Palestine-Israel: the East Timor model?

As a sort of stop-gap compromise between the two-state solution and a permanent international protectorate, Prof. Dan Jacobson wrote this several months ago in the Palestine-Israel Journal of Politics, Economics and Culture:

…given the fundamental weakness of both the Israeli leadership and the Palestinian governing institutions… reputable observers of the Middle East scene are renewing their call for trusteeship-like solutions… Accordingly, the West Bank to begin with, and at a later stage Gaza, is to be held in trust for the Palestinians for a pre-determined transitional period, while the trustees work with responsible Palestinian partners to create the institutions of a viable, independent state. As in East Timor [halewi’s link], a UN Security Council-endorsed international force will replace the Israeli army in the occupied territories. The force will be responsible for maintaining order, preventing terror attacks against Israeli targets and rebuilding Palestinian security forces. According to expert projections it will have to consist of at least 10,000 troops, led by special forces and supplemented by civil police contingents (CivPol). U.S. or NATO leadership of the force is usually seen as a requirement for its success. European participation may provide a much-needed perception of impartiality to the effort. Arab and Muslim participation in the force would provide legitimacy, particularly if units from countries with open channels to both Israelis and Palestinians are included, such as Egypt, Jordan, Turkey, Morocco and the Gulf States, under a consensual Arab League umbrella. Arab participation in the multinational force is of the utmost importance, in order to prevent its being construed as yet another neo-colonialist exercise in the region.

via Palestine – Israel Journal of Politics, Economics and Culture.

Although this wouldn’t necessarily solve the problem of Israeli settlements, water use, other shared resources, demographic pressures, justice for ‘Israeli Arabs’, etc., it’s certainly a laudable vision.

Apropo, i was heartened  to be at a small-scale campus dialogue on Gaza last evening, where a number of Israeli grad students were in essence calling for just this sort of thing. Maybe it’s time, one said, to simply bring in international forces. We need help.

A silver lining, perhaps, in the otherwise horrific human tragedy that is Gaza (?)

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