Rethinking Israel's Position on the Palestinian Authority

If Obama is rethinking his position on Israel, we can do the same.

Att'y Steven M. Goldberg

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Ever since Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's stunning, decisive victory in Israel's elections, the Obama Administration has been issuing warnings that it is reassessing its previous support for Israel in the international community.  Bitterly disappointed at the outcome of the election, President Obama and his spokespeople claim that their reassessment is the result of Netanyahu's statements on the eve of the election that apparently repudiated his previous support for the two-state solution.  Their delicate feelings were also hurt by the Prime Minister's truthful statement on the day of the election that foreign sources were bringing Israeli-Arabs to the voting booth "en masse" in a coordinated effort to defeat him.

Among the threats being issued by the White House and State Department representatives is the warning that the United States is likely to refrain from vetoing, and even might support, a resolution in the United States Security Council calling for the creation of a Palestinian state along the 1967 lines, the halting and dismantling of Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria, and the division of Jerusalem.  The Obama Administration is also threatening to allow Israel's enemies to bring criminal actions against Israel and various senior political and military officers in international courts.

These threats must be taken seriously.  If implemented, Israel and its citizens could face serious sanctions until Obama is replaced by a friendlier President.


He has his eye on the calendar and will not let his remaining 22 months in office pass without seriously punishing the Jewish state.
The Israeli government cannot sidestep these threats by stalling for time in the hope that Obama's term in office will soon expire and a friendlier President of the United States will replace him.  Obama's undeniable antipathy towards Israel and determination to midwife the birth of a Palestinian state should not be underestimated.  He has his eye on the calendar and will not let his remaining 22 months in office pass without seriously punishing the Jewish state.  

Consequently, the Prime Minister's effort to explain away his campaign statements pledging to oppose the creation of a Palestinian state as a misunderstanding is doomed to fail.  

Nevertheless, Israel has the power immediately to thwart the efforts to force a Palestinian state down its throat.  The Prime Minister can announce that the Israeli government has reassessed its longstanding support for, and protection of, the Palestinian Authority. 
         
He can declare that, from this point forward, Israel will no longer turn over tax revenues to the Palestinian Authority.  That money can be applied to reduce the much larger debt that the Palestinian Authority owes to the Israeli Electric Authority.
         
Prime Minister Netanyahu can announce that if the Palestinians want independence, they can have it, in spades.  The Palestinian Authority will be responsible for providing its own people with electricity, water and other government services.  No longer will Israel assume that responsibility. 

The Palestinian Authority will be responsible for building its own economy and finding employment for its people, as Palestinians will no longer be able to cross the Green Line to find employment by Israelis.

Finally, Netanyahu can announce that the IDF will no longer offer physical protection to Mahmoud Abbas and other officials of the Palestinian Authority.  Abu Mazen and his henchmen can rely on their own forces to protect them from the tender mercies of Hamas.
           
This will, of course, lead to the immediate disintegration of the Palestinian Authority.  There will be a civil war among various Palestinian factions, and the Arab areas of Judea and Samaria will soon start to resemble what is left of Syria and Iraq as the Palestinians begin to slaughter each other. 
   
There will also be a cost to Israel, including an attempted surge of terrorism against the Jews of Judea and Samaria, as well as inside the Green Line. The Israeli government must be prepared to take severe measures to prevent it.  
         
The United Nations, the European Union and the Obama Administration will also be furious, but it will pass, as there will be nothing they can do to create a Palestinian state once the Palestinian Authority no longer exists.  
       
The collapse of the Palestinian Authority will not be cost free to Israel, which is why Abbas frequently issues empty threats to dismantle the Palestinian Authority himself.  It would be delusional to believe that Israel can avoid the imposition of a Palestinian state without paying a price.  Such a price, however, is small change compared to the catastrophe that would result from the creation of a Palestinian state and the benefit of terminating that threat once and for all.
         
It is unrealistic, of course, to expect that the Israeli government will declare the termination of Israel's cooperation with the Palestinian Authority at this time without provocation.  The Prime Minister's  cautious nature precludes such a bold move.  Nevertheless, the possibility that Israel will take this step in response to any change in support by the United States for Israel in various international bodies should be floated.
         
Simply put, if the Obama Administration can reassess its position with regard to Israel, the Netanyahu government can reassess its position with regard to the Palestinian Authority.  The street runs two ways.



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