Palestinian autonomy: an idea whose time has come

Yesterday, I wrote a post advocating that Israel recognize the failure of the process leading to a sovereign Palestinian state, and unilaterally treat the Palestinian Authority as an autonomous, but less than fully sovereign, entity. There would be a Palestinian government, legal system and economy; but ‘Palestine’ would be demilitarized. Israel would continue to control its borders and airspace, and would retain the ability to enter Palestinian territory to take action in response to terrorism.

I argued that this unilateral step would be justified under the provision of the UN Charter that permits states to act in self-defense. Can anyone deny that PLO actions and stated intentions represent a threat to Israel’s existence?

Today an article appeared by Yossi Ben Aharon, former Director-General of the office of PM Yitzhak Shamir, which makes almost exactly the same suggestion. Ben Aharon writes,

Let’s assume that once a sovereign “Palestine” is formed its government strikes a “friendship treaty” with Iran or North Korea, and a few hundred “experts” visit it to consult on issues such as training the “national guard” or the formulation of an intelligence system; or that the Palestinian government would be willing to take in a few thousand refugees and with the U.N.’s assistance, houses them in refugee camps set up within view of Jerusalem or Petach Tikva; or that the Shin Bet security agency realizes that a few hundred jihadis have found their way to these refugee camps and have set up terror cells; or that Palestine holds general elections and Hamas wins and sets up a government in Ramallah. There are endless plausible scenarios. What will Israel do? Invade Palestine? Demand U.N. Security Council action? Ask the U.S. for help?

As a sovereign state, Palestine would enjoy immunity under international law and by the grace of the U.N. Any unilateral steps taken against it would be in gross violation of international law and Israel would be faced with censures and boycotts as a result, as well as Security Council sanctions. Anyone who thinks that the Security Council would notice that it was the Palestinian state which violated the peace deal and therefore should also be sanctioned is sorely mistaken. …

As fate would have it, both the late Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and late Prime Minister Menachem Begin indicated — each in his own time and words — that the only possible solution is an autonomous Palestinian regime under an Israeli umbrella. The Palestinian Authority is already autonomous. All that is lacking now is to formally set it as such, leaving it with opportunities for improvement — if and when its credibility, and with it calm and security, proves solid.

It is time for Israel to stop being blown about by the winds from Washington and Europe, to take its own security into its own hands, and to unilaterally end the phony ‘peace process’. There already is a ‘Palestine’, which can succeed or fail as an autonomous entity, depending on its inhabitants’ ability to create a functional government and a viable economy (and they would get a great deal of help in this enterprise).

They have what they need to create ‘Palestine’. All they lack — and of course, everything that the present Palestinian leadership wants — are the tools to express the overwhelming hatred that characterizes all aspects of their culture, and destroy the state of Israel. Why give this to them?

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