Is Palestinian autonomy plan back on Likud table?

By Mazal Mualem, AL MONITOR Posted January 20, 2017

The political discourse in Israel’s ruling Likud Party is undergoing a refreshing change. After proposing all kinds of populist laws and issuing all sorts of populist declarations, one Knesset member is trying to get his party to discuss a diplomatic plan designed to serve as an alternative to the vision of the Oslo Accord and the two-state solution.

On Jan. 14, Yoav Kisch, a former air force pilot and now a Knesset member for the Likud, presented an “autonomy plan” that he formulated over the past few weeks. Now he is trying to bring it up for discussion in the Likud Party’s governing institutions. Kisch claims that it makes no sense for the largest party on the right to reject the two-state solution without having a comprehensive diplomatic vision for resolving the conflict with the Palestinians along those lines. This, he continues, is especially necessary for “the day after the Obama administration.”

According to his plan, those territories in the West Bank in which Palestinians live — some 40% of the total territory — will be declared an autonomous Palestinian entity, to be run by an elected Palestinian council. This council will deal with civil issues such as transportation, law, the economy and water, while security will remain in Israeli hands. Kisch said that this will ensure that no one, whether Palestinian or Jewish, will be uprooted from their homes in the West Bank.

Kisch decided to announce his plan just before the launching of the second Paris conference Jan. 15. With the diplomatic process in the spotlight again, if only for a moment, this timing was supposed to be to his advantage. But then the news from Europe was overshadowed by the investigation into Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s dealings and their potentially dramatic political implications. That, if anything, could reshuffle the Israeli political deck.

Kisch approached Netanyahu and asked to present the plan to him. He explained that his proposal is based on the original autonomy plan raised by former Prime Minister and Likud Chairman Menachem Begin in 1977 as part of the peace accords with Egypt. Netanyahu promised to hear what Kisch has to say, but he has yet to find the time for it. A future discussion about the Likud’s need for a diplomatic plan could be beneficial and interesting. Kisch hopes that even with the uncertainty mood, time will somehow be found for it.

Kisch calls for the abrogation of the Oslo Accord as a preliminary step toward the implementation of Palestinian autonomy. “For too many years, we’ve been held hostage to the concepts of Oslo. We engaged in negotiations, only to receive more and more violence,” he said in an interview with Al-Monitor. “We are now being presented with a one-time window of opportunity for the day after [President Barack] Obama leaves the White House and [President Donald] Trump enters the Oval Office. It is incumbent on us to present a diplomatic vision to resolve the conflict in Judea and Samaria through unilateral actions by the State of Israel. It is time to change the discourse. There is no occupation here, because a people cannot be occupier in its own country. It is not annexation either, but the imposition of sovereignty over our own land.”

He added, “Right now, the Israeli public is being presented with two options: the first, a two-state solution, and the second, a binational state. This misrepresents the situation by presenting it in black and white terms. Both options would be a disaster. We are facing a period in which [Palestinian President] Mahmoud Abbas might leave the stage and the Palestinian Authority collapses. We must be ready for that moment.”

Kisch has chosen to adopt Begin’s plan for Palestinian autonomy, even though 40 years have passed since it was first proposed. During this period, Israel has spent two decades and more negotiating with the Palestinians on the basis of a two-state solution. Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin set the path in the early 1990s, and it was followed by all the succeeding prime ministers: Shimon Peres, Ehud Barak, Ariel Sharon, Ehud Olmert and Netanyahu, who announced in his 2009 Bar Ilan speech that he has adopted the two-state solution.

According to Kisch, Netanyahu’s statement in that speech did not constitute a serious commitment on his part. “All Netanyahu did was make one mention of ‘two states’ in his Bar Ilan speech,” Kisch argued, “but even then, he made it conditional on all sorts of terms, and in fact, it is no longer relevant. We will never agree to the right of return [of Palestinian refugees], nor will we agree to assault the integrity of Jerusalem in any way. What all this means is that we will not reach an agreement.”

Like so many on the right, Kisch considers Trump’s presidency to be a rare gift to the State of Israel. Kisch would rather ignore the rest of the international community, like the European Union and the United Nations, and the ways that they are applying increased pressure to establish a Palestinian state. This constitutes a structural failing of his diplomatic vision.

