Disputes about access pose some of the most intriguing problems in political design. In the case of Israel and Palestine, results of the 1967 war are the basis for Israeli claims to sovereignty and border control far beyond its pre-war bounds. A distinction can be made between the pre-war line separating Israel from the West Bank [about which sovereignty would imply no doubt concerning Israels right to control entry (subject to the reservation that Palestinian rights to return remain contested)] and the external borders separating Gaza and the West Bank from other states and from non-Israeli waters and airspace.
Could Israel be brought to accept that it is more in its interest to enable normal Palestinian movement than to insist that the risks to its security require enforced controls?
A viable Palestinian economy requires, of course, a stable area not subject to an Israeli claim it may destroy what it chooses. Given Israeli non-intervention, there are four further requirements: free access to the sea to and from Gaza, international air access, freedom to import and export across land borders, and one or more effective connections between the West Bank and Gaza. Palestine, not Israel, would set and administer the rules governing its side of the borders. On the Gaza-West Bank connection, for example, there are proposals to construct a road or rail corridor, elevated, depressed, or on the surface. [Note 1]
Delicate negotiations are taking place with respect to Israeli controls, including controls on movement to and from Israel. Israels departure from Gaza, however, does not imply an end to the controls boxing the Gaza rectangle. Nor, at this juncture, is there evidence Israel is prepared to give up, in any respect, its claim of a residual right to govern movement. Instead, Israel retains the unilateral high ground by exercising physical control, which no international body is ready to contest by force.
Would it be unjust, for example, to argue that Israels freedom to trade with the world should be no greater than that of the Palestinians? Or that Israeli aircraft should have no greater freedom of access to international airports than Israel acknowledges the Palestinians may enjoy?
Should a democracy representing the free world reward Israel by budgetary subventions while Israel controls Palestinian freedom of movement?
Is there some mix of incentives and disincentives, or guarantees and provisions, or smart constructs, which could shift the balance between interest and risk to the side of interest?
[Note 1] Israel-Palestine Center for Research and Information (IPCRI). Gaza-West Bank Passage. http://www.ipcri.org/files/passages.html
[Note 2] US Embassy. London. Wolfensohn Reviews Gaza Development Plans after Israeli Withdrawal. http://www.usembassy.org.uk/midest650.html 26 July 2005.
[Note 3] Agence France Presse. Access to West Bank vital for Gaza economy: Wolfensohnnbsp; http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20050803/wl_mideast_afp/mideastpullouteconomy_050803184830 3 August 2005
[Note 4] Mustafa Barghouthi, Make sure Gaza first is not Gaza last. Op-ed. International Herald Tribune, 19 August 2005. http://www.iht.com/articles/2005/08/18/news/edbarghouthi.php
[Political Design 2005.08.17 Post A09. Front Door Index: http://www.learnworld.com/DESIGN/uncategorized/❄-palestine-i-access Permalink: http://www.learnworld.com/DESIGN/uncategorized/❄-palestine-i-access]