All of this underlines the importance of Israeli extraction from the occupied territories and from the Palestinians' internecine conflict. So long as progress is predicated on Palestinian cooperation and control of their own radical groups, then the Israeli/Palestinian conflict will be controlled by those least interested in peace.
Unless the Palestinians can reign in their extremist elements, there just aren't a lot of good ways of reaching a diplomatic settlement. In the meantime, Israel could disengage with the Palestinian territories, treating them as a sovereign state and responding to continued violence from Palestine as an act of war, rather than internal unrest. That could short-circuit the problem of intractable radicals. If terrorism becomes a threat to the existence of the Palestinian government, rather than a useful excuse for its impotence, one would expect more Palestinian policing or self-restraint.
I'm not sure I fully understand the position Jon is advocating. I don't know whether it's because I don't understand what Jon has written, or because what Jon has written is unclear.
The reason that Israeli troops are marching into Gaza right now is that, previously, Israel did withdraw completely from Gaza, turned it over to the PA, forced Israeli settlers in Gaza to remove themselves from the territory, and set up an international border between Israel and Gaza.
Palestinian militants then began shelling Israeli territory with rockets, to which the Israelis responded. Then, a few days ago, Palestinians crossed the border, killed two soldiers, and kidnapped a third. So, Israel is invading Gaza once again, to conduct (depending on who's talking) a search for their missing soldier, or a punitive raid. As far as I can tell, Israel has been doing precisely what Jon suggests, which is to "disengage with the Palestinian territories, treating them as a sovereign state and responding to continued violence from Palestine as an act of war, rather than internal unrest."
If we view Gaza as we properly should, which is as a laboratory for total disengagement from the West Bank, I have to wonder how following a similar policy in the West Bank would be any more successful than it has been in Gaza. If an Israeli withdrawal in Gaza didn't result in the PA restraining the more militant elements of the population there, how can we posit the situation in the West bank would be any different.
Maybe "Militant groups like Hamas don't usually respond productively to force," but it's hard to argue that they responded productively to an Israeli withdrawal from Gaza either.
As far as I can see, it doesn't matter much what the Israelis do as long as a significant portion of the Palestinian population is more interested in pushing the Israelis into the sea than in building a stable society in Palestinian territories. Moreover, in the current atmosphere, I just don't see how terrorism can become "a threat to the existence of the Palestinian government."
Unless Israeli punitive raids consist of rounding up Palestinian government officials and shooting them pour encourager les autres, Israel isn't really a threat to the PA government. Israel will come in, shoot some militants and leave. As far as I can tell, that's a plus for the PA. Israelis take care of at least a part of the extremist problem, the existence of the PA government itself isn't threatened, and the PA government doesn't have to incur any displeasure from militant groups by cracking down.
That's a win/win from the PA's point of view.
The fulcrum of progress in the Palestinian territories has very little to do with Israeli policy. The nexus of progress is the PA's willingness to shut down its indigenous terrorists. And I guess I don't see how Israel can induce them to do that, short of responding in Roman fashion to provocations.
I don’t think that withdrawing troops from the occupied area and letting them self-govern a province is quite the same as establishing completely separate States, with all of the diplomatic, military and border obligations that entails. The Palestinians are in something more like Hong Kong’s position, where they can mostly set their own rules, but the ChiComs reserve the right to do whatever they decide to do. Until a Palestinian State is genuinely established, the self-governance of provinces isn’t quite the same.
I’m just not sure this can be done with half-measures. Until the Palestinians get some semblance of imbedded institutions with interests they actually want to protect, there’s not much chance of them choosing to fight in the political realm. That’s why it seems to me this has to be a State VS State battle, rather than a State vs rag-tag bunch of poverty-stricken people with little to lose. They need an institutional reason to buy in that they just don’t have with the patchwork self-governing provinces.
Okay, but the question I have is how does Israel accomplish such a thing? What do they do that will cause this Palestinian state to start to exist? I see little evidence the Palestinian authority has any interest in actually becoming a legitimate state. I am not just speaking of Hamas, but Fatah as well. Even if I am wrong however, what is Israel’s course of action?
Unless Israeli punitive raids consist of rounding up Palestinian government officials and shooting them pour encourager les autres, Israel isn’t really a threat to the PA government. Israel will come in, shoot some militants and leave. As far as I can tell, that’s a plus for the PA. Israelis take care of at least a part of the extremist problem, the existence of the PA government itself isn’t threatened, and the PA government doesn’t have to incur any displeasure from militant groups by cracking down.
That’s a win/win from the PA’s point of view.
What Israel can do- what they should do- is what they won’t do.