“The program does not pretend to be perfect,” Kisch said. “What I am saying is that Israel should initiate something, that the region is in flux, that Oslo is risky and no longer relevant, and that we have to take our fate into our own hands. It is up to us to present the world with a diplomatic vision concerning the future of Judea and Samaria, to strengthen Israel’s security and to ensure its future as a Jewish and democratic state. Of course, all this will need to be coordinated with other states. The Palestinians have been very successful in instilling a narrative of occupation among the international community. With a new American president, who is not won over by that concept, this is our chance to explain that a people cannot be occupiers in their own land.”

Kisch’s autonomy plan may come complete with detailed maps and sketches, but all in all, it would be a unilateral move that fails to take Palestinian opposition into account. The plan involves three stages.

Stage one is application of Israeli sovereignty over West Bank territories, apart from those areas that would constitute the Palestinian Autonomy, repeal of the Oslo Accord, the dismantling of the Palestinian Authority and the dismantling of the military administration.

Stage two of the plan involves creating the autonomous area, renovating the refugee camps and working toward economic peace. Some 15% of the territory that is not part of the autonomous area will be devoted to serving as transportation corridors between the various segments of the autonomy. Arabs living in those areas of the West Bank that are not part of the autonomy will be given the choice to receive Israeli residency with the option of obtaining citizenship or of receiving residency status in the autonomy. The administration created for the autonomy will encompass all aspects of civilian life, while maintaining close ties with the Israeli authorities.

Stage three involves regional diplomatic accords that respond to the issues of the refugees and Jerusalem.

Kisch’s plan is good enough to further a serious and meaningful discussion within the Likud, but it ignores a wide range of international factors, the fact that there have been two intifadas since Begin first proposed his autonomy plan and diplomatic developments since then. On the other hand, it cannot be ignored that this new plan reflects the mood of the Israeli right and, perhaps, not just the right, that the vision of Oslo is no longer relevant, and there is no one to talk to on the Palestinian side. These attitudes have been bolstered considerably since Trump’s election. It looks like the post-Oslo era is about to begin.

January 24, 2017 | 16 Comments » | 71 views

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16 Comments / 16 Comments

  1. xxx

    Why the hell do these well-meaning dunderheads so often come up with plans or ideas which have some possible working parts, and then ruin everything by foolishly, stupidly, outrageously, soft-headed cretinous ideas like the possibility of giving Arabs….ARABS, murderous barbarians, who’ve been thirsting for our very blood and committing the most heinous crimes against innocent men and especially women and helpless children, for so many years, and centuries ,…….CITIZENSHIP.. ….I ASK you all…..???

    I am totally agaist giving a single Arab educated or ignorant, citizenship in Israel. They have no right to be here, and even if they had, they LOST that right by their murderous and obscene behaviour against helpless citizens. They all deserve to be thrust out into the desert with no water of food , and let them rot. And if anyone thinks I don’t mean it…. let it happen and I’ll stand at the gate with a loaded tommy gun.

  2. The Palestinians will say this is no different than South Africa under the apartheid regime with Bophutatswana and other self managing areas. It failed to satisfy the ANC and it will fail to convince the Pals and the World of the wicked UN and EU. It is probably a great plan but better would be to say plain “No” to any form of Palestinian state on Israeli land until they change their ways, accept Israel’s right to exist and if the Arabs want a war, let them start one and lose again.

  3. Bennett just said the same thing in today’s paper except he is not offering them citizenship:

    But, he did change one thing for the better. Note, in his speech, instead of saying “descendants of Palestinian Refugees,” he said, “descendants of Palestinian Immigrants.” Right on; they are, after all the descendants of illegal immigrants during the Mandate period, for the most part, when the British turned a blind eye to illegal Arab immigration while strictly enforcing restrictions on Jewish immigration.

    Otherwise, fails to deal with the issue of terrorism and the fact that the only authority there currently is the PA, which will steal much of any funding or supplies to feather their own nests or facilitate terror. Who will implement this autonomy on the pal side? Will they have elections, negotiate with the traditional clan leadership as has been suggested — the “nine emirates” plan”?

    Their whole raison d’etre for Oslo has been the 1974 PLO Phased Plan, a Trojan Horse to destroy Israel in stages. They’ve never said anything else in Arabic and every Poll says that’s what the pal street wants. Who in their right mind would eliminate check points and give these homicidal maniacs free access to Jewish areas in Israel?

