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Palestine - Jordan/West Bank bi-national state under discussion

By David Singer - posted Tuesday, 16 July 2013


Israeli and Palestinian negotiators have been discussing the creation of a bi- national State in the West Bank and Jordan according to Professor Richard Falk - United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian Territories occupied since 1967.

Professor Falk is revered by the Palestinians whilst simultaneously being targeted by many others - including United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay - for his controversial views on a range of matters including his suggestion that the Boston marathon bombing was a justifiable response to America's interventionist US foreign policy and his posting of an anti-Semitic cartoon on his web site.

Writing in his blog "Citizen Pilgrimage" - Professor Falk disclosed discussions were taking place on a bi-national State during an exchange he and I were having - after he had written:

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I do agree with you about the 'two state' solution being a dead letter, and rather bad faith on all sides to pretend otherwise.

The question seems to me to be "What Next?" I think the Jordanian option is one answer, but not one I endorse. There is a need for this discussion, I agree to this extent.

I then sent Professor Falk a recent article written by me arguing for the creation of a bi-national state in Jordan and the West Bank to embrace the aspirations of the Arab populations of both territories.

Professor Falk's response on 8 July was unexpected and very encouraging:

I have read your article with care, and it does provide a clear alternative to the two-state solution. It is also an approach that I know from my diplomatic contacts is being encouraged by Israeli negotiators in private meetings with the Palestinian Authority, and toward which the PA has not expressed outright rejection, but apparently a willingness to consider.

Whilst expressing that he had several problems with this solution - which he enumerated - Professor Falk continued:

Given the paucity of decent alternatives, if the legitimate representatives of the Palestinian people genuinely accepted such a solution without it being imposed, it might be better than nothing, and the best among bad options.

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I addressed Professor Falk's concerns to which he made the following response:

Without attempting to respond point by point because there are some underlying gaps separating our positions that cannot be bridged byreasoning or compromise, I will merely express my reservations about advocating a resumption of negotiations

Two of Professor Falk's reservations were:

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About the Author

David Singer is an Australian Lawyer, a Foundation Member of the International Analyst Network and Convenor of Jordan is Palestine International - an organisation calling for sovereignty of the West Bank and Gaza to be allocated between Israel and Jordan as the two successor States to the Mandate for Palestine. Previous articles written by him can be found at www.jordanispalestine.blogspot.com.

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