Head of Right-wing Think Tank: Settlements Must Be Evacuated

Prof. Efraim Inbar calls for repartition of Israel, with Egypt resuming control of the Gaza Strip.

In light of the failure of efforts to realize the two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian issue and the unlikelihood of creating a binational state, the most effective way to deal with the conflict is through a "controlled management" of the problem that includes the evacuation of isolated West Bank settlements. This, according to the director of the Begin-Sadat (BESA) Center for Strategic Studies at Bar-Ilan University, Prof. Efraim Inbar.

His latest study, "The Rise and Fall of the 'Two States for Two Peoples' Paradigm," whose publication coincides with the new eras in Washington and Jerusalem, Inbar writes that the best solution would be to repartition the country, with Egypt resuming control of the Gaza Strip and Jordan controlling the West Bank. But since such an arrangement would take time to implement, for now focus should be placed on managing the conflict in its current state. Inbar also proposes "stopping terror, reducing the amount of suffering caused to Israeli and to Palestinian society and preventing escalation."

These views provoke interest because BESA, which was founded about 15 years ago, is traditionally known as a mainly right-wing institution that generally reflects pro-military views.

According to Inbar, Israel will have to evacuate additional isolated settlements to reduce the friction between Jews and Palestinians as well as showing restraint in the use of force. He said that beyond making changes to its education system and its media in order to create a more positive atmosphere, little can be expected from the Palestinian Authority. Inbar says that correct management of the conflict, which must be carefully coordinated with Washington, will help to isolate Hamas.

Inbar says that the two-state solution to which the international community is currently committed is "nonsense" in the light of Hamas' takeover in Gaza and the impotence of the PA in the West Bank. He believes that the expectation that the Palestinians will create a modern state, after the PA's failure, are unreasonable. At the same time, Inbar is aware of the difficulty involved in letting go of the two-state idea among both governments and people throughout the world.