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Friday, March 11, 2011

Former Mossad director: No chance of final deal with 'Palestinians'

Former Mossad director Ephraim HaLevy, who in the past has advocated talking to Hamas, has concluded that there is no chance of Israel reaching a final solution with the 'Palestinians,' and therefore he believes that Israel should try to reach an interim deal.
The chances of realizing an ultimate peace treaty are low, said Halevy, who underscored that even if such a treaty were to be signed, it would take years to implement, and that regime changes on both sides of the divide, as well as in Europe and the United States, would mean that the people who signed the agreement would not be the ones to implement it, as a result of which the agreement would take on a different character and might even be stalled.

Another option was a dual border, which is essentially a political and security border. There was a moderate probability of realizing that option, but Halevy doubted that the weak and divided PA was capable of being a partner to such a process.

Yet another option was a Palestinian state within interim borders, and a special arrangement for Jerusalem. Here again, the probability of realization was characterized as moderate.

“If there is an interim border, the exact delineation will in future be of less gravity to both sides,” said Halevy.

The final option was no borders, on the path to a bi-national state – an option he said was possible, but not desirable to either side.

The team concluded that in this instance, the probability of realization was moderate-to-high, because Israeli governance was weak, and the government had little desire to advance toward an agreement. The PA, it said, is weak and undivided and unable to reach an agreement under the threat of Hamas; and Hamas, which is moderate to powerful, could resort to terrorism to torpedo any agreement.

There is powerful support on the part of both the Israeli and the Palestinian public for two states for two peoples, said Halevy, but there is also distrust on both sides, and settler opposition to evacuation is sufficiently powerful to stymie any agreement.

Halevy did not have a high opinion of the influence of the superpowers, which he said were “strong on statements but weak on power.”

Given the existing circumstances, the best option, according to Halevy, is one of interim borders. It is the most feasible, and would be most acceptable if a commitment were put in writing that this was not the final word, he said. His team believes that the penalty that each side would pay for no solution is so high that any other solution would be preferable.
Read the whole thing.

An interim deal would be suicidal on Israel's part for four reasons. First, because even if the 'Palestinians' agreed to it (a highly unlikely event that HaLevy wishes away in his calculations), they would insist on it having a termination date. Then what? Whenever the interim deal terminates we would be where we are today diplomatically but in a much worse position security-wise.

Second, the 'Palestinians' may not even wait for the deal to terminate to attack us. They may conclude that the borders are sufficiently advantageous to them, and they may succeed in importing enough weapons (just how are we going to stop that in Judea and Samaria, whose terrain is much less hospitable to 'security arrangements' than Gaza's) to decide that the time has come to attack. Or even if they don't go for all-out war, all it would take is an occasional rocket falling on Jerusalem, Tel Aviv or the airport to make life here completely chaotic. Anyone who thinks we're really going to go to war with the 'Palestinians' over a rocket that does anything less than down a loaded commercial jet needs to look at what has happened in Gaza since 2005 despite all the promises that if Hamas shot rockets at us the IDF would go right back in, be unrestrained, etc.

Third, HaLevy assumes that majorities both in Israel and among the 'Palestinians' want a 'two-state solution.' That's incorrect on both sides. Israelis want it until you get down to the nitty gritty of what we would have to give up. The 'Palestinians' don't even go that far. Survey after survey of the 'Palestinians' shows that a 'Palestinian state in the West Bank based on the 1967 borders with agreed changes' (the standard way that 'everyone knows' we're going to resolve the conflict) is not the end of the game for them. They would continue the conflict in a bid to destroy the Jewish state. Under those circumstances, an 'interim solution' would be even more dangerous than a 'permanent' one.

Fourth, the 'Palestinians' will never agree to an interim deal anyway, because they know that an interim deal would be a permanent deal for all the same reasons that HaLevy says a permanent deal is impossible.

And this is without even getting into the elephant in the room named Hamas, and what to do about Gaza and its control of Gaza.

The 'interim solution' is no solution - not even on an interim basis.

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At 6:24 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

An "interim deal" could be only be imposed on the Palestinians by force. That's the elephant in the room Ephraim HaLevy doesn't mention.

Is Israel going to force them to take it when they have already rejected it?

There will be no peace in our lifetime and the reason for that has everything to do with Palestinian rejection of a compromise peace with Israel and nothing to do with Israeli personalities or policy.


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