Security Arrangements: A 4-Level Game

(Institute for National Security Studies-Tel Aviv) Kobi Michael - The U.S. paradigm on security arrangements in an Israeli-Palestinian agreement is military in substance and does not adequately address other aspects. In fact, it is important to achieve security for Israel through a combination of four elements: the military element; the element of Palestinian governance and the statehood (political) logic guiding the future Palestinian state; the element of regional cooperation; and the element of international legitimacy. From the perspective of Israel's interests, a viable Palestinian state that takes governmental responsibility and exercises a monopoly on the use of force is an essential condition for ensuring stability and security. A Palestinian state that falls into the pattern of a failed state is liable to become a subversive and hostile entity and develop into a grave security threat to Israel. The more the Palestinian Authority resembles a viable state that behaves according to political reasoning, the easier it will be for Israel to show more flexibility on security arrangements and increase the Palestinian areas of responsibility in place of the physical presence of Israeli forces. On the other hand, any evidence that the PA is unable to act as a viable state means that Israel will be less willing to forego some of its security demands or to show more flexibility. To this end, the international community cannot continue adhering to its familiar format of support for the PA. Rather, targets, milestones, and especially benchmarks for performance and success should be defined in a controlled process that accompanies and guides the Palestinians. The distress of the moderate Arab states, led by Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Egypt, and their concern about deterioration in the regional theater resulting from domestic unrest, the spread of radical Islamic terrorism, the escalation of the Sunni-Shiite conflict, and Iran's growth as a regional power, combined with the perceived weakness of the U.S. as a leading power, heightens the common interests of Israel and important countries in the region. This time, however, Israel must take advantage of the concern of the moderate countries in the Arab world and, taking the initiative, demand responsibility from the Arab world in exchange for Israel's consent to the establishment of a viable Palestinian state. In a certain sense, this is a case of historic justice because the Arab world bears real responsibility for the creation of the refugee problem and hence also for solving it. The writer, a senior research fellow at INSS, served as the deputy director and head of the Palestinian desk at the Israel Ministry for Strategic Affairs.

2014-02-21 00:00:00

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