What Follows the Disengagement Plan?

On the eve of the visits of Sharon and Abu-Mazen to the United States, the question of what follows the Disengagement Plan becomes acute. This document offers five policy-options.

On the eve of the visits of Sharon and Abu-Mazen to the United States, the question of what follows the Disengagement Plan becomes acute. Below are five policy-options.

What’s the Issue?

Israel's Disengagement Plan does not offer guidelines for the ensuing political process aside from a reference connecting it to the Roadmap.

PM Sharon reiterates his commitment to the Roadmap and to the idea of a Palestinian State with Provisional Borders (hereinafter “PSPB”) before discussions concerning Permanent Status.

However, it appears that the Roadmap is heading towards an impasse:

  • Israel maintains that a PSPB will be established in the Second Phase of the Roadmap without discussions on Permanent Status issues e.g. borders; refugees/right of return; Jerusalem or Holy Places;
  • Palestinians demand that PSPB not be established without assurances regarding the Third Phase (Permanent Status).

Why is this Important? Why Now?

Sharon and Abu-Mazen are scheduled to visit the United States. On the top of their agenda will be the question of what follows the Disengagement Plan.

The Palestinians fired the first shot concerning the aftermath of the Disengagement Plan:

  • The Palestinians said they wanted to skip the Second Phase of the Roadmap (PSPB) and advance directly to the Third Phase (Permanent Status);
  • Israel is adamant that a PSPB be established in the Second Phase of the Roadmap.

Under these circumstances, which currently lead to a deadlock, on the one hand,and Palestinian pressure to advance directly to discussions on Permanent Status,on the other hand, it is likely that pressure will be placed on:

  • Israel to present a viable political process following the Disengagement Plan;
  • Palestinians to adhere to the Roadmap, based on the idea of a PSPB that comes into being before a comprehensive agreement.

Policy Options

An additional Disengagement Plan that ends Israeli permanent military and civil presence (responsibility) in other parts of the West Bank.

Implement the First Phase of the Roadmap – focusing on the mutual obligationsof both sides (primarily fighting terror and a freeze on settlement building).

Move quickly to the Second Phase of the Roadmap

  • PSPB through Negotiations – seeking Israeli-Palestinian agreement concerning PSPB. This path is likely to lead to a deadlock;
  • PSPB through Unilateral Recognition – A series of steps to upgrade the political status of the Palestinian Authority to that of full-fledged statehood.

Skip to the Third Phase of the Roadmap to conclude a Permanent Status Agreement addressing all historical issues (permanent borders, refugees, etc.) anddefining all aspects of Israeli-Palestinian relations in Permanent Status as wasprovided for by the Oslo Agreements.