One must be a great fool to believe that Mahmoud Abbas will soon be returning the Palestinians to the negotiating table and to reconciliation with Israel. Why should he? Within a short period of time he’s expected to be on top of the world. Dozens of states, many of which had not been kind to Israel in recent years, shall be applauding him at the UN. Superpowers and states that always respected Israel will grow silent or turn a blind eye. Some will likely whisper in our UN envoy’s ear: We told you so.
Should the vote and recognition in September only result in applauses, flags and festive marches, everyone in the world will be hearing Netanyahu’s, Barak’s and the other ministers’ sigh of relief. However, and hopefully we’ll be proven wrong, September 20, 2011 may turn out to be harbinger of Palestinian independence. If that happens, the countdown will resume. Again, hopefully we’ll be proven wrong.
But if 150 states recognize the Palestinian state, a moment after the declaration Abbas and his comrades will be telling us: Gentlemen, we are not asking for your approval on anything. We indeed agreed to a demilitarized state, but now that we are an independent state entitled to do whatever it wishes, we shall import missiles, rockets, cannons and whatever else we want.
The IDF and the settlements will of course remain in what the Palestinians define as their state. The millions of Palestinians in the West Bank (the previous name of the Judea and Samaria region) and in Gaza will do nothing against the State of Israel. Why should they? They shall merely embark on a “popular struggle” against the IDF and the settlements, which in their view are within the Palestinian state – the one recognized by 150 states.
Prepare for ‘popular struggle’They shall draw encouragement for their “popular struggle” from Egypt, Tunisia and even from Libya and Syria, where the struggle is hitting obstacles. This “popular struggle” shall comprise numerous women and children who shall be marching toward IDF soldiers and the settlements. Hamas wants more than that, however; there is almost no doubt that Hamas wants to see bloodshed.
At least on this front, Israel may be spared: In Judea and Samaria at least, the people don’t want a Hamas state. They fear it. This is the right time for tight security cooperation with Palestinian Authority leaders, who fear Hamas more than they do Israel. The picture is not one-sided. It’s not only bad for us.
The State of Israel must - absolutely must - aim to neutralize the results of the expected UN vote. How so? First, we must do everything we can to resume the talks with the Palestinians. Another possibility: Announce our intention to annul the economic Paris Accords. Some say that the Palestinian population and leaders cannot survive without these agreements.
And here is yet another option: The United States (which is still by our side) and several leading European states can work against the declaration of recognition and do everything to also neutralize the implications of the UN vote.
In the Middle East, every idiot is a statesman for a minute and every hand grenade or explosive device constitutes policy. The most important thing in our theater is not to lose control – this applies both to us and to them.
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