Summary Present research paper, based on the analysis of secondary sources on history of Palestinian state formation and Israeli-Arab relations and primary interviews, defends the thesis that the creation of independent Palestinian state has no alternative for Palestinian people. As the interview questionnaire created within the scope of this research suggests, the majority of Palestinians support the framework of independent Palestinian state based on democratic principles and peaceful cooperation between Israel and Palestine.
Israeli respondents have more cautious attitudes towards such process. Echoing the position of Israeli authorities, they argue that security interests of Israel should be in the first place defended through maintaining military presence and border control of Palestinian territories. Israeli support of the vision of Palestinian state as self-administering entity without full-fledged sovereign rights.
As the present analysis suggests, the formation of independent Palestinian state is crucial in fostering economic and social development, as well as for preventing humanitarian crises, like one witnessed in Gaza and caused by Israeli security policies in the region. The formation of Palestine state should be based on two-state solution; however, Palestine authorities should have all controls over economic policies, borders, military forces and foreign policy.
Other characteristics of sovereign state should also be in place to guarantee the effective transformation process. Moreover, state formation framework should be realized through active participation of all international brokers including the USA, Russia, Great Britain, France and major Arab countries of the region. Introduction Present research paper discusses the issues of the establishment of Palestinian state that was one of the most crucial political problems in international relations since the formation of Israel.
Israeli-Palestinian conflicts have a long history in the region with wide-ranging negative implications for stability and development of Palestinian territories, as well as mutual understanding between Israel and Arab states, such as Lebanon, Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Iran etc (Tessler, 1994). While the formation of independent Palestinian state was stipulated by international agreements within UN, Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories since Six-Day War of 1967 of West Bank, Gaza strip and East Jerusalem had prevented the formation of peaceful dialogue between Palestinian and Israeli authorities.
Constant breaks in peace process were fostered by radicalization of Palestinian organizations and movements, such as Hamas and correspondingly Israeli militarist stance on the resolution of Palestinian issue. Israeli policies, directed at seizing Palestinian territories through construction of new houses, settling Israeli citizens and strengthening security control over Palestinian territories were reasonably regarded by militant Palestinians as the direct assault and neglect of their rights and interests (Friedland and Hecht, 91).
Israeli policies of Gaza isolation, economic and administrative blockade, legitimized by flawed security measures, were also widely considered by international community as excessive measures, resulting in Gaza humanitarian intervention and crisis. Such policies correspondingly resulted in the leading role of Hamas movement and lack of legitimacy for pro-Western Abbas West Bank leadership. Palestinian militancy and use of terrorism as a means of struggle, including 2000 Intifadas also prevented the development of constructive Israeli-Palestine framework necessary for the creation of independent Palestinian state.
Based on research of Israeli-Palestinian relations present research paper defends the thesis that the formation of Palestinian state is urgently needed to guarantee Israeli’s compliance with international law and basic UN resolutions, which established the State of Israeli. The formation of independent Palestinian state should be based on de-linking Palestinian territories economy, tax system, administration, security from the jurisdiction of Israeli and pushing them towards autonomous development.
Moreover, the establishment of Palestinian state should be based on the stop of Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories and unlawful isolation and security control of Gaza strip (Kovel, 21). The Israeli illegal settlements on Palestinian territories should be abandoned and based on international arbitrage, including USA, France, England and Russia the regulation of final borders and delimitations should be agreed on. In their turn Palestinian authorities should refuse from terrorist methods of struggle and engage in peaceful framework of conflict resolution.
In our view, hence, the formation of Palestinian state is not an error, but an urgent need of Palestinian people, protected by UN resolutions, morality and historical process. However, this process should not be prevented by Israeli authorities, who are likely to regard Palestinian territories as a dangerous neighbor. In what follows present research paper discusses the background of Israeli-Palestinian relations, previous frameworks and approaches to the formation of Palestinian state and future prospects and opportunities.
Background of Palestinian state formation in the context of Israeli-Palestinian relations However the proclaimed State of Palestine is recognized by over of 100 countries its territories are still occupied by Israeli military, isolated by cordons and security forces, which prevents them from autonomous economic and humanitarian development (IMEU, 2010). The struggle for Palestinian state by Arab population became evident already during the period of British Mandate after the WW1. British declared their support for the Jewish project of creating their national home in Palestine.
