Sunday, October 08, 2023

A Three-State Solution for Gaza, Israel, and the West Bank: Keeping Jerusalem Whole


The Israeli-Palestinian conflict, stretching over seven decades, has seen multiple peace initiatives and solutions proposed, with the two-state solution being the most prominent. However, with evolving ground realities and challenges, it's time to reassess and propose a more viable solution. A three-state solution involving Israel, Gaza, and the West Bank with Israel retaining undivided control of Jerusalem offers a potential pathway to lasting peace.

The Case for a Three-State Solution

1. Historical Precedence: Historically, the West Bank was controlled by Jordan, and Gaza by Egypt before the 1967 Six-Day War. Returning to a configuration where Gaza and the West Bank are separate entities can capitalize on historical ties, enabling each region to develop in a way that's most consistent with its heritage and socio-political inclinations.

2. Different Governance and Politics: Over the years, political divergence has grown between the West Bank, led by the Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority, and Gaza, controlled by Hamas. By allowing each region its own state, this solution addresses the distinct governance styles and political aspirations of each territory.

3. Economic Development: Separate states can pursue economic strategies that suit their unique strengths and challenges. For instance, Gaza, with its Mediterranean coastline, could focus on maritime trade and tourism, while the West Bank might emphasize agriculture, trade, and technology.

4. Security Dynamics: A distinct separation between Gaza and the West Bank could lead to clearer security arrangements, with Israel working out different protocols with each entity based on their specific security situations and needs.

Jerusalem: An Undivided Capital

A significant hurdle in peace negotiations has always been the status of Jerusalem. Here’s why it's essential for Jerusalem to remain whole under Israeli control:

1. Religious Significance: Jerusalem, particularly the Old City, holds religious importance for Jews, Christians, and Muslims alike. Under Israeli control, there has been a demonstrated commitment to maintaining religious freedom for all.

2. Security Concerns: Dividing Jerusalem would introduce complex security challenges. Keeping it whole under a single administrative authority ensures better security coordination and responsiveness.

3. Administrative Efficiency: Dividing Jerusalem could lead to intricate administrative challenges, including infrastructure, transportation, and service provision. Keeping the city undivided ensures more efficient governance.

4. International Oversight: Israel could ensure international participation in overseeing religious sites to assuage concerns of bias. This would reinforce the idea of Jerusalem as a city for all religions.


A three-state solution, while divergent from previous proposals, offers a fresh perspective that might just be the key to unlocking lasting peace in the region. By recognizing the distinct identities and aspirations of Gaza and the West Bank, and acknowledging the complexities around Jerusalem, this solution has the potential to lay down a roadmap that leads to coexistence and prosperity. As with any peace initiative, the willingness of all parties to compromise and engage in genuine dialogue will be crucial. It's high time to explore new paradigms for a conflict that has lasted far too long.

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