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Friday, April 22, 2011

Finally, an Israeli official responds to unilateralism

From JPost:
Dr. Uzi Landau, Israel's Minister of National Infrastructure, warns that in the event of a unilateral United Nations declaration of a Palestinian state, he will call upon Israel to annex the Jordan Valley and large, Jewish populated blocs in the West Bank:

“We'll have to take care of our interests,” Landau told Inside Israel's Mordechai I. Twersky in a wide-ranging interview April 21. “We'll have to take protect ourselves. If such a thing happens, I'm going to suggest to my government to extend out sovereignty over the Jordan Valley and over the highly-populated blocs we have in Judea and Samaria, just to start with.”

The former chairman of the Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee invoked the Bush Road Map and a letter of commitment issued by the former president committing to Israel's retention of major Jewish population centers in the West Bank in any negotiated settlement with the Palestinians. If that signed agreement can't be honored, he said, all bets are off.

“If we don't see negotiations, and if we do a policy which basically makes the entire Road Map agreement a hoax, Israel should take care of its own interests,” said Minister Landau.
This is exactly what Netanyahu should be saying. If the PA wants to act unilaterally and abrogate Oslo and the Road Map, they need to understand that Israel is under no obligation to adhere to the same agreements either. And the result will be far, far worse for Palestinian Arabs than if they would have stayed with negotiations.

The world needs to understand this as well. Nations are sympathetic to the idea of a unilateral declaration of a Palestinian state but they are basing it on the assumption that Israel will continue to adhere to its commitments that the PA is ignoring. If they know that Israel will not play a game where it is the only one that has to follow the rules, they would be much less likely to support something that will inevitably destabilize the region and make things worse for everybody.

Right now, under so-called "occupation," there is peace. It is not ideal for anyone but it is stable and getting better every year. If the PA abrogates the peace treaty, that peace will end and the Palestinian Arabs who are supposedly going to be helped by living in "Palestine" will be the real losers. This fact is self-evident but Western nations do not seem to have grasped it.

Landau's other observations are worth reading as well:
Landau said the Arab Spring has brought chaos to the Middle east, and could well spread to the important western allies of Jordan and Saudi Arabia. He questioned the logic of Israel signing a peace deal with a Palestinian leader, whose own future and that of his government, remains tenuous at best.

“Who knows what's going to happen in the future to any agreement we sign with, let's say, another chief of tribe in Judea and Samaria?” asked Minister Landau. “Today it's Abu Mazen (Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas). Who is it going to be in the future?”

Landau said the US Administration's continued insistence that a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority is key to wider stability in the region – even in the face of spreading Arab unrest – is incomprehensible.

“This is clearly, totally detached from the present reality of the Middle East,” said Landau. “Anyone who lives here clearly understands that this is totally detached from the Middle East reality.”

(h/t Yerushalimey)