By Ted Belman (first published in Nov 2009)
Last August, PM Salam Fayyad released a Plan to “establish Palestine as an independent, democratic, progressive, and modern Arab state, with full sovereignty over its territory in the West Bank and Gaza, on the 1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital.” within two years. Israel took little notice of it.
In early November Haaretz reported it included a secret provision which stipulated a “unilateral declaration of independence”. Then Israel took notice and said ‘If PA Declares State, Israel Will Annex Settlements’.
“If the Palestinians take such a unilateral line, Israel should also consider … passing a law to annex some of the settlements,” Environment Minister Gilad Erdan (Likud) said. [..]
MK Danon says that Israel must not settle for annexing settlement blocs, but must rather annex Judea and Samaria in their entirety, except for Arab cities.
Minister Erdan also said Israel has the option of tightening up travel restrictions for Arabs and stopping the transmission of tax money that the Israeli government currently transfers to the Palestinian Authority – money that is collected by Israel for the PA.
Meanwhile, Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz (Likud) and Minister Landau have taken action to introduce bills for annexing Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria.
The PA also threatening to seek the formal endorsement of the UN but the Eu and the US have turned thumbs down on the issue.
Even if the U.N. recognizes a Palestinian state, it would make little difference to the reality. In 1988 the Palestinians also declared independence and many states recognized it, but nothing came of it.
So long as Israel controls the land it controls what happens there.
But Alan Baker, writing in JCPA, says such declaration Undermines the Legal Foundations of Israeli-Palestinian Diplomacy and “could set off a series of reactions – whether legal or political – that might create substantive, structural damage to the peace process.” because the Oslo Interim Agreement provides
- Neither side shall initiate or take any step that will change the status of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip pending the outcome of the Permanent Status negotiations.
So far Israel has been adamantly against abrogating the Oslo Accords no matter what the provocation. After 15 years of trying to negotiate a deal, perhaps its time for Israel to do so and the PA unilateral declaration, should it happen, could be just the pretext, if pretext is needed.
Everyone knows that there is no diplomatic solutions. Neither party is willing to make the necessary compromises. That’s why the PA talks about a unilateral declaration and the EU and some in the US talk about an imposed solution. Israel also is contemplating a unilateral solution. What might that be?
According to the remarks above, it would involve annexing parts, if not all Judea and Samaria. No land would have to be conquered. Israel has already annexed Jerusalem and the Golan and could do the same for other settlements such as Ariel and Maaleh Adumin and perhaps the Jordan Valley. At a minimum it would signal that these settlements, like Jerusalem, are non-negotiable.
This would be an incremental approach to gauge the reaction of the international community. It wouldn’t be pretty. The next step would be to annex all of Areas “B” and “C” with its Arab population of about 340,000. Area “A” with its 1.2 million Arabs would be dealt with thereafter assuming that it is not decided to do it all at once.
Mike Wise, published the Jewish One State Plan, hereinafter referred to as the “Plan” a number of years ago. I first endorsed it in 2005 in my article Israel From the Mediterranean to the Jordan and have written much since.
In Caroline Glick’s article, Obama’s failure, Netanyahu’s opportunity she introduces this Plan.
- 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.
but she doesn’t fully, at least in this article, endorse the Plan. The Plan proposes that Israeli law be extended to all of Judea and Samaria as follows,
- Annexation will provide a clear and well-defined status for West Bank Arabs. At the time of Annexation, the PA will no longer have a reason to exist and it and all terrorist infrastructures will be outlawed and dismantled. The PA and other terrorist organizations will be subject to Israel law and be dealt with in the same manner that all countries deal with internal subversive, treasonous and criminal organizations. Israel would no longer police the West Bank as an “occupation force”. It is important to understand that after Annexation, Israel will have significantly greater flexibility in dealing with issues and problems on the West Bank. Those problems will all be viewed as internal problems of the State of Israel and not problems subject to constant international scrutiny by those who view the West Bank as “occupied” territory.
Although Glick wants to integrate all of Judea and Samaria, she only wants to extend Israeli law to the “Jordan Valley and the Settlement Blocks”.
The Plan further provides,
- It is essential that the process and strategy of offering Israeli citizenship to West Bank Arabs must be very carefully planned, including its timing, demographic, geographic, historical and social factors. Citizenship will include all the benefits currently available to the citizens of Israel including: health care, education, welfare, economic incentives, employment, social safety nets, voting rights and others. The responsibilities of citizenship will include a public oath of loyalty to the State of Israel. The procedures and the details of the citizenship offer will be determined as an internal matter by the State of Israel. Each country determines its own citizenship rules and there are many models ranging from extremes like Switzerland where citizenship is often not granted for several generations, and the extremely restrictive standards set by Islamic States to the more liberal standards applied by other countries. Since the process will be phased in over time, the possibility to adjust the procedures appropriately will be available as circumstances require.
