by Yossi Ben-Aharon
We recently learned that shortly before he was deposed, Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi contacted al-Qaida and promised to help the terror group set up a base of operations in Sinai. Had Morsi remained in power, the Israel-Egypt border would have become an extension of the Gaza Strip and our peace treaty with Egypt would have gone up in smoke.
What was about to transpire in Egypt, what is taking place in Syria and Lebanon, and what the Arab nations seem to be going through in general, must be used as a cautionary tale when it comes to the Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations. The Palestinian Authority assumes that any agreement or treaty will have a dubious future, even if it is backed by American and international assurances -- the value of which we are already familiar with.
Let's assume that once a sovereign "Palestine" is formed its government strikes a "friendship treaty" with Iran or North Korea, and a few hundred "experts" visit it to consult on issues such as training the "national guard" or the formulation of an intelligence system; or that the Palestinian government would be willing to take in a few thousand refugees and with the U.N.'s assistance, houses them in refugee camps set up within view of Jerusalem or Petach Tikva; or that the Shin Bet security agency realizes that a few hundred jihadis have found their way to these refugee camps and have set up terror cells; or that Palestine holds general elections and Hamas wins and sets up a government in Ramallah. There are endless plausible scenarios. What will Israel do? Invade Palestine? Demand U.N. Security Council action? Ask the U.S. for help?
As a sovereign state, Palestine would enjoy immunity under international law and by the grace of the U.N. Any unilateral steps taken against it would be in gross violation of international law and Israel would be faced with censures and boycotts as a result, as well as Security Council sanctions. Anyone who thinks that the Security Council would notice that it was the Palestinian state which violated the peace deal and therefore should also be sanctioned is sorely mistaken.
The U.S. believes that every problem has a solution. That belief might suit reality as the Americans see it, but that is not the case in our neck of the woods. We have to deal with the fact that coexistence and true peace with a sovereign Arab state in the land of Israel is a recipe for disaster.
As fate would have it, both the late Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and late Prime Minister Menachem Begin indicated -- each in his own time and words -- that the only possible solution is an autonomous Palestinian regime under an Israeli umbrella. The Palestinian Authority is already autonomous. All that is lacking now is to formally set it as such, leaving it with opportunities for improvement -- if and when its credibility, and with it calm and security, proves solid.
Yossi Ben Aharon was director-general of the Prime Minister's Office under then-Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir.
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