Beware the “West Bank First” option

By Ted Belman

Remember Labour’s “Gaza First Option”. Look what it wrought. Now Israel and the State Department are seriously considering a “West Bank First” approach.

Martin Indyk wrote in the Washington Post

When fighting began this time, Fatah did little in the West Bank to counter Hamas’s onslaught. Abbas’s passivity further confirms that the fix was in. Abbas and Fatah have in effect conceded Gaza to Hamas while they hold on to the West Bank. Hamastan and Fatahstine: a “two-state solution” — just not the one that George W. Bush had in mind.

It may well be that this is US policy and perhaps Israel’s also. In support he offers,

The failed state of Gaza that Hamas controls is wedged between Egypt and Israel. Its water, electricity and basic goods are imported from the Jewish state, whose destruction Hamas has declared as its fundamental objective. One more Qassam rocket fired from Gaza into an Israeli village and Israel could threaten to seal the border if Hamas did not stop its attacks. Hamas would then have to reach a meaningful cease-fire with Israel or seek Egypt’s help meeting the basic needs of the 1.5 million Gazans. Hosni Mubarak’s regime turned a blind eye to the importation of weapons and money that helped ensure Hamas’s takeover. But would Egypt allow on its border a failed terrorist state run by an affiliate of the Muslim Brotherhood with links to Iran and Hezbollah? Or will it insist on the maintenance of certain standards of order in return for its cooperation?

He continues

This turn of events would free Abbas to focus on the much more manageable West Bank, where he can depend on the Israel Defense Forces to suppress challenges from Hamas, and on Jordan and the United States to help rebuild his security forces. As chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization and president of the Palestinian Authority, Abbas is empowered to negotiate with Israel over the disposition of the West Bank. Once he controls the territory, he could make a peace deal with Israel that establishes a Palestinian state with provisional borders in the West Bank and the Arab suburbs of East Jerusalem.

The US, in denial, wants fast track talks to boost Abbas by Stan Goodenough lays it out.

Whatever does “Palestinian state with provisional borders” mean? To my mind that is what the Arabs have now.

June 15, 2007 | Comments Off on Beware the “West Bank First” option

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