A role for NATO in ending the Israel-Palestinian crisis?

Martin A. Smith

14 December 2023

A political plan for ending the Israel-Palestinian conflict is urgently needed, but a clear endgame for the war Israel launched in retaliation for the massacre of 7 October remains elusive. This briefing is a contribution to a much-needed debate as to who should rule Gaza and the West Bank after the current war ends. There is no easy path forward, but the urgency for regional and global diplomacy cannot be overstated. The views represented here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of NATO Watch or any of its associates.


The current conflict between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip has given a new lease of life to the two-state solution to the Israel-Palestinian crisis, entailing the creation of a viable, sovereign Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza. And yet, seventy-six years after it was first put forward as the preferred choice of the international community, there is no compelling evidence that it can actually be made to work. The same goes for the ‘one state’ alternative which has been advanced by some scholars in recent years. No Israeli government will countenance an option that would, by definition, necessitate the end of Israel as the Jewish State. Given the deficiencies of the two- and one-state options, the author has argued elsewhere in favour of a hitherto little-considered alternative: a three-state solution whereby Gaza reverts to Egyptian control while the West Bank becomes, once again, part of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.

This briefing considers the role that NATO – through its often overlooked ‘Mediterranean Dialogue’ (MD) – could play in helping facilitate this outcome. It begins by tracing the MD’s evolution since 1995, paying particular attention to the stakes the three states of Egypt, Jordan and Israel have developed in it. The second part then considers the viability of a three-state settlement and the contributions towards facilitating this that NATO might make.

Read more in the attached pdf