Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: When Concessions Are Impossible

(Valdai Discussion Club-Russia) IDF Maj.-Gen. (ret.) Amos Yadlin - One of the issues of consistent consensus in Israel is that the government should not concede on issues of its citizens' security. Therefore, it was no surprise that Israel acted to demolish structures illegally built in proximity to the security barrier, which has saved hundreds of lives since its construction, to prevent terrorist groups from compromising its efficacy. Although the Palestinian Authority maintains a somewhat hostile position toward Israel, it is able to cooperate more closely on issues of security with the "Zionist regime" than with its Palestinian brethren in Hamas. A decision by PA President Mahmoud Abbas to end security cooperation with Israel would reduce his own capability to deal with threats from his Hamas rivals at a time when his administration is wildly unpopular. As for the prospects for the U.S. peace deal, the long-term factors impeding an agreement between Israel and the Palestinians include the political, geographical, and ideological divide among Palestinians, and the inability of the Arab Quartet (Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain and Egypt) to "deliver" the Palestinians. As long as the West Bank and Gaza remain separate political entities under different leadership, any peace agreement would necessitate a prior Hamas-PA reconciliation agreement. There have been countless failed efforts over the last 12 years to broker such a deal. While Israelis should root for the U.S.-led peace effort to succeed, a backup plan should include the following components: maintain security by rejecting any compromise of Israel's operational freedom to counter terrorism in the West Bank; promote capacity-building and economic development for Palestinians; and seek to revive bilateral negotiations with a credible Palestinian counterpart. The writer is executive director of Tel Aviv University's Institute for National Security Studies (INSS).

2019-08-02 00:00:00

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