The political support for Jewish immigration, promoted by British government and Jewish immigration was considered by Arabs to be the directed infringement on their rights (Kovel, 21). However, in that period the first proposals of Arab Palestinian state were made by British in exchange for Arab support against Turks and other British enemies in the regions. Different approaches to resolution of conflicts between Jews and Arabs were found in that period, including the creation of 1. uni-ethnic Arab state of Palestine; 2. creation of Jewish state with or without substantial Arab population. 3. creation of the single bi-national state.
4. or one Arab and one bi-national. 5. Arab-Jewish Federation etc. (Friedland and Hecht, 1996). Another option was realized in the framework of Faisal-Weizmann Agreement that presupposed the inclusion of Palestine into pan-Arab state. However, such prospects were dashed with Lebanon, Jordan and Syria declaring their independence soon. The impossibility of these options was supplemented by rising Jewish immigration and land acquisition in Palestine, which was opposed by Arab population. These developments resulted in Great Britain enforcing restrictions on Jewish immigration known as White Papers.
However, continuing British sympathies to Jewish resulted in Arab revolt of 1936-1939, pursuing the goal of Palestine state creation. Created Peel Commission to deal with Arab demands published reports, stipulated the creation of Jewish state in Galilee and maritime region, while giving the rest of territories to Arabs. Such proposals were not welcomed by Arabs, who argued that they were discriminatory of them. In the following period the formation of Palestinian state was greatly influenced by the rise of Jewish nationalism and demands for a state, stimulated by Holocaust.
In 1939 Britain issued new white papers, allowing 75000 Jews to move to Palestine within the period of fiver years, while adhering to the principle of Arab majority independence. Finally, the period culminated in the 1947 UN Partition Plan, resulting in the formation of Israeli state. Resolution 181 that had to end British Mandate in May 15, 1948 stipulated the creation of two independent Israeli and Palestine states, while Bethlehem and Jerusalem were placed under UN control (Tessler, 1994).
The plan was refused by Arab leaders and after Israel declared its independence on May 14, 1948 Egypt, Transjordan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Syria and Arab Liberation Army declared war against Israel (Tessler, 24). During the war Israel troops expulsed and depopulated the majority of Palestinian villages, which later become the main source of future Israeli-Palestinian conflicts and securitization of Palestinian territories by Israel. As a result of the war Palestinian territories were occupied by Arab states, including Transjordan seizing West Bank and Egypt Gaza Strip.
As Palestinian scholar Sharabi observed in this respect, ‘Palestine disappeared from the map’ (Sharabi, 194). Soon after the war All-Palestine Government was created, however, it was a creature of Egypt authorities, who financed it, issued passports and designed policies. As it was noted above, the foundation of Israeli state was accompanied by wide-ranging expulsion of Palestinian Arabs and their immigration to neighbor Arab states, such as Lebanon, Egypt and Jordan (Flapan, 6).
Low-income Palestinian Arab ended up in the refugee camps, while over 400 of Arab villages disappeared as a result of Israeli expansion. Arab population centers changed to Western Bank of Jordan river. The above described historical processes particularly affected present framework of Palestinian state existence, which is characterized by Israeli population’s expansion, security control over Palestinian territories and economic impact on Arab towns and villages. The infringement of Palestinian desires to form their own state was evident during Jordan occupation of West Bank.
Jordan’s King Abdullah 1 issued the royal decree prohibiting the use of ‘Palestine’ in legal documents and developed other measures to prevent Palestinian independence (Mishal, 1987). As a result of Six-Day War in 1967 Israel occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip reconfiguring the map of a region and becoming the sole barrier for the formation of independent Palestinian state. Moreover, Israel annexed East Jerusalem and Golan Heights. Gaza strip occupation continued until 2005, when Israel withdrew its forces, however, still leaving this territory in severe security isolation.
In the same period the prospects of the formation of the independent Palestinian state were promoted by newly established Palestine Liberation Organization that planned to create a Palestinian state in the entire territory of British Mandate, at the same neglecting Israel’s rights to exist. However, later in 1974 PLO democratized its approach and put forward the progressive initiative to create bi-national democratic state, a proposal known as one-state solution.
At the same time PLO appealed to establishing Palestinian authorities on occupied territories, which may be characterized as two-state solution. Such contradiction between PLO ideologies may be explained by divergent political approaches within PLO and continuing occupation of its territories by Israeli forces. The constant conflicts within hard-line and soft-line members of PLO made it impossible to develop one single approach to the formation of Palestinian state.
