Breaking The Gordian Knot

A THREE state solution for Israel and Palestine

Dan O
4 min readFeb 10, 2024

(1) Israel holds all the cards and will not accept any change that notably lowers their security.
(2) A percentage of Palestinians want to wipe Israel from the map. No matter what wealth or concessions are given, too much bad blood, too much funding from Iran, and too much of a feeling of lands stolen. For them its nothing less than “river to sea”!
(3) Thus a two state solution cannot work: either (a) Palestinians must be oppressed so thoroughly that it is difficult to obtain any money or resources to launch an attack, or (b) monitored so carefully that they cannot marshal the resources they have to launch an attack.
(4) While many argue it is a necessary evil, Israel and Egypt are guilty of meting out collective punishment against some innocents by barricading Palestinians. Here I propose a “way out” … it is far less than what Palestinians want, but can be offered by Israel and obtain greater security in return.

The key insight is to notice that the choice of peace cannot be offered to the Palestinians as a whole, rather it must be offered as an individual choice with individual consequences. Greater freedom and prosperity cannot be offered to a people as a whole, if those people as a whole are not committed to non-violence against Israel. Yet human population is a monolith, if given the choice some (many?) would choose Israeli security in exchange for prosperity for themselves and their children.

So how might this work? Each Palestinian family is given a personal choice with personal consequences: Stay where they are today, or move into a separated “Pro-Israel” enclave within the Gaza territory. Families that voluntarily join this enclave must commit to ensuring Israeli security from attack. This means a commitment to accepting significant security checking, first from by the Enclave itself, and second from Israel and the international community as well. With heavy checking, this enclave would be LESS of a threat to Israel than the rest of the territories as it is actively cooperating with the checking required. The first line of security checking would be managed by the enclave itself. This lowers costs and also helps ensure that checking is done in ways that preserves dignity and civility. This first line is also done in tight coordination with Israeli and international community to ensure everything is done rigorously. Since this entire enclave has committed itself to ensuring Israeli security, these checks become something analogous to the indignities innocent travelers voluntarily accept at an airport in order to ensure the security of all. It is not exactly the same; it is more invasive and it is done for the security of someone else. Still it is the type of indignity that one might accept as a practical necessity if the payoff were economic escape from the prison of Gaza.

Many Israelis have told me “This will never work, no Gazan will ever sign up for this!” I think they are wrong, I think many in Gazan feel hopeless knowing there is no practical path for freedom for themselves, their children, or their children’s children. Given a way out, some will take it and I think once others saw benefit, many would follow. But regardless if I am correct, simply OFFERING a way out is crucial for Israel. It shows with concrete, practical action that Israel would be a great friend to all Gazan’s who were truly committed to its security. This would dramatically help Israel around the world and with its Arab neighbors. Anyone who says. “Israel is not serious about offering peace and prosperity to Gazans” would be proven wrong every day it supported an enclave with an open door policy for all who accept and protect Israel.

Of course there would be real work for Israel, Egypt, USA, and other partners: It is not enough to provide a hunk of dirt for those few willing to vouch for Israeli security, they must get basic prosperity in return. Good jobs with good trading relations. This is easier to provide to a population that is actively supporting security, still efforts and funds must be made available. Iran funds Hamas in (small) part to build schools and such. We must spend MORE in trade + aid to build out businesses so coming to the enclave really is escaping to a better life.

The idea is to allow this enclave to start small. The costs will be low, and our ability to instill a strong sense of ensuring security is built in from day one. You don’t like it, you’re out! Everyone in the enclave understands its very existence and the existence of all those good jobs, stability, and schools are predicated on its ability to police itself. If it fails in this, it fails to exist.

Societal groups have a way of building-in self-reinforcing ways of thinking. Hamas builds a society predicated on hatred of Israel and it fosters that world view. Native Americans in the USA are often deeply offended by the injustice meted out to them in the past and sometime the present. Still very very few would support vigilante justice against the USA — they know how harmful the reaction would be towards their community. In the same way, and enclave of Gazans whose job, school, and community are all predicated on Israel’s safety will be come quite concerned about that safety. Not for love of Israel, rather for love of their children! Over time cultures change, just as they changed for the Arab-Israeli citizens today, they can change for those Gazans benefiting from partnership with Israel.

There are many practical aspects of this idea that I have left out. (e.g. buying the land, managing saboteurs, etc.). I leave those for a subsequent article. For now I would love to just get feedback about the idea.



Dan O

Startup Guy, PhD AI, Kentuckian living in San Fran