Thursday, December 5, 2013

Abbas Rejects U.S. Security Proposals--Or Not?

According to Reuters, Palestinian negotiators have rejected General John Allen's security proposals for a Palestinian state. What would reasonable security arrangements look like?

First, Palestine would have to be "nonmilitarized"--a strong police force, to maintain law and order, but no heavy weapons at all: no tanks, missiles, etc., or any way of acquiring them.

Two, the Palestinian border with Jordan, through which missiles and heavy armaments might be smuggled, would have to be patrolled by international forces, probably from NATO, with a strong contingent of Americans.

Three, there would have to be a procedural guarantee that no foreign army would be able to enter Palestine, and its government would not be permitted to enter into any military agreement with a country that does not recognize Israel.

Fourth, Israel would have the right to defend itself beyond the borders of a Palestinian state—say, against land forces massing on the eastern side of the Jordan River.

Fifth, Israel would reserve the right to hot pursuit of terrorists across the new borders.

Sixth, Israel would be allowed access to airspace over Palestine; overflight would be essential for training and reconnaissance.

Seventh, the Israel Defense Forces would have rights to disproportionate use of telecommunications spectrum (though commercial rights would be equalized under international law).

Eighth, Palestine and Israel would have to cooperate in a greater Jerusalem municipality and in sharing information regarding terrorism on both sides of the border.

Could Palestine possibly agree to such far-reaching proposals? For the record, President Abbas already has agreed to them, in his 2008 negotiations with Ehud Olmert.

“We don’t need a Palestinian army,” Abbas told me emphatically. “We don’t want an air force or tanks or rockets.” He insisted that the whole matter had been worked out with Gen. James Jones, who eventually became Obama’s national security adviser. “The file on security was closed,” he told me. “We do not claim it was an agreement, but the file was finalized.”

Nobody outside of the negotiations can know yet what Allen proposed. But let it not be said, as Israel's "friends in Washington no doubt will say, that Palestinian bargaining to get to a reasonable deal with Netanyahu is proof of bad faith.

1 comment:

Potter said...

Of course I do not know, but it seems to me that Israel has an almost insatiable need for security that if actual is one thing. But if this is really ultimately and ulteriorly about not getting to a deal that most Palestinians can accept reasonably,something just, then it's something else again:stalling for yet more time for the facts to increase in Israel supposed favor and make a deal impossible. Maybe we are at that moment or past it already as some believe and this amounts to theater again.

These constraints that Abbas will allegedly agree to seem to be skating very close to being more than reasonable and less than the ingredients of a just.deal unless the other parts of a deal are a lot more appealing and favorable.Palestinians have to be allowed to have the room to make a sovereign state to attain dignity and prove trustworthiness. I don't think there can be no risk for Israel. But Palestinians have a lot to lose if they blow their chance too, once given the opportunity.