Three-state solution

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The three-state solution, also called the Egyptian–Jordanian solution or the Jordan–Egypt option, is an approach to peace in the Israeli–Palestinian conflict by returning control of the West Bank to Jordan and control of the Gaza Strip to Egypt.

Israeli–Palestinian conflict military and political struggle between Israel and the Palestinians

The Israeli–Palestinian conflict is the ongoing struggle between Israelis and Palestinians that began in the mid-20th century. The origins to the conflict can be traced back to Jewish immigration and sectarian conflict in Mandatory Palestine between Jews and Arabs. It has been referred to as the world's "most intractable conflict", with the ongoing Israeli occupation of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip reaching 52 years.

West Bank Part of the Palestinian territories near the Mediterranean coast of Western Asia

The West Bank is a landlocked territory near the Mediterranean coast of Western Asia, bordered by Jordan to the east and by the Green Line separating it and Israel on the south, west and north. The West Bank also contains a significant section of the western Dead Sea shore. The West Bank was the name given to the territory that was captured by Jordan in the aftermath of the 1948 Arab–Israeli War, and subsequently annexed in 1950 until 1967 when it was occupied by Israel during the 1967 Six-Day War.

Jordan Arab country in Western Asia

Jordan, officially the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, is an Arab country in Western Asia, on the East Bank of the Jordan River. Jordan is bordered by Saudi Arabia to the south and the east, Iraq to the north-east, Syria to the north and Israel and Palestine to the west. The Dead Sea is located along its western borders and the country has a short 26-kilometre (16 mi) coastline on the Red Sea in its extreme south-west, but is otherwise landlocked. Jordan is strategically located at the crossroads of Asia, Africa and Europe. The capital, Amman, is Jordan's most populous city as well as the country's economic, political and cultural centre.



The three-state solution essentially replicates the situation that existed between the 1949 Armistice Agreements and the 1967 Six-Day War. Beginning in 1949, Egypt occupied the Gaza Strip, Jordan occupied the West Bank, and no Palestinian Arab state existed. In 1950, Jordan officially annexed the West Bank and granted its Arab residents Jordanian citizenship. [1]

1949 Armistice Agreements

The 1949 Armistice Agreements are a set of armistice agreements signed during 1949 between Israel and neighboring Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan, and Syria to formally end the official hostilities of the 1948 Arab–Israeli War, and establish armistice lines between Israeli forces and Jordanian-Iraqi forces, also known as the Green Line.

Six-Day War 1967 war between Israel and Egypt, Jordan, and Syria

The Six-Day War, also known as the June War, 1967 Arab–Israeli War, or Third Arab–Israeli War, was fought between 5 and 10 June 1967 by Israel and the neighboring states of Egypt, Jordan, and Syria.

Occupation of the Gaza Strip by Egypt Occupation Period

The occupation of the Gaza Strip by Egypt occurred between 1949 and October 1956 and again from March 1957 to June 1967. From September 1948, until its dissolution by Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser in 1959, the Gaza Strip was officially administered by the All-Palestine Government. Although largely symbolic, the government was recognized by most members of the Arab League. Following its dissolution, Egypt did not annex the Gaza Strip but left it under military rule pending a resolution of the Palestine question.


While the two-state solution is still the prevailing option, the three-state solution is being raised with increasing frequency as the viability of the two-state solution has been repeatedly called into question.[ citation needed ] The New York Times reported in January 2009 that Egypt and Jordan are increasingly concerned about the possibility of having to retake responsibility for Gaza and the West Bank. [2]

Two-state solution proposed diplomatic solution for Israel-Palistine conflict

The two-state solution to the Israeli–Palestinian conflict envisages an independent State of Palestine alongside the State of Israel, west of the Jordan River. The boundary between the two states is still subject to dispute and negotiation, with Palestinian and Arab leadership insisting on the "1967 borders", which is not accepted by Israel. The territory of the former Mandate Palestine which did not form part of the Palestinian State would continue to be part of Israel.

In a September 2008 publication [3] of The Washington Institute for Near East Policy, Giora Eiland wrote in support of the proposal.

The Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP) is an American think tank based in Washington, D.C., focused on the foreign policy of the United States as it pertains to the countries in the Near East. Established in 1985, the institute's mission statement says that it seeks "to advance a balanced and realistic understanding of American interests in the Middle East and to promote the policies that secure them."

