Despite the temporary freeze by Israel in the implemention of the Wye River Memorandum, delaying further progress in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, Palestinian self-determination is inevitable. What requires discussion are the intermediate and final forms this self-determination would or should take. While there is a continuum of options, we will concentrate on three:
1. the establishment of an independent Palestinian state in all, or nearly all, of the West Bank and Gaza (WBG), with minimal cooperation and/or coordination with Israel, i.e., separation (the Beilin - Abu-Mazen Plan);
2, an independent Palestinian state joining Israel in a confederation, which is a political and economic union of these two sovereign statesl; and
3. binationalism which, while having several possible forms, is a close and equitable union between the parties, whether as a single unitary state, or in the form of a federation, territorially or ethnically based.
In this discussion, an independent Palestinian state is assumed, whether as a final-status solution (i.e., separation), or as a stage towards a closer interdependent relationship with Israel (i.e., confederation or binationalism).


The separation option is supported by forces both in the occupied Palestinian territories and in Israel. Above and beyond the political separation (the two¬state solution), some of these forces (mainly Palestinian) express their preference for minimal economic relations, infra structural coordination and security cooperation between the two states.
An analysis of this option would point to the undesirability and impracticality resulting from near-total separation through final-status talks. Issues which under attempted separation would become real problems, under confederation or binationalism would be more easily resolved to the satisfaction of both sides. These include the following:
• the status of Jerusalem (e.g., possible shared rule);
• the existence of Jewish settlements in the WBG;
• the equitable sharing of water (to minimize disputes);
• open movement of people and goods (e.g., employment and trade);
• security-related questions;
• infrastructure cooperation; and, especially,
• territorial disputes.

Canfedera tian

If separation is minimized, for instance, through the establishment of an economic union, to be developed from an equitable customs union, and through the establishment of certain common political institutions, such as common central governmental institutions - excluding the military forces and foreign affairs - then a confederation can be formed.
In a confederation, stress is placed on the independence of the constituent states - as contrasted with a federation, in which the stress is on the supremacy of the central government. Thus a federation (or binationalism) is
1. While Jordan may be a likely candidate to join a bilateral confederation, converting it into a trilateral one, this will not be further considered in this paper since Israeli¬Palestinian relations are the core of the problem.
a closer union than a confederation. Also a confederation can, by design, be open to additional states joining at a later stage, as has happened in the development of the European Union. In the case of Israel and Palestine, the confederation can be expanded to include Jordan as a first step.
In a confederation both (or eventually all) states maintain their independence while benefiting from common markets and common civil, political and social institutions. The Palestinians can benefit from full access to the Israeli market, sources of employment, and technology, including easier access to the West. Israel, too, will benefit. With many of the above¬mentioned problems out of the way, it will have to spend less on defense and will have access to the Middle East. Both Israel and Palestine will profit from increased international investment and the termination of hostility. All this can lead to a brighter future via an important reduction in tensions and a corresponding improvement in the economy and the standard of living of both sides.
To conclude this section, here are some historical notes. The present European Union - basically a confederation of sovereign European states¬began when France and Germany, after three wars and nearly a century of enmity, decided, shortly after the Second World War, to develop economic cooperation through a coordinated policy, i.e., the "Iron and Steel Community." The European Economic Community, which was much more than a common market, was subsequently established in 1957. It continued to develop both into a closer relationship between the existing members and in the expansion of its membership.
In its process of development, the first 13 colonies of the United States declared their independence in 1776. In 1781, the Articles of Confederation were signed, establishing a confederation of sovereign states which lasted eight years. This was followed by the drafting and endorsement of the U.s. Constitution in 1789, establishing the present federal union - with the individual states giving up their sovereign status. It should be noted that one of the achievements of the Confederation was the settling of territorial disputes and the determination of state boundaries.
Another example of a confederation evolving into a federation is the Swiss Confederation - today really a federation of cantons. The nucleus of the confederation was established in 1291. Its present boundaries were established in 1815 and its federal status determined in 1847.


What the central ideology of both Israeli-Jews (Zionism) and of Palestinian¬Arabs (Palestinian nationalism) have in common is their respective objective or ideal of having the "whole land of Israel" (Eretz Israel) or the "whole of Palestine" (from the sea to the Jordan) belonging to them. The only way that both nations can achieve their aim is through a binational entity, i.e., a federal union. An equitable (equal power-sharing) binational Israeli-Jewish/ Palestinian-Arab entity could eventually evolve and be established by mutual agreement. Binationalism involves a consociationaF arrangement in which political equity is assumed and social and economic equity aimed at. Equity regarding immigration is also required both for Jews and Palestinians from their respective diasporas - Le., a "law of return" for both Jews and Palestinians.
A binational political entity can be achieved through the gradual evolution of a confederate arrangement or directly from two separate states. The former is a more likely scenario and it might take several forms:
2. Consociation refers to different groups getting along together and cooperating in a single framework.
• a unitary state with full civic equality for all residents, irrespective of their ethnicity, i.e., a state for all its citizens. While containing mainly two peoples, this form does not have a binational structure and, thus, does not meet the objectives of the two nations and is unlikely to be achieved;
• the creation of mini-cantons, involving several for each group of Jews and Arabs, with separate cantons for Israel's Arab minority and, possibly, with the inclusion of mixed cantons within a federal structure, along the Swiss model- this is also unlikely;
• the setting up of two equal autonomous non-territorial national frameworks for each of the two ethnic groups, within a federal framework (Ottoman millet system) - this is possible but difficult; and finally
• the establishment, along the Belgian model, of two autonomous separate units (three if a separate joint one is set up for Jerusalem), within a federal state - this is an eventual possibility,
Hence, the most likely option, but only ultimately, is the Belgian model, with each substate having rights for all its residents. In this case, Jews would have equal rights in the Palestinian state and Palestinians would have equal rights in the Israeli state, thus minimizing the crucial importance of borders. This form can evolve from a confederation and would aim at the protection of the rights of both peoples - Jews and Arabs - as well as the safeguarding of social and economic equality.

Summary and Conclusions

Several political options were discussed for final-status arrangements between Israel and the Palestinians. Full separation was considered and rejected for being difficult to implement and for causing the Palestinian:;, and to a lesser extent the Israelis, demographic, economic and political problems.
Confederation following Palestinian independence was considered to be both a desirable and feasible option for the two entities. In such a confederal union, both states would maintain their independence while benefiting from open borders, common markets and common civil political and social institutions. They would also benefit from improved economic and political relations with other countries in the region, as well as with the rest of the world.
Binationalism in the form of an equitable federal union which would evolve gradually from a confederation over a period of many years was also considered to be a viable long-term ideal or objective. This would result in the achievement of most of the natipnal objectives of both peoples.
Note also, we consider that at an early stage of confederation, Jordan would become a member, converting the arrangement into a trilateral confederation. This would eventually be open to other neighboring states.
Finally, further research should be conducted and/ or a Palestinian-Israeli brains trust should be established to explore and formulate more detailed future joint Israeli-Palestinian options.

1. While Jordan may be a likely candidate to join a bilateral confederation, converting it into a trilateral one, this will not be further considered in this paper since Israeli-Palestinian relations are the core of the problem.
2. Consociation refers to different groups getting along together and cooperating in a single framework.