Enough With Partition

From the moment the partition idea was rejected by the Arab side, it had no further binding validity for the Jewish side.

A few weeks ago, on November 29, the anniversary was marked of the United Nations General Assembly's 1947 decision to partition the western part of the Land of Israel into two states, one Jewish and the other Arab (not Palestinian). The decision was joyously received by the Jewish community here as it came only a short time after the Holocaust. Also, refugees, survivors of the Holocaust, were seeking admission to the country, from which they were being cruelly expelled by the British occupiers.

At the same time, the partition plan was rejected out of hand by the Arab side, both by the Arabs of the Land of Israel, who immediately initiated a war throughout the country, and by the neighboring Arab countries, who invaded the state that was established about six months later with the intention of leaving the whole Land of Israel in the Arabs' hands.

The Arab conquerors' success was limited. The Egyptians captured the Gaza district, which, as a result of its shape, was called the Strip. The Jordanians captured Judea and Samaria, and from their vantage point in their capital Amman, called this land the West Bank. The Egyptian occupiers never annexed the Strip. The Jordanian occupiers did carry out an annexation, but it was only recognized by Britain and Pakistan. The Six-Day War removed these occupiers from the western Land of Israel.

It is possible to understand the joy in 1947, two years after the Holocaust ended, over the international decision to establish a Jewish state in the Land of Israel that would take in Holocaust refugees. It is much harder to understand why Israel still reveres partition despite the Arab rejection of it then and since. Arab rejection and accumulated experience should remove the concept of partition from consideration and give rise to thoughts in other directions.

In all negotiations in any field of endeavor, an offer rejected by the other side ceases to be the basis of further reference. From the moment the partition idea was rejected by the Arab side, it had no further binding validity for the Jewish side; in addition, everything derived from it has failed. No partition plans around the world have succeeded, beginning in the 1930s. Most failed amid bloodbaths on both sides. All these failures have proved that partition is not a solution for Israel, if there is a solution at all. The continued attempts in this direction spell further bloodshed.

The whole Land of Israel was already partitioned by Winston Churchill in the 1920s when he severed Transjordan from the territory of the Jewish national home. That partition was recognized by Israel with the peace treaty with Jordan. The western Land of Israel is one geopolitical unit, and its partition is not possible. Those who really want peace and not a transfer of one or another population must switch course and not return to the path that has been tried and failed. The so-called solution involving two states is nothing more than lies and deception.

The solution that has not yet been tried involves a regional solution that does not include expulsion or a halt to the normal life of a single person (even if that person is Jewish), but rather a distinction among geography, demography and democracy. Citizenship and voting by the Arabs of the western Land of Israel should be linked to the legislatures of the neighboring countries, especially Jordan, which is the Palestinian state that already exists. And they should also have self-government concerning municipal affairs. International funds should be directed to the East Bank rather than the West Bank.

This proposal is not simple and a reaction can be expected along the lines of "What if they don't agree?" But the time came long ago to also ask: "What if the Jews don't agree?" The so-called two-state solution means another war. The conclusion, therefore, is enough with partition.

The writer was chairman of Professors for a Strong Israel from 2001 to 2005.