Giora Eiland Israeli general

Giora Eiland is Major General (ret.) Israel Defense Forces. Eiland is a former head of the Israeli National Security Council. After his retirement from the public sector, he was a senior research associate at the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS).

Proposals that the Palestinians be given Jordanian citizenship are strongly opposed by the Jordanian government. [4]

In 2010, during the parliamentary election, Jordanian politicians expressed fears that if the 2010 Israeli-Palestinian direct talks broke down and the Palestinian Authority collapsed, Jordan would be forced to reabsorb the West Bank and grant citizenship to its residents. Concern was also expressed that Israel may prefer this solution over the traditional two-state solution.

Jordan, which back then was more than 50 percent Palestinian, would be further cemented as a de facto Palestinian state. [5] However, some Jordanian officials have supported Jordanian control over the West Bank. In May 2010, the President of the Jordanian Senate Taher al-Masri made reference in a speech to "the two united banks [of the Jordan River], with the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan emerging on both banks of the holy river". [6]


The three-state solution is advocated by an editorial in The New York Sun and Ian Bremmer, neither of whom believe that the two-state solution or the one-state solution is viable. [7] [8]

Former American Ambassador to the United Nations John R. Bolton has suggested a "'three-state' approach, where Gaza is returned to Egyptian control and the West Bank in some configuration reverts to Jordanian sovereignty". [9]

Daniel Pipes describes the “Jordan-Egypt option" as "a uniquely sober way” to bring peace. [10]

Israeli MK Aryeh Eldad has proposed that Palestinian Arabs be given Jordanian citizenship. [4]

Gerald Levin partook in discussions on building a canal from the Dead Sea at the London Foreign and Commonwealth Office in August 1997. The Dead Sea is 430 m below sea level, and so a canal for fresh sea water could be built along the Jordan River. With desalination, agricultural jobs for 1 million people within Jordan, Egypt and Israel would be sustainable. It was reported that Jordan agreed to administer between 17% and 21% of the West Bank, to facilitate canal construction with international assistance, which would increase Jordan's area to about 70% of the 1918 Palestine. [11]

Alternative use of the phrase

The phrase three-state solution is also used not as a peace proposal, but as a description of the status quo that has existed since Hamas took control of Gaza away from the Palestinian Authority in 2007, effectively leaving three states, the Palestinian Authority-controlled West Bank, Israel, and Hamas-controlled Gaza in the territory west of the Jordan river. [12] [13] Others, including Kaveh L Afrasiabi, argue that the Hamas coup rendered the two-state solution impossible, and advocate the regularization of the status quo into three permanent sovereign states. [14] In July 2012, it was reported Hamas was considering a declaration of independence with support of Egypt. [15]

See also

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Zero-state solution

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  1. Karsh, Arafat's War, 43.
  2. "Crisis Imperils Two-State Plan, Shifting a Balance", Michael Slackman, The New York Times, January 11, 2009.
  3. page xii [ dead link ]
  4. 1 2 "Jordan summons Israeli ambassador on bill" [ permanent dead link ], Herb Keinon, Jerusalem Post, May 26, 2009.
  5. "Jordanian Pols Fear PA State – Defense/Middle East". Israel National News. 2010-11-08. Retrieved 2014-02-02.
  6. "Jordanian official speaks of 'State of two banks'". 1995-06-20. Retrieved 2014-02-02.
  7. "Three-State Solution", editorial of The New York Sun, June 19, 2007.
  8. "A difficult plan whose time has come", Ian Bremmer, International Herald Tribune, June 15, 2007.
  9. "The Three-State Option", John R. Bolton, The Washington Post, January 5, 2009. "Let's start by recognizing that trying to create a Palestinian Authority from the old PLO has failed and that any two-state solution based on the PA is stillborn."
  10. "Solving the 'Palestinian Problem'", Daniel Pipes, Jerusalem Post, January 7, 2009.
  12. "A Three State Solution?" Archived 2008-06-08 at the Wayback Machine , Michael Moran, Council on Foreign Relations, June 19, 2007.
  13. "The three-state solution: Separating Gaza from the West Bank makes more historical sense than forming a unified Palestinian nation", Jacob Savage, Los Angeles Times, June 20, 2007.
  14. "The death of the two-state solution", Kaveh L Afrasiabi, Asia Times, June 20, 2007.
  15. "Report of possible Gaza independence stirs debate". Al Arabiya. 31 July 2012. Archived from the original on 2012-10-14. Retrieved 26 November 2012.