of them, it appears as wise to bet on three states rather than two in this little cluster.

For the time being, things will remain pretty much as they are. Israelis will quarrel about the return of two bodies and two live prisoners, without dealing with the Hamas demand that prisoners released in exchange for Gilad Shalit and captured again be released. There are also issues involved in the expectation of a Gazan port in Cyprus, with Israeli inspection of what passes through, and lots of details to be dealt with over an improvement of conditions in Gaza.

Commentators are wondering if the overall deal will hold together. At the least, there will be demands by Gazan extremists to realize their feelings against Israel. And probably pressures from whoever gains control in the West Bank to unite with Gaza, along with efforts of Hamas to improve its situation in the West Bank.

Not far away are the aspirations of Donald Trump and whatever plans there are to announce and implement his favored solution for Palestine and Israel.

Chances are that Gaza will save Israel from having to accept any kind of solution for Palestine, while Abbas dithers in the West Bank, and Egypt plus Qatar do what they can to keep Gaza peaceful.

Yet another issue capable of affecting a three-state solution is whatever happens to Israel’s First Family. Currently the police are said to have finished with their inquiries into Bibi’s roles in Cases #1, #2, and #4, and are about to summarize their findings. They are concerned with his receiving goodies from rich supporters, his effort to moderate the coverage received from Yedioth Aharonoth, and manipulations involving Israel’s telephone company. The police summaries will take a few months. And somewhere in the planning is an indictment against Sara. We’re told that’ll come down after the holidays.

After the police present their conclusions about Bibi, the prosecutor will take some months to review the material. That may bring us into 2019, and whatever happens in an election.

Few are expecting the present deal with Gaza to last that long. But for the time being, that is what we may have. However, Israel closed one of its border crossings due to organized protests by Gazans. Whether this is a continuing problem, or more simply a hitch in arrangements, is not clear.

We’re hearing of one group in Gaza not happy with what seems to be the deal with Israel, and that the cluster around Hamas won’t be deciding until after the Muslim holiday that occurs over four days in the middle of this week.

Then are our holidays, beginning in the second week of September and lasting for the better part of a month.

There remain problems among Israelis as well as among Palestinians. There are those who demand a more aggressive stance with respect to Gaza, as well as those willing to go along with the government’s efforts to arrange something of a deal. And unknown numbers who don’t know, and probably don’t care.

Comments welcome. irashark@gmail.com.

 

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