What Would Replace the Single Territorial Unit?

The split between Gaza and the West Bank has significant implications on relations between Israel, the Palestinians and the International Community.

Minister for Strategic Affairs Avigdor Lieberman called for Gaza to be defined as a separate political entity and to sever all ties between Gaza and the West Bank.

The principle of "Gaza and the West Bank as a single territorial unit" was one of the basic premises of the Oslo accords. Currently, Hamas is determined to maintain this principle. The current military confrontation (5/07), it claims, began because Israel continues to divide between the two territorial units.

The division between Gaza and the West Bank (hereinafter, the "Division") has significant implications on relations between Israel, the Palestinians and the International Community in the following areas:

  • Principle of the Two-State Solution - The Division is likely to undermine international efforts to establish a Palestinian state as well as eroding the consensus around the idea of the Two State Solution.

  • Collapse of the Palestinian Authority - Cutting Gaza off from the West Bank is likely to promote the collapse of the PA as a political entity, since Gaza is not considered to have the ability to exist independently.

  • Issues of Israeli Responsibility - Although Israel's responsibility towards Gaza has been reduced since the Disengagement (8/05), its responsibility towards the West Bank population has remained unchanged, with Israeli incursions even increasing.

  • Erosion of Existing Agreements - The Division is contrary to a basic premise of the Oslo Accords which states that "Gaza and the West Bank are a single territorial unit".

  • Relations between Israel, Egypt and Jordan - The Division is likely to influence the relations between Israel and Egypt (in issues pertaining to Gaza) as well as between Israel and Jordan (in issues pertaining to the West Bank).

  • International Involvement - The Division will make it harder for Israel and the international community to present a political horizon towards ending the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on the basis of the Two State Solution. The absence of such a horizon would make continued international involvement in the Palestinian arena more difficult. (See: An International Force in the Palestinian arena?).

Sources

Sofer, YNET, 5/31/07; full article.

Harel, Ha'aretz, 6/3/07; full article.