    Absolutely true that they will say it is like Bantustans*, as Russell said. Just, as they are saying now. Even now, they and their advocates deny that Barak offered them nearly everything they asked for in 2000. Many actually say Gaza is still “occupied!” My quotes not theirs. You can’t occupy your own land.

    *While we’re on the subject, I googled the much maligned Bantustans:

    “The Homelands | South African History Online
    May 9, 2016 – The Bantustans or homelands, established by the Apartheid Government, were areas to which the majority of the Blacks population was moved to prevent them from living in the urban areas of South Africa. The Bantustans were a major administrative mechanism for the removal of Blacks …”

    Change “Blacks” to “Arabs” or “Muslims” or “Palestinians” and I ask you, what’s wrong with it? The main criticism leveled is that it is “unsustainable.” But, is it? Look at history. Look at the world today. Is it really? Even S. African Apartheid — and Rhodesian apartheid. Nobody mentions that, I guess because they are so embarrassed about what it turned into under Mugabe and Co. — only crumbled because their own leaders had second thoughts in the face of international criticism — just like with the Soviet Union and E. Germany. It could hurt the economy, you say. Well, is it hurting China, Saudi Arabia, any number of other countries? Won’t they criticize Israel no matter what she does? Do anti-BDS laws in the U.S. even really make a difference, assuming they would be repealed? I mean, we didn’t give national or even individual civil rights to Germans, Japanese, Italians during our World Wars when they were on the other side and terrorism or espionage was a concern. The ethnic Germans of formerly Nazi-occupied countries were deported without a qualm by the “international Community” after the war. During the Iraq war there was serious talk of doing that with Muslims. Under Nixon and Reagan, preventative detention for Leftists was on the table. Even Teddy Kennedy toyed with it. Certainly Wilson.

    Conclusion: On the other hand, the important thing is just to establish sovereignty. The rest can be rescinded as it is shown to be crazy and unworkable. The pals have provided a model for that. Promise anything until you have your structures and people on the ground, then do as you please. It has to be gotten past the liberals in power in Israel herself. The pal proto-governmental structures must be dismantled and Jewish settlement permitted. Above all, Jewish sovereignty over all of Eretz Israel must be affirmed and upheld. So, in the light of that, Bennett’s plan, or any other like that, is fine. They’re killing us now. It will get worse for a while. I mean, seriously.

    Warning, Metaphor alert, reposting:

  4. @ Sebastien Zorn:
    In using the buzz word, “Imagine” Bennett is appealing to the liberal sensibility.

    John Lennon’s “Imagine” was and is the Progressive manifesto. It also neatly sums up the earliest goals of all Anarchist, Socialist and Communist utopias which only differed on means and whether or not a transition period was required, and if so, what sort.

    Here’s the lyrics. Neatly sums it all up in black and white.

  5. (cont.)
    @ Sebastien Zorn:
    In using the buzz word, “Imagine,” Bennett is appealing to the liberal sensibility.

    John Lennon’s “Imagine” was and is the Progressive manifesto. It also neatly sums up the earliest goals of all Anarchist, Socialist and Communist utopias which only differed on means and whether or not a transition period was required, and if so, what sort.

    Here’s the lyrics. Neatly sums it all up in black and white.

    But, Israel has to be first on the chopping block, even to the point of romanticizing and siding with Israel’s monstrous totalitarian enemies. That’s where the anti-semitism comes in.

    No. It’s not possible to criticize Israel without being anti-semitic — unless you are saying Israel doesn’t do enough for Jews — precisely because it’s the only foreign* country that every idiot on the street and his cousin has an opinion about!

    Or even has any idea of where it is.

    During the Gulf War under Bush I, I heard a news piece on the radio that said that most Americans didn’t know where the Gulf was. So, I had the funny image of American troops, upon hearing that we were going to war in the Gulf, opening fire on Mexico.

    * I was and am surprised that so little was made of this:

    I might add to the article that in Iran, that Obama was so friendly with, Jews have been executed for communicating with relatives in Israel. I recently posted the link to the article in Arutz Sheva about a building in Iran just collapsed this past week that had been built in the ’70s when Khomaniac came to power, by an Iranian Jewish businessman executed for just that. I commented, “heavenly retribution, karmic justice?”

