Some members of Israel's leadership, including cabinet ministers, Knesset members and defense and policy advisers, have recently come to resemble those children who solve their problems by daydreaming. When they say that the Hamas takeover of the Gaza Strip has opened a rare window of opportunity, they are also laying out the next solution to the Palestinian problem: hand over responsibility for Gaza to Egypt. There are even some who propose granting Jordan an official role in the West Bank.
There are variations on this theme. Some propose that Israel renounce any responsibility for what is going on in Gaza and leave the Egyptians to handle it (Avi Dichter and Rafi Eitan). Some argue that it is best to do this gradually, but also firmly (Effie Eitam). Some assert that following Hamas's takeover of the strip, Egypt should serve as Gaza's lifeline, and therefore, Israel should not hesitate to stop providing the essential services that it now provides to Gaza residents (Aryeh Eldad). All are basing their recommendations on the assumption that it is in Egypt's interest to intervene in what is now taking place in the strip, because the rise of Hamas threatens it, too.
The weakness of all these insights is that they originate in dreams. The Egyptians are not impressed by the Israeli proposals. They even oppose the deployment of a multinational force along the Gaza-Egypt border, and there are no signs that they are in a rush to become involved in the Gazan quagmire. At least for now, the wedding Israel is planning has neither bride nor groom.
This is also true of the proposal to link the West Bank with Jordan: Once again, thoughts of a federation between the two, or a confederation with Israel, are in the air. Once again, the historic background is being cited and the common demographic denominator is being mentioned. Israel, under strain, is seeking salvation via formulas from the world of miracles. But King Abdullah has his own anxieties, and he is dealing with them in a realistic way. He remembers that his father chose to detach the Hashemite Kingdom from the West Bank, and he would prefer to curtail Palestinian influence over the life of his country as much as possible. He also cannot rid himself of the impression that some in Israel think Jordan should be the Palestinian state, and this awareness supersedes the threat inherent in the possibility that Hamas might someday win in the West Bank as well - which could have negative ramifications for his kingdom.
Such flights of fancy by key figures in Israel's leadership are not limited to the last few days; this is a syndrome that repeats itself. In 2004, then chief of staff Moshe Ya'alon and Major General (res.) Giora Eiland opined that the way to resolve the conflict with the Palestinians was to establish a state comprised principally of the Gaza Strip and parts of the Negev and Sinai. Jordan would also have to contribute part of its territory to a regional solution, based on a round-robin of territorial deals that would include four states. The idea was based on a proposal by a Jerusalem-based geographer, Professor Yehoshua Ben-Arieh, and was supported by some right-wing MKs, led by Effie Eitam. This recipe is appealing to Israel, but unfortunately, it was thought up without considering the stances of the Palestinians, Egypt and Jordan. The minute it became known, the Arab partners made it clear that there was nothing to talk about.
Anna Freud concluded that among adults, seeking satisfaction through imagination indicates a serious psychological disorder.
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