At the same time, the proposals to create independent Palestinian state in Gaza and West Bank were refused by Israeli authorities as during 1978 Camp David negotiations (Friedland and Hecht, 73). The contradictory process of Palestine state formation culminated in 1988 with proclaiming its national independence and establishing Palestinian National Authority. The declaration, establishing Palestinian state was based on UN General Assembly resolution 181 and hence, should be regarded as the realization of 1948 partition plan, prevented by constant wars and conflicts.
The realization of Palestinian demands until recently, however, was blocked by Israeli occupation. Notwithstanding Israeli withdrawal from Gaza and West Bank it still has influence in East Jerusalem and prevents Palestine state formation through military, economic and security control, as well as the policy of Palestinians’ expulsion. Research Methods To find out whether Palestinian state formation is a necessary historical process present research paper utilizes qualitative methods of research.
First of all, the method of empirical analysis of historical processes and developments is used in the study of Palestinian state formation, including the above proposed description of major phases and problems in the process of Palestinian state formation. Secondly, we use the comparative analysis method in studying the opposing views and approaches of Israel and Palestine authorities to the independent state formation. These two basic approaches and methods are reflected in the following interview questions proposed form 20 respondents with high education degree in Palestinian territories and Israel.
No distinctions between gender, political positions, and social status were made in establishing the sampling for interviews. Questions were designed to find out different views and oppositions on the format of Palestine state formation and its relation with independent Israel. The results of interviews are discussed within the scope of the survey. The interview utilizes closed questions as well as open-ended questions. Interview Questions 1. What is your attitude towards the existence of independent Israeli and Palestinian state? 2. What format of Palestinian state formation do you prefer: one-state or two-state solution?
3. Do you regard Palestinian methods of independence struggle justifiable? 4. Do you regard Israeli military presence near and in Palestinian territories as necessary and justifiable? 5. What is you attitude towards Israeli security policies in Palestinian territories? 6. Are Israeli political compromises for Palestinian authorities are sufficient to guarantee effective peace process? 7. Are Palestinian authority’s compromises for Israeli state are sufficient to guarantee effective peace process? 8. What were the main reasons of breaks and crisis in peace process between Israel and Palestine until recently?
9. What territories should become the part of independent Palestinian state? 10. How should be the status of Jerusalem regulated to avoid negative consequences for Israeli-Palestinian relations? 11. Should the Israeli policy of expanding Jewish settlements in West Bank be continued? 12. How the problem of Palestinian territorially disjointed state may be avoided? 13. Do Israeli security policies in Gaza strip correspond to international norms and principles? 14. What fractions of Palestinian political sphere may be the most effective in the formation of independent Palestinian state? 15.
What role of international brokers may take to regulate the process of the Palestinian state formation? 16. What specific role can Arab state in the region take to foster the peace negotiations between Palestinians and Israelis? 17. What is you attitude towards Hamas proposals of creating Palestinian Islamic state in Palestinian territories? 18. What is the role of cooperation between Israeli and Palestinian civil societies in fostering the formation of democratic dialogue between Israeli and Palestinian states? 19. What role may international organizations like UN take in brokering cooperation between two parties?
20. What are the main reasons of Gaza humanitarian crisis and how can it be regulated? Apart from interview results, which are to be analyzed in survey, present research paper used wide sources of secondary information, outlined in the background and history sector. They included monographs, articles and other research of prominent scholars of Israeli-Palestinian relations and Palestinian state formation. The abovementioned materials are necessary in supplementing views and attitudes of Palestinian and Israeli respondents, studied in the survey. Research findings and interview survey
Interviews showed that Israeli and Palestinians have different attitudes towards Israeli-Palestinian relations and the perspective of Palestinian state formation. Mindset differences between Israeli and Palestinians may be regarded as crucial barriers for the normalization of inter-state relations and the formation of independent Palestinian state. Israeli predominantly focus on security issues and terrorism, arguing that their military presence in Western Bank and Gaza is necessary for preventing possible attacks of radical Islamist movements like Hamas and for maintaining security in the region.
Israelis argue that the maintaining of 10km cordons and security zone is necessary for Israeli security. The arguments are put forward that Palestinians often engage in terrorist attacks and acts of aggression against civil Israeli, which should be prevented. Moreover, Israelis in their majority argue that their concessions to Palestinian authorities are immense and are not accompanied by similar ones from Palestinians. The dominant view of Israelis concerning the format of Palestine state formation is two-state solution; however, they see Palestine as a self-administering entity, rather than independent state with all of its characteristics.