    And for those who say that barring muslim immigration and monitoring those here would serve as a precedent to be used against other groups like Jews, contrast the above with:

    Which in, turn, makes one wonder about what the “Gold Star” Shariah supremacist dad’s son (the one at the dem convention) would have done if he had lived. Joining the military is a time-honored way of gaining acceptance and entree. People fight for all sorts of reasons. I need more than that to designate somebody a hero.

  6. @ Sebastien Zorn:
    Bennetts plan is actually very similar. He does make a general statement in plan outline about offering choice of citizenship or residency to Arabs in Area C. These he states are about 80K.

    I do not believe while Netanyahu is Prime Minister Israel will annex more than the Settlement Blocks.

    Hopefully that will start with Ma’lah Adumim after he meets with Trump.

  7. @ Edgar G.:

    I like your way to say things, Edgar: brutally humorous.

    The Torah Opinion

    There is only 1 instance in The Torah in which non-Jews are accepted to live among The People of Israel, providing they accept 2 conditions.

    1) They have to adhere to a Covenant with The Almighty; that is, they have to accept Jewish Elohim and Lord. This means they have to give up their gods and beliefs; or remain out of Israel.
    2) They have to work as servants of the Jews: helping the needs of Israel, under Israel’s orders.

    Here is the Torah passage that clearly says what many people may consider outrageous. This passage is part of the Moab Covenant that replaced the Sinai Covenant, after The People of Israel broke it, making a gold calf and worshipping it. The Moab Covenant was made before Moses death and just before the entrance of The People of Israel to The Promised Land.

    D’va 29:10 You have come here today, all of you, before the Lord your God; the heads of your tribes, the overseers, and those who are in authority over you, with all the men of Israel,
    D’va 29:11 And your little ones, your wives, and the men of other lands who are with you in your tents, down to the wood-cutter and the servant who gets water for you:
    D’va 29:12 With the purpose of taking part in the agreement of the Lord your God, and his oath which he makes with you today:
    D’va 29:13 And so that he may make you his people today, and be your God, as he has said to you, and as he made an oath to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

    NO PALESTINE should enter freely to Eretz Yisrael, unless these 2 conditions are met.
    You can´t go wrong if you obey The Torah. You can’t be right if you disobey The Torah.


    D’va 29:5 For forty years I have been your guide through the waste land: your clothing has not become old on your backs, or your shoes on your feet.
    D’va 29:6 You have had no bread, or wine, or strong drink: so that you might see that I am the Lord your God.
    D’va 29:7 When you came to this place, Sihon, king of Heshbon, and Og, king of Bashan, came out to make war against us and we overcame them:
    D’va 29:8 And we took their land and gave it to the Reubenites and the Gadites and the half-tribe of Manasseh, for their heritage.
    D’va 29:9 So keep the words of this agreement and do them, so that it may be well for you in everything you do.

    D’va 29:10 You have come here today, all of you, before the Lord your God; the heads of your tribes, the overseers, and those who are in authority over you, with all the men of Israel,
    D’va 29:11 And your little ones, your wives, and the men of other lands who are with you in your tents, down to the wood-cutter and the servant who gets water for you:
    D’va 29:12 With the purpose of taking part in the agreement of the Lord your God, and his oath which he makes with you today:
    D’va 29:13 And so that he may make you his people today, and be your God, as he has said to you, and as he made an oath to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

    D’va 29:14 And not with you only do I make this agreement and this oath;
    D’va 29:15 But with everyone who is here with us today before the Lord our God, as well as with those who are not here:

  8. Friedman went on: “The critical thing is to recognize that there is not going to be any progress on a Palestinian state until the Palestinians renounce violence and accept Israel as a Jewish state. Until that happens, there is really nothing to talk about in terms of a political process.”

  9. @ bernard ross:

    The can “renounce and accept” until they are blue in the face but it should make NO DAMNED difference to Israel. They have gone many years “beyond the pale” with their heinous terrorism, and barbaric obscenities…like creeping into homes to slit the throats of sleeping children etc.etc.

    That can NEVER be forgiven, because all the time this was happening, the Jewish People exemplified by Israel, held out the hand of friendship and benevolence many, many times, only to have it bitten off. They come to our hospitals by the tens of thousand every year–OUR FOREIGN ARAB ENEMIES at perpetual war with us. They get electricity and won’t pay for it, they are warned during war, several minutes before, that the house is going to be bombed Israel does so many GOOD things to their bitterest enemies that it would now be the greatest foolishness to ever give them even a drink of water. By the way they steal so much water with illicit wells and tapping into water mains etc, and PAY NOTHING.

