Dr. Rateb Amro
Dr. Rateb AmroIsrael news photo: Yoni Kempinski

A unilateral declaration of independence by the Palestinian Authority would achieve little for the Arabs and be little more than "a storm in a cup of coffee," opined Jordanian academic Dr. Rateb Amro, Director General and Founder of the Horizon Center for Studies and Research.

He also said that the PA did not have the right to agree to the 1949 Armistice borders because the UN partition resolution of 1947 granted the Arabs 44% of the "historical land of Palestine." Therefore agreeing to the 1949 borders is "a questionable proposition and an act of bad faith," in his opinion, because it cedes Israel land it gained in the War of Independence. 

"A unilateral Palestinian declaration would not change the situation on the ground," said Amro at the 11th Conference on Counter-Terrorism at the Inter-Disciplinary Center in Herzliya. "By itself, such a declaration could not bring about the evacuation of the settlements. The same of course goes for East Jerusalem, which the Palestinians would see as their capital."

The recognition of independence would generate a fundamental change in the nature of the Israeli-Palestinian dispute, Amro said. "It would become a dispute between two states – an independent Palestine would undoubtedly claim that Israel is occupying its territories." However, he noted, in this it would not be different from Syria, which also makes the same claim. 

Moreover, he noted, if Palestine were independent, Israel would have no responsibility for Gaza. "Hence Israel would not be obliged to allow passage between its territories and Palestine's territories – just as [with] Israel and Syria!"