By Ted Belman
INSS recently published a paper Jewish Enclaves in a Palestinian State./strongÂ The authors thought it appropriate to investigate this option, because,
- A massive evacuation of settlements located outside the large settlement blocs, home to about 100,000 residents, will be necessary if future Israeli governments seek (or are required to) implement the principle implied by two states for two peoples.
It is defeatist to acknowledge that we might be required to evacuate this number. Don’t we have a say in the matter; better still, a veto. But worse to suggest that “the principle implied by two states for two peoples” is that each state must be free of Jews or Arabs, respectively. Certainly, no one is suggesting that Israel be free of Arabs. In fact no such principle is implied but the PA is demanding it never the less.
The authors continue,
- Nonetheless, the evacuation of tens of thousands from their homes and their settlements, including forcible evacuation of those who refuse to leave at the behest of the government, is a difficult task for the country, and could potentially result in bloodshed and civil war. Thus there is a need to examine other, less conventional ideas that could reduce the number of Israelis living beyond the final borders of the State of Israel who will need to be evacuated, including the idea of retaining Jewish settlements as enclaves within the borders of a Palestinian state, provided that it is in the context of a permanent agreement that brings about an end to the conflict.
The idea appears impractical, first and foremost from a security perspective, especially given the state’s responsibility for the security of all its residents and citizens, both within its borders and beyond. Nonetheless, an initial analysis of this possibility is in order, irrespective of any opinion on its political or diplomatic feasibility.
The idea itself is not new. A territorial enclave is sovereign territory of a state that is not connected by land to the main territory of the state and is entirely surrounded by land territory of another state. There are territorial enclaves that extend over large areas of thousands of square kilometers, but enclaves are generally small, comprising an area of several square kilometers or even less. In most instances, there is no problem traveling from the enclave to the mother state, but sometimes, passage involves a complex administrative procedure. The world political map shows approximately 300 territorial enclaves. Some 200 of them are located near the border between India and Bangladesh, some 20 are found on the border between Holland and Belgium, and the rest are located in various areas of Europe and Asia.
The Jewish settlements outside the large settlement blocs in the West Bank can be divided into three categories of enclaves: sovereign Israeli enclaves within Palestinian territory; autonomous Israeli settlements under Palestinian sovereignty; and settlements of Jews in the territory of a Palestinian state with no special status.