The sovereignty of Palestine over its borders and citizens is not fully acknowledged by Israeli respondents. Moreover, they refuse to consider Israeli military forces responsible for Gaza humanitarian crisis, while a significant number of foreign states and international organizations blamed Israel for its excessive security and military control and isolation of Gaza. The views of Israeli respondents towards Jerusalem and Jewish settlements in Palestinian territories may also be described as non-constructive.
They argue that Jewish settlements are necessary for economic development of these territories and argue that the Israeli state should promote new settlements in the future. As far as Jerusalem is concerned, Israeli respondents argued that Jerusalem is central to Jewish culture and sovereignty, while they do not refuse Palestinians’ rights to live in this city. To sum it up, Israeli position towards the formation of independent Palestinian state is in our view not-constructive and coherent. In their majority, Israeli respondents argue that Palestinian state already exists.
This argument, however, contradicts Israeli policies of settlements, military presence, security and border control of Palestinian territories. Israeli want to seem Palestinian state as autonomous self-administering territory, however, it fears independent Palestinian state wit full-fledged political and territorial rights. Such approach has immediate negative consequences for economic and humanitarian development of Palestinian territories, which is the most evident in Gaza, where Israeli security policies and blockade recently resulted in wide-ranging humanitarian crisis (Kovel, 18).
As far as Palestinian attitudes towards independent state are concerned, the majority of respondents say in support of two-state solution. However, several of respondents are radical in their non-recognition of Israel as independent state. There exists no consensus between Palestinians concerning the scope of territories to be included in independent Palestinian state. However, the majority agree that it should be based on the coverage of such areas as Gaza and West Bank.
Many of Palestinian respondents argued that the creation of Palestinian state is necessary for effective social, cultural and economic development of Palestinian people. This view point seems to us quite reasonable, given the scope of Israeli economic expansion and control in Palestinian territories. The majority of Palestinians also oppose military presence of Israel in Palestinian territories, arguing that it contradicts sovereign rights of Palestinian state.
Many of Palestinians also stand against terrorist methods of struggle and Islamist order in future Palestinian state. Such political position may be characterized as progressive and constructive. The majority of Palestinian respondents negatively react towards the expansion of Jewish settlements in Palestinian territories, because such policies contradict their independent rights and freedoms. Moreover, humanitarian crisis in Gaza is explained by many Palestinian respondents as a direct implication of Israeli security policies in the region.
The majority of respondents have a positive attitude towards the role of international organizations and international brokers in securing the formation of Palestinian state. To sum it up, Palestinian arguments concerning the formation of Palestinian state certify to the fact that its creation is simply necessary for social, economic and cultural development of Palestinian people (Khalidi, 37). The existing format of self-administering territory, controlled by Israeli military forces, contradicts the internationally regulated principle of sovereignty.
The Israeli control over borders and movement of people may result in humanitarian crises as in the case of Gaza. Moreover, such situation results in the disjointed nature of Palestinian territories, transforming them in the security enclaves. Conclusion Present research paper suggests that the formation of independent Palestinian state is an urgent need for Palestinian social and economic development. Its formation requires liquidation of all security, administrative, economic and military restrictions, created by Israeli authorities in Palestinian territories.
The withdrawal of Israeli military forces from the rest of occupied territories and stopping of Gaza isolation and blockade should be regarded as the crucial steps in this direction. Israeli policies in Gaza have led to humanitarian crises in 2009 year that seems to deteriorate in the future. Existing format of Palestinian state resulted in disjointed nature of its territories, lack of legal regulation of economic relations. Moreover, in these conditions Israeli authorities make create new settlements in Palestinian territories without any consent, which contradicts sovereign rights of Palestinians, provided in 1947.
Two-state solutions, promoted by 1993 Oslo Peace Accords, may be regarded as the only possible format of Palestinian state formation; however, as it was noted above, such approach should be based on democratic approach and cooperation from Israeli authorities. Israel military withdrawal should be supplemented by concrete steps towards abandoning of border control and Palestinian territories isolation. It should be also mentioned that Israeli view that there is no separate Palestinian people, who are distinct from Arabs also contributes to non-constructive position of some fractions of Israeli elite towards Palestinian state.
Generally speaking, a more constructive position towards the formation of Palestinian state should be adopted to secure successful negotiations.
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