Fish or cut bait. In other words, either do what they can in assisting the creation of a Palestinian state, or grant the right of suffrage to the Palestinians who live under their jurisdiction. Or do both.
The idea that the Palestinians in the West Bank don’t get the right to vote is whacked. Think about it. Why isn’t this is an issue, given how much money we give to the Israelis.
I do not know but suspect that there are peaceful, well meaning, family oriented people in Palestine. Their lives are ruled by Israelis - and have been for 30 years - who can really say they do not have a right to vote for the people who run the government who run their lives.
Why is this ok? Seriously. The Iraq War is about democracy for Iraqi people, purportedly. Well, why aren’t we spending as much energy trying to give suffrage rights to Palestinians?
To answer the question entitled in the post: Israel should either get out, or grant full rights to Palestinians if it is not prepared to get out. Will that solve the problems? Who knows. But it can and should be done.
MK- Palestinians in Palestinian territory (or "occupied territory" if you prefer the popular leftist term) are allowed to vote. For the Palestinian Authority which does exercise control over Palestinian territory. They exercised that right when they elected Hamas. A band of terrorists whose central creed is destruction of the Israeli state. That’s who the peaceful, well-meaning, family oriented people elected.
As for what Israel can do: they are in fact "getting out." They have already abandoned certain areas of Palestinian territory and are even now finalizing a concrete plan to set Israel’s new borders. Unfortunately, the more they pull-back, the more Hamas attacks them. Hmm... wonder how this really changes anything.
To paraphrase (I think) Golda Meir, the Palestinians care more about killing Israelis than they care about getting their own state. The Palestinians didn’t cross the border, nor did they launch rockets into Israel because Israel didn’t grant them full autonomy (Jon’s Hong Kong reference), they did so because there were Israelis on the other side... and killing Israelis seems to be pretty much all the Palestinians want to do. Perhaps to be fair, I ought to say that not every Palestinian wants to kill Israelis, but enough of them do, and with the refusal of the others to rein in those who do, the end result is the same.
The Israelis are doing now nothing more than what they’ve done in the past. They get riled up, they enter ’Palestinian’ areas, they rummage around a bit, a few ’innocent’ Palestinians get killed, international pressure (along with that of the US, who remains unable to see the parallels between the terror Israel faces and the terror we face) builds on the Israelis and, in a matter of days, if not hours, the Israelis, driven in no small part by the same head-in-the-sand mentality that allowed millions of Jews to get onto trains and head off to concentration camps, will withdraw back to their territory, only to, like the shampoo, repeat again sometime in the future.
What the Israelis are doing isn’t working. Like idiots, they are doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. If they truly want to accomplish something, they need to change the dynamic... and in a significant way, not in a mere variation of what they’ve done in the past.
For example, and putting this out only for illustration purposes, why don’t the Israelis put pressure on the Egyptians, Jordanians and Syrians to control the Palestinians. I wouldn’t think Assad or Mubarak want to go to war with the Israelis over the Palestinians, so a few sincere threats to start taking out, for example, Syrian infrastructure might lead to something positive. Likewise, Iran is a big backer of the Palestinians... yet the Israelis have never held the Iranians accountable... that ought to change. And, since the Palestinians need proximity to Israelis in order to kill Israelis, why don’t the Israelis push the Palestinians far enough back from Israeli territory - and totally restrict Palestinian entry into Israel - that the Palestinians no longer have the access to kill Israelis that they want so badly? Create a very big DMZ... and everytime the Palestinians demonstrate the ability to launch a missile over it into Israel, push the buffer zone back another 25 miles.
I’m not claiming that any of these are guaranteed to work... it is just that what the Israelis are doing - and continuing to do - is guaranteed to not work.
If we assume Israel is not able to genocide, ethnically cleanse or accept as citizens the Palestinians. And that a return to policing the territories is likely to be as an expensive waste of time as it was before withdrawl. And that the Palestinians are not going to start accepting the Israellis as good neighbours worthy of trust. Then there is only one avenue that offers peace.
A cold war. The Palestinian state or statelets get to be convinced that attacking Israel piecemeal with homemade rockets and small force insertion is a waste of time and only invites massive retaliation. The Palestinians form the one truly important imbedded institution - a military - then spend time equipping and training it into a form whereby it can threaten Israel. To achieve this Israel needs to create a border it will not retreat from and undertake massive retaliations for any incursion over that border. This is what Israel is doing. Hopefully within the next few years we will see the development of a border similar to those in Korea or Cyprus, with Palestine pointing chemical weapons at Israel and the Israellis pointing nuclear weapons back.
Problems exist in the form of religious fanatics who view the land as solely the preserve of their faith and view the opposing side as subhumans needing to be attacked as soon as possible.