In the past weeks, as President Obama repeatedly ignored Palestinian Arab refusal to negotiate with Israel, he proposed a seemingly well thought out formula for reviving negotiations. As usual Obama clearly avoids blaming the Arabs, while at the same time Obama demands of Israel to agree to a high-risk territorial compromise without simultaneously making it crystal clear that there will be no 'right of return' for Palestinian Arab refugees. This being the case, its no surprise that the idea of a two state solution seems not only detached from reality but reminds most of us of Arafat's' staged plan for Israel’s destruction. In recent years many of the "givens" that we have been taught to believe are true have been exposed to be entirely based on wishful thinking and anti-Israel agendas. The Gaza disengagement proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that the idea of "land for piece" is deceiving and unfounded; we gave land we got missiles, thousands of them. Now after Obama's demand that Israel withdraw to "suicide borders" while agreeing that the 'right of return' for Palestinian Arab refugees remain on the negotiating table, it proves once and for all that the idea of a two-state solution like "land for piece" is simply another deceptive idea proven false.
The idea of a "right of return" is as we all know unique to the conflict of the Middle East; expectedly, no other people in the world other than the Palestinian Arabs have been awarded the "right to return." Keeping in mind that hundreds of thousands of Arabs who came to Israel from all over the Middle East prior to the 1948 war and had lived here for even a year are demanding the "right of return". These Arabs were foreign workers in Palestine before 1948 with no prior residential status. Many of them till today carry names like "El Iraqi" ("from Iraq") or El Masri ("from Egypt") or "El Hourani" ("from the Houran, Syria"), which testify that they are originally not from Palestine but that they came from: Iraq, Egypt, and Syria. Today, they don't want to return to those places. They would rather live in Israel - a democratic state that honors human rights, religious freedom, and a robust free economy. Why go back to Syria when they shoot you in the street for whistling, while in Israel, a Palestinian Arab's complaint of being detained for 5 minutes at a security checkpoint is considered a major violation of international law. So if we imagine a future Palestinian Arab state that forcibly integrates competing clans and tribes, what are we really talking about? Those of us who live in Israel know that Arabs who live in Hebron, Jericho and Shechem, never ever even intermarry. If they will be incorporated into one Palestinian Arab state we'll have another Arab state in perpetual conflict with itself blaming Israel for all of their internal problems. The idea of the Eight State Solution, that is to give one state to the people in Jericho, one to the tribe of Nabulus (Shechem), one to Ramallah, one to the Arab part of Hebron, and so forth. Gaza is already a state of its own. The Eight State Solution Israel will prevent the hills of Judea and Samaria from becoming a Hizbullahstan or Hamastan
Dr. Mordechai Kedar, a senior researcher at the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies at Bar Ilan University, the author of the Eight State Solution has based this concept on a sociological and historical analysis of Arab tribes and the consequent concept of Arab tribal city-states. Dr. Kedar proposes the creation of no less than eight independent and separate Arab city-states within the West Bank, in addition to Gaza. Of course, Israel would comprise the ninth. He writes:
“There is no reason to assume that a Palestinian state will not become another failing Arab state, due to the fragmented society in the West Bank and Gaza, tribalism and lack of awareness of nationhood as demonstrated by the failing performance of the Palestinian authority since its establishment in 1994…Social stability is the key for political stability…the only successful model for an Arab state is the one which is based on a single consolidated traditional group such as each of the individual Arab Gulf Emirates.”
There is much logic in what Dr.Kedar describes about Arab societies. The Arab Middle East has always been composed of many tribes, religions, sects, and ethnic groups, all at war with each other and with their government. The colonial imposition of a central, western-style nation-state based on arbitrarily drawn border demarcations has not served the interests of the many indigenous people but rather the interests of dictators and corporate interests.
Thus, according to Dr. Kedar, there is essentially one tribe that “governs” in Ramallah, another tribe entirely which does so in Nablus, yet another which presides over Jenin, etc. A small city-state might be able to become productive and join a confederation of similar city-states. After all, size alone does not determine the success or failure of a state. For example, Monaco, Lichtenstein, and Luxembourg are small states with a high quality of life, while Algeria, Libya, and Sudan are large states with poor quality of life. According to Dr. Kedar:
“The towns that will receive independence (from both the Palestinian Authority and Israel) are Hebron (the Arab part), Jericho, Ramallah, Nablus, Jenin, Tul-karem and Qalqilya…Bethlehem will require further consideration.”
The Eight State Solution can be a practical solution for the Palestinian Arab leadership who are unable and unwilling to accept Israel's right to exist. Israel has extended out her hand for peace many times yet a real peace process is far from sight. As long as the Palestinian Arabs desire to replace us, rather than to live alongside us, we should adopt the Eight State Solution as the only solution possible in the coming years.