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Analysis

Israel should withdraw unilaterally; Asher Susser interviewed by Toby Greene

To listen to this interview click here.

Professor Asher Susser is one of Israel’s leading experts on Jordan and the Palestinians, having taught for over 25 years in Tel Aviv University’s Department of Middle Eastern and African History.  He has twice been director of the well-respected Moshe Dayan Centre for Middle Eastern Studies, and was the only academic to accompany Prime Minister Rabin to the signing of the Washington declaration in 1994, which paved the way for the Israeli-Jordanian peace treaty.  His latest book, Israel, Jordan and Palestine, the Two State Imperative, was published in 2012.

Susser argues that negotiations have little chance of success because whilst Israelis and Palestinians agree on a two-state outcome, they differ fundamentally over core issues, particularly the question of Palestinian refugees from 1948. However, the two-state solution remains the best option for both parties, and there is an alternative path to achieving it through coordinated unilateralism. Susser believes that Israel should respond to recent unilateral Palestinian state building efforts with a unilateral redeployment from the West Bank, which will allow for the creation of a contiguous Palestinian state. Whilst this will not resolve all the issues in the conflict, Susser argues, it will be an improvement on the current situation and will prevent the gradual drift towards a one-state reality, in which Jews will ultimately find themselves in the minority. Preserving the integrity of the two-state model, according to Susser, is in the vital interest not only of Israel, but of the Palestinians and Jordanians also.