Nobel Laureate Robert Aumann: If Israeli annexation of Judea, Samaria means no Palestinian state, so be it

Prof. Robert Aumann says since a “state” can refuse demilitarization, he retracts his previous support for the “two-state solution.”

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

Professor Robert Aumann, 2005 Nobel laureate in Economic Sciences, has declared for the first time that he is against the establishment of a Palestinian state, an Israeli NGO told WIN in an exclusive interview on Wednesday.

Aumann, 89, is professor at the Center for the Study of Rationality in the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He clarified his position in an email correspondence with NGO Mattot Arim. The NGO’s spokesperson, Susie Dym, told WIN that this is the first time that Aumann has clarified “that he does not support a Palestinian-Arab entity being given ‘state’ status.”

In a Jan. 12 email to Dym, Aumann wrote, “I made it abundantly clear that we must maintain control of security. If that precludes statehood, then it precludes statehood, so the Arab Palestinian entity will not be a state.”

The NGO had followed up with Aumann after he stated at a Kohelet Forum conference earlier this month that Israel should take advantage of the U.S. administration’s position that Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria are not “per se” illegal, and Israel should annex most, if not all the territory.

In previous years, the Israeli-American mathematician, who won the prestigious Nobel along with Thomas Schelling for work on conflict and cooperation through game-theory analysis, had expressed his support for the idea that he called “two states for two people west of the Jordan River.”

He had added the caveat that no Jew or Arab should be expelled from his home in the separation process. In 2008, however, he said that “there is no one to talk to” on the Palestinian side, so no solution could be implemented.

In theory, he said peace could possibly be obtained by dividing the land, as long as both sides defined “peace” in a similar manner – that is, as the permanent cessation of all hostilities.

In order to maintain that peace, he also said that any Palestinian state would have to be demilitarized. When Mattot Arim showed him analysis that enforcing demilitarization on a state would be impossible from the standpoint of international law, his qualified support for Palestinian statehood shifted.

One such analysis was by Prof. Louis René Beres, who writes often on terrorism, nuclear warfare and international law.

“As a sovereign state Palestine might not be bound by any pre-independence compacts,” since it was not a state when the potential commitment to demilitarize was made, Beres wrote in an article that available on the Purdue University website.

Beres also wrote that there were many legal grounds that a Palestinian state could use to legally terminate their agreement as well, such as the fact that according to international law it is “the right of sovereign states to maintain military forces essential to self-defense.”