Would it be prudent for Israel to launch now the kind of unilateral initiative proposed by former Yesha Council Director Naftali Bennett, or is it best to leave well enough alone?
Under Bennett’s plan, Israel would annex Area C – where Jews live – granting full citizenship to the Palestinians residing in the area while at the same time Israel would make the heavy infrastructure investment required so that Palestinians residing in the remainder of the West Bank (under a “full” autonomy subject only to security-related limitations and restrictions on the return of refugees) could enjoy complete freedom of movement within and between those areas.
What’s wrong with continuing with the status quo?
That question itself hinges on a critical assumption, namely that the status quo can be reasonably expected to continue for the foreseeable future.
Will the Palestinians be able to change the situation on the ground or will they only spin their wheels in an ongoing series of international resolutions, declarations, and photo ops?
Would a second term President Obama pull all the stops to impose his vision on the West Bank, Jerusalem, and Gaza Strip?
Would a world facing a nuclear Iran seek to appease it by forcing Israel to make dramatic concessions to the Palestinians?
What’s the downside to acting now?
Would it shift the focus away from Iran?
Certainly in column inches and broadcast minutes, but that’s not necessarily the relevant measure.
As it stands today it would appear that an American and/or international decision to use force against the Iranian nuclear program would be driven by assessments of intelligence regarding progress in the Iranian program, with Israeli-Palestinian relations having little if any impact on – or relevance to – the decision making process.
And finally – is it better to implement Bennett’s plan already or instead to make preparations so that the plan can be implemented if and when the Palestinians cross some red line?
Is it realistic to assume that Israel would be able to annex Area C after the Palestinians took their move?
Certainly a lot to think about.
One thing is certain.
It would be a terrible mistake to postpone thinking this through.
Originally published by IMRA http://www.imra.org.il/story.php3?id=55982
About the Author: Dr. Lerner is the Director of IMRA (Independent Media Review & Analysis).
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