Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity
Posted at 11:10 AM ET, 11/18/2010

Expert suggests sovereignty for Gaza as talks stall

By Glenn Kessler

With Israeli-Palestinian peace talks mired in stalemate, someone has come up with a truly provocative idea: Give Gaza sovereignty.

Gaza, of course, is the Palestinian enclave now run by Hamas, which the United States considers a terrorist group. It is the subject of an Israeli quarantine and been largely forgotten as the Obama administration presses ahead with a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, which controls the West Bank.

But Geoffrey Aronson, director of research and publications at the Foundation for Middle East Peace in Washington -- and an expert on settlement growth on the West Bank -- recently published a paper arguing for the concept. Even more surprising, he cites an Israeli news report as suggesting that Israel's Foreign Ministry has produced a confidential plan expressing interest in the idea.

"A 'sovereignty in Gaza first' scenario is anathema to almost all the major diplomatic players, but increasingly less so for Israel and Hamas," Aronson writes. He says Israel would be able to extricate itself from being viewed as the "occupier" of Gaza -- Jerusalem's goal when it departed Gaza in 2004 -- while Hamas would get its own state.

Already, Aronson notes, Gaza has attributes of a state that the West Bank Palestinians appear to be years away from negotiating with Israel.

"Gaza's Hamas leadership, for all of its travails and shortcomings, exercises attributes of sovereignty that leaders in the West Bank can only dream about," Aronson writes. "Gaza enjoys territorial contiguity and travel within the enclave unobstructed by settlers or IDF [Israel Defense Forces] checkpoints. Palestinian soldiers and police exercise a monopoly of force over territory they control. For the first time in modern Palestinian history a nascent Palestinian army exists, featuring a unified system of command and control, deployed in its own territory, and able to survive a punishing Israeli assault and incursion."

Aronson recommends that the international community push for a deal, using a series of benchmarks, that would allow for Gaza to be opened up to trade and travel links in exchange for Israel being relieved of "residual humanitarian responsibilities for Gaza's population" and the stigma of being labeled "occupying power."

Of course, this idea is certain to draw strong pushback from the United States and other diplomatic players. Diplomats would likely argue it would appear to legitimize Hamas, as well as the group's assertion that fighting Israel is the path to statehood, not negotiations. Another argument against the idea: It could risk weakening the leadership of the Palestinian Authority.

Still, this is the Middle East, where alliances shift as quickly as the desert sands and stranger things have happened.

By Glenn Kessler  | November 18, 2010; 11:10 AM ET
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Catnip for policy wonks: Clinton's QDDR
Next: Fried turkey in Afghanistan? Mission accomplished


Sovereignty for all of Palestine NOW!

Posted by: Thoughtful-Ted | November 18, 2010 12:05 PM | Report abuse

And next maybe al shabab could be recognized as the government of Somalia.
What an insane concept.
Money, weapons and jihadis would instantly flood Gaza to further hamas' prime directive of destroying Israel.
Surely this story is from

Posted by: spamsux1 | November 18, 2010 1:51 PM | Report abuse

What, is November the 18th the new April 1rst?

Posted by: lenagabe1 | November 18, 2010 2:32 PM | Report abuse

The Gaza Strip has as many qualifications to be a sovereign nation as Haiti. That is --- none.

Posted by: Curmudgeon10 | November 18, 2010 2:45 PM | Report abuse

This works for me. Then, Hamas being Hamas, when they are unable to help themselves any longer and start launching Qassam rockets into Israel, Israel would be justified in firebombing all of Gaza.

Until then, I will continue to wipe my rear end with pages torn from the Koran.

Posted by: JoStalin | November 18, 2010 3:35 PM | Report abuse

Would this plan give Gaza full sovereignty, including no Israeli limits on armed forces, full recognition by the UN, full control over its borders and airspace, full control over its international relations?

If so, it might work. But then it would tell the Palestinians in the West Bank that the more militant policies of Hamas work. Would Israel accept this?

@JoStalin: I will wipe by posterior with pages from the Old Testament, especially the parts about Jews having a god-given right to commit genocide on goys.

Posted by: Garak | November 18, 2010 5:04 PM | Report abuse

Must be a slow news day

Posted by: ShowMeTheRealMoney | November 18, 2010 5:09 PM | Report abuse

An independent Gaza as a State for Palestinians is an outrageous scheme by the enemies of united Palestinian people . The current right wing extremist prime minister and majority of hard liners in Israel , who did not accept the two State solution in principle , how would accept Gaza as another State ? A Palestinian State side by side an Israeli State will never work , with Israelis demands , the Palestinian state(s)would be dysfunctional at best . The Palestinians and the Arabs in the Middle East know it . The Israel because of their overwhelming military power and unwavering support from the U. S., have and will continue their strategy to delay any resolution of the Palestine State issue on one or another pretext . The Palestinian people have a principled claim on the lands . After having waited for 62 years , would like to continue waiting for the ground realities and numbers to change in their favor . Also at this time any rush for a peace settlement with Israel would jeopardize moral and historical strengths of the Arabs . The struggle has been to establish a united Palestine State of the West Bank and Gaza , with Jerusalem as capital of Palestine . A peace accord between Israel and Palestine has to be acceptable to most of the Arabs and Muslim countries . It should not be acceptable to serve Obama administration's political need at this time i. e., to energize both the President's domestic base , and meet the Arab Middle East and Muslim countries' leaders cry for peace .

Posted by: dmfarooq | November 23, 2010 4:48 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company