“It all depends on the details of who runs the trains, who has authority to stop them”
hile the Trump plan, Part One, focuses on investments, there is one potential security minefield for Israel — the proposed travel corridor between Palestinian enclaves in Gaza and the West Bank.
“Some kind of corridor connecting the West Bank and Gaza has been part of most ‘peace plans’ and discussed in the Oslo context, and has always been problematic,” said Professor Eugene Kontorovich, director of the international law department at the Kohelet Policy Forum in Jerusalem.
When the Oslo Accords were first negotiated, some legal scholars raised concerns that such a land bridge could be considered sovereign Palestinian territory, effectively dividing Israel north and south of the link, and that Israeli flights over this link could be considered a breach of Palestinian airspace. I ran these ideas by Professor Kontorovich. “A mere transit corridor does not necessarily entail sovereignty over the territory it crosses,” he said. “Of course, a special easement across Israel dedicated to Palestinian use would almost certainly be a source of friction and lead to eventual Palestinian claims that they must have sovereignty over that too, thereby splitting Israel.”
However, Kontorovich noted that the rail link in the Trump economic plan does not obviously have this weakness. “A train from one place to another does not say anything about the sovereignty of the places it crosses through, and trains, unlike roads, are harder to get off in the middle. It all depends on the details of who runs the trains, who has authority to stop them.”
(Originally featured in Mishpacha, Issue 766)