The reason Glick excludes Area “A” is because of the 1.2 million Arabs living there. She and most Israelis don’t want to extend Israeli citizenship to them no matter on what terms. The Plan doesn’t see this as a problem that can’t be dealt with.
There are about 200,000 Arabs in Jerusalem who have been given blue cards which entitled them to work and vote in municipal elections. Some suggest that such cards, rather than citizenship, should ultimately be given to the Arabs in the annexed territories .
Jerusalem Summit, a Christian/Jewish think tank, in 2005 published Prof Martin Sherman’s article, Redefining the Palestinian Problem which proposed an humanitarian solution rather than a political one. This proposal involves resettling the refugees elsewhere and offering compensation to Arabs living in Judea and Samaria to leave. Nothing unusual about that.
- Denmark is boosting cash incentives to entice immigrants to return to their homelands if they ‘can’t or won’t’ assimilate into society.
The offer now on the table is close to £12,000 for every person who takes up the offer to leave.
Critics of the measure say it sends the wrong message to foreigners but the centre-right government in Copenhagen is forging ahead with the plan.
The financial carrot is ten times more than that previously offered under a scheme which as been law since 1997.
Sarkozy has also floated such a plan. So why can’t Israel do likewise.
Paul Eidelberg is totally against relying on Netanyahu’s “economic peace” which Glick supports. He says they “succumb to the wishful thinking of crypto-Marxists and capitalists who think there is an economic solution to human conflict, including religious conflicts.”
One consequence of bettering their economic lot would be that Arabs would immigrate to this area rather than emigrate from it. The reverse of what we want. But that is not what he is concerned with. He wants to deal with reality and not fantasy. Therefore the problem must be solved in a different way.
One suggestion that he makes in The Eidelberg Plan is for Israel to become more Jewish. He believes that this would cause Arab Israeli emigration. But aside from not saying what to do with Judea and Samaria, he agrees that “Palestine” won’t come into existence because neither side will make the necessary compromises.
Currently PM Netanyahu, supported by Barak and Peres, is banging the peace drum for all he is worth. He is begging for negotiations to begin and hinting he will be generous but has not yet backed away from his demands of recognition, an undivided Jerusalem and demilitarization. The Obama administration has supported him in accepting that negotiations should be without pre-conditions. The PA wants to have negotiations begin where Olmert left off and to have an end result of the creation of Palestine with ‘67 borders.
I wouldn’t worry too much about it. Netanyahu is not about to give away the farm.
What negotiator starts negotiations by showing how much he wants them. The reverse is always the case. Therefore, I believe that Netanyahu is talking the talk knowing he won’t have to walk the walk. Many in the know, that I have talked with, agree.
Today, the focus of the Middle East players is Iran. The creation of Palestine is of little concern.
Assuming no diplomatic solution will be forthcoming for the creation of Palestine, Israel will begin to make moves, probably after Iran is dealt with, to incorporate Judea and Samaria unilaterally. The key questions in so doing will involve whether to extend Israel law to Areas “B” and “C” only or to all of Judea and Samaria and whether to give blue cards or Citizenship based on significant requirements.
The peace process has brought death and destruction and not brought us closer to peace. Time for new approach.
Thomas Friedman, writing in the New York Times a week ago, agrees.
- “It is time for a radically new approach. And I mean radical. I mean something no U.S. administration has ever dared to do: Take down our “Peace-Processing-Is-Us” sign and just go home.”
This would enable Israel to do its thing as suggested above.
The JCPA released a study entitled International Recognition of a Unilaterally Declared Palestinian State
- International law has traditionally required that four separate criteria be satisfied before the recognition of an entity as an independent sovereign state can be considered:
1. The entity must exercise effective and independent governmental control.
2. The entity must possess a defined territory over which it exercises such control.
3. The entity must have the capacity to freely engage in foreign relations.
4. There must be effective and independent governmental control over a permanent population.
Only if the Palestinian entity satisfies the traditional criteria for statehood by exercising independent and sovereign governmental control (including the capacity to freely engage in foreign relations) over a permanent population in a defined territory over which it has possession, can its recognition as a sovereign state be considered.
It concludes that “should the Palestinian Authority unilaterally declare a state, under present circumstances, it would not meet these legal criteria, and hence should not be recognized.” That doesn’t mean it won’t be.