Monday, March 14, 2011

The September Shuffle

September promises to be a challenging time for Israel.

In September, the Palestinian Authority will further abrogate the Oslo Accords and unilaterally go to the UN to be granted statehood based on the ’67 armistice line. At this point it will immediately be in a state of war (as if it wasn’t already) with the Jewish state. And the UN will probably consider sanctions against Israel.

(As a reminder, the land of Israel, including that of Judea and Samaria were apportioned at the 1922 San Remo conference for the Jewish state.)

At present, there doesn’t seem too much that Israel can do to stop this.

But perhaps there is.

If nothing else, Israel can (preemptively?) annex (or threaten to annex) areas C, declaring that we are prepared to negotiate the status of area A, and maybe area B. That would change a lot of issues that are currently taken for granted.

Perhaps the threat would also be enough to make them think twice, but probably not. Certainly at a minimum, the legal battle would be on different terms than they are today.

I was listening to a talk by Professor Guy Bechor of the IDC the other day.

He has an interesting position and solution.

He said that Israel is at a disadvantage against the Palestinian Authority, because they are considered “moderate” by the world, even if they aren’t.

He adds that the Palestinian Authority has not collapsed yet for one reason. Israel.

The IDF keeps Hamas at bay, thus sustaining the Palestinian Authority. The Foreign Ministry completely agrees with this assessment.

Bechor proposes that Israel pull back the IDF from operations in the Arab controlled areas and stop security cooperation at that level.

The world would applaud Israel (for a day or so) for pulling out.

But at this point, it is only a short time until the Palestinian Authority is overthrown by Hamas, which is more explicit in their goal to destroy Israel.

We would have a situation in Areas A of Judea/Samaria like we have in Gaza.

Bechor believes that perhaps enough of the world would accept the concept that a Hamas controlled territory doesn’t deserve a recognized state.



And yes, there would be a rise in terrorism attempts, but for Bechor, the September threat of the Palestinian Authority is an existential one for Israel, whereas Hamas is something we can contain as we already do in Gaza.

Some concerns I have with his idea is that it assumes that Hamas will try to take over immediately instead of waiting until after September, and that it is unlikely that Hamas-Fatah will form a unity government.

(I just found an article where Bechor puts forward some of these ideas)

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13 comments:

Anonymous said...

Well done. What's the URL of the cartoon? It's brilliant.

NormanF said...

Israel should move to annex Yesha and apply Israeli sovereignty, law and jurisdiction to it.

In the absence of Palestinian willingness to make peace, its time for Israel to fill the vacuum.

It is better to live with a million Arabs under Israel's control than with the alternative of an Arab terrorist state overlooking Israel's heavily populated coastal plain.

There are no good options only bad ones and the annexation of Yesha is the least bad one of them. It is time to put it on the table.

Julia said...

I lean exactely towards the opposite direction:

Hamas causes war, unemployment and misery which in turn causes war, unemployment and misery, which generates war, unemployment and misery.

On the other hand, I have the impression that the Palestinian Authority is trying to create a de-facto-peace with a de-facto-courtant normal and de-facto growing prosperity, without telling their people too much about stopping hostilities. I even saw formulations like "Peace is our new form of war".

I think this is a positive way forward for both sides: they should prosper and build up a viable state and have something to lose and just forget about terrorism and hostility, a bit like Jordan and Egypt did...

It might be a way to create peace without telling anyone about it. And the main thing is to have de-facto peace...

The Rebbetzin's Husband said...

The world wouldn simply say to Israel, "Now it's simple - Negotiate with the 'political wing' of Hamas."

josh said...

Julia, the Arabs do not like the PLO because they are corrupt. Hamas in fact provides social services and while the corruption might be a political one, it is not the monetary one that the PLO is so good at.

Bechor has good insight and we need to take the initiative. One of these initiatives had been the separation barrier. Most people think that the physical barrier actually stopped the attacks on the mid200s, but in fact the psychological effects were the reason instead. The Arabs sunk into despair. Until then, they really did believe in going back to the coastal area as they have been promised for 60 years, but the fence was a massive smack in the face. Basically, a sign of reality that they were to be stuck in a large cage.

