Establishing a Palestinian State: an Existential Israeli Interest

In his Yedioth Ahronoth column (12/26/07), Sever Plocker claims that the current political-security reality is ultimately leading towards a bi-national state. Therefore, the establishment of an independent Palestinian State is first and foremost an existential Israeli interest.

After describing the current situation between Israel and the Palestinians as "two governments in one state", Plocker describes a number of characteristics and trends of the current political reality.

Palestinian Inversion towards the Occupation - It is possible to distinguish a growing trend among Palestinians who see Israel's presence in the West Bank as impetus for creating a bi-national state. Plocker describes recent meetings with Palestinians in which "the camp supporting an independent Palestinian State alongside Israel is growing smaller..."

The Reut Institute has named this trend the "Palestinian Inversion towards the Occupation"; this concept describes an approach becoming more widespread among Palestinians, that sees the continuation of Israeli occupation as a Palestinian interest.

The Customs Envelope and the issue of Israeli Responsibility - As an example of this Palestinian inversion towards the occupation, Plocker mentions the changing position towards the Customs Envelope: a unified customs and taxes regime that includes Israel, the West Bank and Gaza. According to Plocker, (and in contrast to past positions) Palestinian economists now want to maintain the customs envelope as a tangible expression of Israeli occupation.

The Reut Institute has previously contended that Israel should consider cancelling the Customs Envelope, either unilaterally or in coordination with the international community. This may contribute to stabilizing the Palestinian address, increasing political separation between Israel and the Palestinians and reducing Israeli responsibility over the residents of the Palestinian Authority (See: The End of the Era of the Israeli-Palestinian Customs Envelope).

Use of Apartheid Terminology to Promote Basic De-Legitimization of Israel - Plocker explains that comparisons between Israel's actions towards the Palestinians and the South African Apartheid regime are becoming more widespread. He understands the change from using the term 'occupation' to 'apartheid' as significant: "While the discourse over 'occupation' calls for independence and withdrawal by the occupier to his own territory and borders, the discourse over 'apartheid' calls for respecting the human rights of all ethnic and national groups living within that one state." (See: Basic De-Legitimization of Israel, Promotion of the 'One-State Solution' and Anti-Zionism).

Upgrading the PA - Plocker claims that the international community understands the erosion of the idea of the Two State Solution and is therefore promoting the rehabilitation of the PA in order to prevent its collapse. In this context, Plocker mentions the readiness of the West and Arab States to donate money to rehabilitate the Palestinian economy and help in the building of the Palestinian State.

The Reut Institute contends that while the international community may be able to strengthen the PA institutions, the key to upgrading the political status of the PA and bringing it closer to statehood lies with Israel. This could be done by lifting the restrictions on the political status of the PA as defined by the interim agreement between Israel and the PLO (See: Paris Donors Conference for the Palestinian State: The Ball is in Israel's Court and Upgrading the Palestinian Authority).

Source:

Sever Plocker, YNET, 12/26/07 full article.