Share on Google Plus Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share on LinkedIn Share on PInterest Share on Fark! Share on Reddit Share on StumbleUpon Tell A Friend 2 (2 Shares)  
Printer Friendly Page Save As Favorite View Favorites View Stats   6 comments

OpEdNews Op Eds

Why the Palestinians can do without the Negotiations

By (about the author)     Permalink       (Page 1 of 1 pages)
Related Topic(s): ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; (more...) ; ; ; ; ; ; ; , Add Tags  (less...) Add to My Group(s)

Must Read 1   Well Said 1   Interesting 1  
View Ratings | Rate It

opednews.com Headlined to H4 10/15/10

At the moment, the collapse of direct negotiations between Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu seems highly possible. Questions have been raised regarding Netanyahu's ability to both renew the settlement freeze and preserve his right-wing coalition simultaneously. On the Palestinian side it is unclear what Abu Mazen will do in case the talks collapse. He has threatened, not the first time, to step down as chairman of the Palestinian Authority if there is no progress in the negotiations.

Yet the majority of the public, as well as the media in Israel, the US and Europe neglect a very substantial variable in the future of Israeli-Palestinian relations - Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad. Fayyad, who worked for the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, and received his Ph.D. in economics from the University of Texas at Austin, has been working insistently in his three years as Prime Minister and especially in the past year, toward his stated goal of building a viable independent Palestinian State in the West Bank and Gaza.

Salam Fayyad (Arabic: سلا.. فياض "Ž;) image from wikipedia

In August 2009 Fayyad published a detailed plan for building a de facto state under Israeli occupation and eventually declaring independence unilaterally by August 2011. The plan, titled: "Palestine - Ending the Occupation, Establishing the State", deals with every issue of sustainable statehood, from physical infrastructure to financial independence to proper health and education. Starting with a controversial crackdown on corruption in the Palestinian public sector and inside the ruling Fatah party , and moving on to a no less controversial ban on products from Israeli settlements, Fayyad has stood to his word and pushed the Palestinian economy forward with a 6% rise in GDP in 2009 (compared to 1% in Israel the same year) and an expected 8% rise in 2010.

Under Fayyad the streets of Nablus and Jenin have become safer and a new Palestinian city - the first planned Palestinian city in history Rawabi is being built in the hills overlooking Ramallah, with the blessing of the international system and investments from Persian Gulf princes. At the same time there is also work being done on Establishment of a central bank and independent judiciary system, and development of the Ramallah Stock Exchange.

In July this year the IMF published a report on the progress of the Palestinian economy, which concluded that the PA was already economically viable as a state. A month later, as Netanyahu and Abbas were meeting under the mediation of US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, Fayyad was in Washington presenting a mid-term report on his state-building project, meaningfully titled: "Homestretch to Freedom".

An intriguing entry in the report deals with the PA's investment in neighborhoods in East Jerusalem, which is under Israeli jurisdiction and not part of the PA. In his homestretch to statehood, Fayyad has not left any stone unturned, including Palestinian neighborhoods in areas that Israel is unwilling to concede to the new state.

So, while the talks may continue or they may stall, Mr. Fayyad, which Israeli President, Shimon Peres has called "the Palestinian Ben Gurion", connoting Israel's founding father and first prime-minister who was known as a man of action, is quietly but insistently building the option of a unilateral declaration of independence, regardless of the outcome of negotiations.

A unilateral Palestinian declaration of independence would create a very complex reality for Israel. If the young state receives broad international recognition, as Fayyad is quietly working to ensure, then Israeli settlers and Israeli military, located in the West Bank, could wake up one day to find themselves effectively not in Israel but within the Palestinian State, their presence there becoming highly illegal. This will likely result in a more determined international demand, that Israel withdraw from the Palestinian territories, and it will also put an end to Israel's aspiration of maintaining parts of the West Bank under Israeli control.

Fayyad's plan talks about a Palestinian state that includes not only the West Bank but also the Gaza Strip which is now under the control of Islamic militants Hamas. Fayyad has not provided a clear explanation of how the reunification of Gaza with the West Bank is meant to happen, but parallel to social and economic nation building, the Fayyad government is also working to strengthen the Palestinian security forces, with the help of US army training. Perhaps, Fayyad is also preparing for internal conflict if necessary.

Thus, it seems the Palestinians can do without the negotiations. If Israel chooses to freeze talks instead of freezing the settlements, it could very well find itself within a few months, facing a self-declared Palestinian state in the 1967 borders. It is therefore in the Israeli government and people's interest to make an effort to continue the peace talks and lead them to an agreement on the borders of both states. This may be Israel's last chance to reach a negotiated settlement to the century old conflict.

 

http://cafe.themarker.com/user/221710/

A PhD candidate at the School of Political Science at Haifa University teaches at Haifa University and the Israeli Open University. Social and Political Activist and member of the Israeli Social-Economic Academy. Writes and blogs on politics, (more...)
 

Share on Google Plus Submit to Twitter Add this Page to Facebook! Share on LinkedIn Pin It! Add this Page to Fark! Submit to Reddit Submit to Stumble Upon

Go To Commenting
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.

Writers Guidelines

Contact Author Contact Editor View Authors' Articles

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

Why Americans turned on the Democrats in the mid-term elections

Why the Palestinians can do without the Negotiations

Comments

The time limit for entering new comments on this article has expired.

This limit can be removed. Our paid membership program is designed to give you many benefits, such as removing this time limit. To learn more, please click here.

Comments: Expand   Shrink   Hide  
6 people are discussing this page, with 6 comments
To view all comments:
Expand Comments
(Or you can set your preferences to show all comments, always)

Their military backed by America's military.... by GLloyd Rowsey on Friday, Oct 15, 2010 at 1:06:14 PM
~.I hope he fails if he thinks having the United S... by Charlene Richards on Friday, Oct 15, 2010 at 1:16:55 PM
I agree the US army is not the best friend you wan... by Guy Pade on Friday, Oct 15, 2010 at 1:23:05 PM
I support cutting all U.S. funding to Israel unti... by Von Arrow on Friday, Oct 15, 2010 at 2:55:20 PM
Adopting the same line of thinking as the terrors... by Alejandro zurab on Sunday, Oct 17, 2010 at 2:05:30 PM
He's on the right track. And as soon as the Israel... by Arthur Avalon on Friday, Oct 15, 2010 at 9:02:48 PM