JoeSettler said...

I found the cartoon here: http://supportisraelnow.blogspot.com/2010/01/monday-january-11-2010.html

JoeSettler said...

Julia: The Palestinian Authority is leading the delegitimization war against Israel in the international forum.

You just proved the problem.

You believe they are trying to create a "de-facto peace" when they are simply using different, less open tactics than Hamas.

JoeSettler said...

TRH: Most likely.

Josh: Good points.

Vox Populi said...

Even if I take the perspective of a right wing settler, I can't see how this makes sense.

(1) Most people outside of Israel will not understand what it means that Israel has "withdrawn from operations within Arab controlled territory in the West Bank". They still think Israel is responsible for everything that happens in Gaza, and there is no Israeli presence in Gaza. You will get little to no credit.

(2) There is every chance that Fatah will win in the West Bank. You're assuming that the one thing that keeps Hamas from seizing power is the IDF. I wouldn't.

(3) If Fatah thinks it has no support from Israel, it may decide to further radicalize, and go back to terrorism. The moderates will lose power to the radicals. This internal struggle will not be very noticeable to the world, which will still pressure Israel to negotiate with them.

(4) Even if Hamas wins, international pressure will just want Israel to negotiate with Hamas. You're assuming that the world cares more about Israeli security than they care about drawing imaginary lines in the Mid-East and declaring the problem "solved". That's a pretty faulty assumption. Especially from this crowd.

Even now, when the PA is a viable negotiating partner to the outside world, there is still considerable pressure for the Israelis to talk with Hamas. If Fatah disappears, then Hamas just becomes the new partners in peace.

JoeSettler said...

Finally some valid points from you.

#1 Valid concern.

#2 There is that risk that Fatah could win, though the risk is higher that a truce will be made between them. Fatah is not popular outside of Ramallah.

#3 Fatah is still involved with terrorism, if nothing else then through massive incitement on PA controlled media. It's a tactical decision to restrain actions, not a long term philosophy.

#4 Valid concern.


There isn't any real pressure for Israel to currently talk to Hamas.

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure what some of you mean, "Israel and negotiate with the Hamas" ?

Hamas, has made it clear, many times in intervies: there is nothing to negotiate the best they can offer is a truce for a few years, if Israel leaves all area's it concord in 67 from Jordan & Egypt.

They also iterate that: "It is against the Islam to make peace with infidels"

Vox Populi said...

>There is that risk that Fatah could win, though the risk is higher that a truce will be made between them. Fatah is not popular outside of Ramallah.

First, while Fatah may not be popular outside of Ramallah, Hamas is popular like nowhere. Second, a truce/retaliation would be worse than an outright Hamas victory, per the objective of the plan. Keep in mind that a Hamas/Fatah reconciliation is something that is devoutly wished by the rest of the world - a unified Palestinian polity. Then instead of just being forced to negotiate with Fatah, Israel would be forced to negotiate between a Hamas-tasized version of Fatah.

>Fatah is still involved with terrorism, if nothing else then through massive incitement on PA controlled media. It's a tactical decision to restrain actions, not a long term philosophy.

Okay, but if you believe that, that only reinforces my point. Fatah has made a political tactical decision to refrain from violence. Part of that calculus is probably the recognition and assistance it gets from Israel and the IDF. Cutting that off sounds like exactly the kind of thing to change that calculus.

Danny Hershtal said...

Bechor is playing russian roulette with people's lives. I am sure that the catastrophic fence failure in Itamar last Shabbat was one tragic incident among many where either the fence worked, or IDF intel stopped similar plots in early stages. Unfortunately, one point where Yasser Arafat was right was that he only needs one success to win, while we need complete success. The Fogels were not the first family to meet such a fate (the Harans, Hatuels - Shalhevet Pas). If Bechor enacts his plan there will be a rapid succession of more such incidents. The Hamas coup in Gaza took place after all the Jews had left - I shudder to think what a break down of security would do in Yo"sh which is more than 10% Jewish.

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