Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Israel's Response To Palestinian Threat To Have UN Declare A State: Unilateral This!

In response to the Palestinian threat to ask the UN to recognize a Palestinian state, Israel's reaction has progressed beyond vague threats of retaliation to more concrete ideas.

While Minister Eli Yishai has urged taking action on the diplomatic front:

Minsiter Uzi Landau was a bit more unbending. "The unilateral Palestinian move is a hostile initiative. I think it is brazen," he said. "The initiative is meant to torpedo any chance for negotiations. It must be made clear that any unilateral declaration on their part that is meant to deteriorate the chances for negotiations needs to be accompanied from our side with annexation of territories in Judea and Samaria."
Caroline Glick believes it is time for Netanyahu to call the Palestinian's bluff, clarifying what such an annexation would entail:
As Netanyahu knows, there is consensus support among Israelis for his plan to ensure that the country retains defensible borders in perpetuity. This involves establishing permanent Israeli control over the Jordan Valley and the large Jewish population blocs in Judea and Samaria. In light of the well-recognized failure of the two-state solution, Hamas's takeover of Gaza and the disintegration of Fatah accompanied by the shattering of the myth of Fatah moderation, Israel should strike out on a new course and work toward the integration of Judea and Samaria, including its Palestinian population, into Israeli society. In the first instance, this will require the implementation of Israeli law in the Jordan Valley and the large settlement blocs.

Replacing the military government in these areas with Israel's more liberal legal code will also advance Netanyahu's economic peace plan, which envisions expanding the Palestinian economy in Judea and Samaria by among other things reintegrating it into Israel's booming economy. This plan would reward political moderation while marginalizing terrorists in Palestinian society. In so doing, it will advance the cause of peaceful coexistence over the long-term far better than the failed two-state solution. Far from engendering peace, the two-state paradigm empowered the most corrupt and violent actors in Palestinian society, at the expense of its most productive and moderate citizens.
Arlene Kushner refers to Glick's op-ed piece and notes the benefits for Israel:
But how marvelous it would be if we made it clear to the world that Gush Etzion, and Ma'aleh Adumim, Ariel, and Shilo, and Beit El, and Jewish Hevron (see below) and Kiryat Arba, etc. etc. are all fully under Israeli sovereignty. That there could be no expectation, ever, of our returning to pre-67 lines. And how wonderful for the residents of these areas, finally and at long last, to be governed under the same laws that govern residents of Tel Aviv.

What Landau was suggesting was something that would be done only in response to a unilateral Palestinian action.

But to have this mentioned in a Cabinet meeting... a move in the right (double entendre intended) direction.
Kushner also writes that Landau describes the possibility of going even further in response to a unilateral move by the Palestinian Authority:
But now Landau was a bit more specific, and a great deal more expansive, in terms of what areas he is talking about: "Israeli sovereignty over all of area C." (Citation from to [sic] the Post.)

This refers to the division of Judea and Samaria agreed upon with the Oslo Accords: Area A = full PA control, Area B = PA civic control and Israeli military control, and Area C = full Israeli control. This encompasses an area far greater than that of all the Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria combined -- which comprise less than 5% of the whole.

Designed as it would be to counter Palestinian unilateral action, it would render a Palestinian state an impossibility.

I hasten to caution, however, that unless we're pushed a whole lot harder, something like this is not likely to go very far in the Knesset. In fact, it's most likely to go nowhere. More's the pity.

But I like it that this is entering the political discourse.
As the Palestinian Authority speaks openly about what it would like to do, it is only fitting that Israel broach a few ideas of its own. Who knows--maybe this might get Abbas's attention and with a little prodding get him back to the negotiating table.

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See also: How To Start Your Own Palestinian State (Infrastructure Not Included)
See also: PA: Obama Would Not Veto UN Recognition Of Palestinian State

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