PM Netanyahu has been talking about an Israeli initiative to head off UN recognition of ‘Palestine’:
While there is speculation that Netanyahu is interested in a Palestinian state within temporary borders, with the final borders to be negotiated at a later date, others believe Netanyahu’s plan entails a reiteration of the goal of two states, and the announcement that the IDF will turn control of all the major cities in the West Bank over to the Palestinian Authority, giving it control over some 90 percent of the Palestinian population. Under this plan, the IDF would no longer operate inside the cities, except in extraordinary circumstances. — Herb Keinon, Jerusalem Post
The ever-patriotic Ha’aretz speculates thus:
Netanyahu mulls pulling IDF forces out of Palestinian [sic] West Bank
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is weighing a withdrawal of Israel Defense Forces troops from the West Bank and a series of other measures to block the “diplomatic tsunami” that may follow international recognition of a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders at the United Nations General Assembly in September…
Netanyahu is still uncertain to what extent the withdrawal would be, but it will probably not include the evacuation of settlements.
(I included the headline from the Ha’aretz article to illustrate their commitment to unbiased journalism).
Now, the PM may not be planning anything like this. At this point, nobody — probably not Netanyahu and his advisers — knows what diplomatic tack he will take to oppose the effort to declare a Palestinian state in the UN.
Nevertheless, the logic behind these ideas escapes me.
The Arabs are saying “we won’t negotiate because we can get everything we want from the UN without giving Israel anything” — no security arrangements, no recognition, etc. And Israel considers responding by saying “no, wait — let’s make more concessions! Let’s weaken and endanger ourselves!”
I expect that the Arabs will accept concessions offered and then continue their concurrent diplomatic whining and violent terrorizing. Why would any other action make sense for them?
I’d like to see a different approach. This one hasn’t worked yet.
I would like to hear PM Netanyahu tell the UN that he is sorry, but conditions are not ripe today for a Palestinian state. Given the danger of Hamas being supported via a newly hostile Egypt, because of the threat from Hizballah in Lebanon, Israel cannot permit the creation of another entity which will certainly be hostile, which expresses its hostile intentions every day, next door.
Surely the UN will understand that with all the instability in the Middle East today, now is not the time to add more (note that this is the opposite of the “linkage theory“).
When will it be possible for there to be a Palestinian state? It will be when the Arab world is ready to make peace with Israel — when Hamas and Hizballah are disarmed, when Egypt and Syria stop trying to solve their domestic problems by bellicosity toward Israel. And when the Palestinian Arabs are prepared to say, “this is the end of the conflict” (note that this is the opposite of the sequence prescribed by the Arab Initiative).
After the 1967 war, the UN expressed the idea that peace can come along with recognition and secure borders in UNSC resolution 242. Since then, the Arabs have said ‘no’ a thousand times, and punctuated these negations with violence. And every time, the ‘international community,’ often along with Israel, takes another step closer to the Arab position.
But there was nothing wrong with the original one. Secure borders, recognition and disarming the terrorist militias are necessary for peace.
The Israeli position should be based on demanding these things, not on giving them up!