    Like Julian Rose’s Mrs. Greenberg, who “enjoyed very bad health, but lately was complaining that she feels a bit better”… That’s the way the Arabs are, no matter what’s done for them, they expect it..and MORE, and all for no payment…and NO THANKS proffered, never satisfied.

    And who can forgive them for destroying whole generations of their kids by teaching them from birth to hate Jews who, they say, are descended from apes and pigs…

    During the last Gaza War, their electric system was destroyed, and hospital patients and home populations suffered from the lack. Israel sent out workmen to fic it for them, DURING THE WAR….. and they were shot at, I believe that several were wounded, maybe killed not sure of that.

    I would let them rot in hell, as I’ve alrady said, only they must also bring their 72 virgins with them….. That will get rid of 73 Arabs at a time; for just one bullet.

  10. @ Russell:

    We must only increase the pressure on the remaining Arabs, not relieve it.

    It’s like the sanctions on Iran, why incentivize them?
    The Arab leadership must be punished not rewarded.

    Abu Miserable Mazen has overtly threatened declared war on Israel upon the move of the embassy. War is war . . . and if he is a smart Moslem it would be a good time for him to beat it to his Swiss chalet and numbered accounts.

  11. JoeBillScott™ (@JoeBillScott) Said:

    to beat it to his Swiss chalet and numbered accounts.


    They used to, in the good old days, when the Arabs used their left hands for unmentionable purposes (in good society like ours) poetically refer to it as…

    “folding up their tents and stealing quietly away”….

    I would assume that they also stole everything not nailed down as well…

  12. This tactic really goes back to the ancient Greek war with Persia with the appeasement offer of half the kingdom to the Emperor Darius the son of Xerxes.

    When offered half he knew he get everything.

  13. @ Lev Azkhar:
    I did not see the 2 conditions in the passages to which you referred, could you highlight them. Also the transaltion is odd as to who is speaking… sometimes it appears to be Hashem and other times Moses.

  14. Bear Klein Said:

    The above is Kisch plan as outlined in the JPost

    I didnt see much difference between that and bennett without maps… but he appears to be giving them sovereignty over the land on which they reside.
    My own view is that Israel should cease to sugar coat the whole thing and deal with it as a reality problem to solve in the interests of the Jews. First, their behavior has disallowed them from any soveriegnty or citizenship west of the Jordan.. they can coexist in an autonomy designated by Israel only as long as they behave without anti semitism in all their instituitions including their mosques… any problems means immeddiate deportation… for now they have a defacto state in gaza… I would simply say they are non citizen guests or temporary resident until they move to gaza or elswhere… if they behave they can live in peace, if not they must go.
    I have never heard of anyone of them in all the decades discuss or show any interest in the needs and interests of the Jews… hence, their interests are clearly of no concern of mine and should be of no concern to Israelis…. that should be said outright. Non belligerence should be shown to be of more interest to them than to Israelis… when they are deported for anti semitic statements, curricula, or any other annoying behavior… they will get the picture. In switzerland a twenty year american resident was turned down for citizenship on the basis of her swiss neighbors disliking her…. makes sense to me.
    Israelis and Jews worry too much about their interests, their concerns, their reactions, their feelings…. I dont give one craaap.. and that is exactly what Israel should say to the world about their concerns. Let them come with proposals about how they can rectify their damages to jews and how they could solve Jewish concerns. Let them make proposals that solve concerns of Israel. Let them come up with an acceptable plan to satisfy the original agreements on the mount and to satisfy jewish needs, if they cant there is nothing to talk about of any interest. Why should Israel even want to give them peace, I hope they suffer and live in misery. if you are not for yourself, who will be?

  15. Don’t these people read the newspapers? How can it ever be safe to give these “people” autonomy of any sort?

    To the question, can Israel be both Jewish and democratic in the long run, the answer is yes. The only way it can be democratic at all is if it is Jewish. the only way it can be a safe country is to have democratic majority rule for the Jewish majority and Jewish military dictatorship and segregation over the arab minority until they can be pushed or thrown out. The arabs should have to get signed and notarized permission in triplicate to take a dump and anybody who complains should be flogged or shot. Or both. But, unlike other despotisms, it should be benevolently liberal in allowing them to leave.

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