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Commentary :: Human Rights : International : Politics
Two “Palestinian States” à la Sharon
10 Dec 2004
All the talk about “disengagement” has masked more than it has revealed. That becomes clear from emerging revelations on the implementation of Sharon’s plan to establish two “closed areas”; the Gaza Strip and the northern half of the West Bank, which will be cut off from each other, severed from Jerusalem and from the southern half of the West Bank.
Sharon’s diversion maneuver, known as the “disengagement plan,” has proved more successful than ever initially imagined. Sharon gained the support of the Knesset for his plan, the details of which were coordinated right from the word go with the Bush White House, it has beguiled leaders of the so-called Israeli “left” (Labor and Meretz-Yahad parties). And has also gained the praise of heads of state in Europe.

But what precisely is that “disengagement plan”? What does it really lead to? Writing in an article in the Israeli daily Yediot Aharanot on Dec. 3 entitled “The Partition Plan,” Alex Fishman notes that while public attention is concentrated on the “disengagement plan,” the Sharon government has already consolidated a blueprint to cut off the north of the Occupied Territories from the south. The intention is that the north, Shomron or Samaria, will, in the formula of the Israeli establishment, become a “closed box.”

Fishman: “The closed box is almost ready. The Separation Fence, near the Green Line, the western border of Samaria, is almost finished. And in the north it is already complete. On the east lies the Jordan Valley, while the southern border of this closed territorial box that will be handed over to the Palestinians runs parallel to the Trans-Samaria Highway [running from Metropolitan Tel Aviv and connecting with Jewish settlements in so-called West Samaria and the Jordan Valley]. The plan is to create a series of fixed and well ordered border crossings meshed with checkpoints which, after withdrawal of the Israeli army, will monitor all civilian traffic moving from northern Samaria southward.

This is the picture that will emerge immediately after disengagement: there will be two large ‘independent’ blocs of land in the hands of the Palestinian Authority and ‘empty’ of Israelis: Gaza and Samaria. In them, Israel will have the authority to exercise careful security surveillance, because both these territorial boxes will be closed on all sides, with Israeli-controlled border crossings and carefully monitored points for handling commercial traffic. The freedom of movement of the army to enter these areas to carry out military operations against ‘terror’ will apparently remain unaffected.”

The Sharon plan, which will be implemented under the screen of ‘disengagement,’ is designed to mince & crush the territory of the future Palestinian state. Or to put it more precisely: to prevent the establishment of an independent Palestinian state on territories conquered by Israel in the 1967 war.

Important to consider is the fact that these two areas, northern Samaria and Gaza, are already surrounded by walls and fences, so that this will be a border impossible for Palestinian inhabitants to cross. The Israeli military administration will operate ‘border crossings’ for commercial transport. A small number of Palestinians the Israeli military ‘permits’ to cross will also be able to exit the sealed boxes there. Fishman emphasizes that the Israeli army will retain full freedom of movement to enter these two closed areas and carry out military operations as deemed fit.

It is important to stress that these two Bantustans will be cut off from East Jerusalem – the economic, political, religious and social core of the Palestinians -- and will be severed from all the territory south of the Trans-Samaria Highway, where the majority of the large Israeli settlements, such as Ariel and Emanuel, are located. These settlements will in effect (and not just in effect) be annexed to Israel.

The Sharon plan to establish two Palestinian ‘states’ – the ‘state of the Gaza Strip’ and the ‘state of the northern West Bank’ – teaches us how mistaken we were to scoff at Sharon’s statement that he was working for the establishment of a Palestinian state. It turns out he is far more generous: he intends, with his own hands, to create not just one Palestinian state but two!

But what is the real significance of the Sharon plan for Gaza and the northern West Bank? It is that the Occupation will continue, that there will be no Israeli-Palestinian peace. And thus no mutual security for the two peoples. And the bloodshed will know no end. The aim of the Sharon plan is the establishment of two ‘protectorates,’ similar to those established by the apartheid regime in South Africa – in order to prevent the only possible solution: a Palestinian state side by side with Israel on all the territories occupied since 1967.


* Translation from Zo Ha-derekh, weekly of the Israeli Jewish-Arab party Hadash / Jebha, editorial, Dec. 8, 2004

[Translator’s note: the original article in Hebrew is at, 8 Dec. 2004; for maps of the area & analysis, see ; a concrete idea of what powerful material incentives have attracted Israeli settlers from nearby Metropolitan Tel Aviv to West Shomron colonies like Emanuel, between Ariel to its south and Kedumim to its north, can be gained from ; info on Hadash / Jebha, the Democratic Front for Peace and Equality, at ; an interview with Prof. Ilan Pappe, historian affiliated with Hadash and advocate of the de-Zionization of Israel and the possibility of a single, binational state, can be found at ]

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