Israel’s Plan B

Prof. As’ad Abdul Rahman

‘Negotiating for the sake of negotiation only’ has, as expected, reached a fruitless end with the Israeli Likud government blamed by an increasing number of politicians, writers, and others all over the world. During the latest round of negotiations with the Palestinians, the Israeli civil rights movement recorded the following actions by the Likud government in the occupied West Bank:

– 57 Palestinian civilians were mostly intentionally shot and killed by Israeli military forces during demonstrations.

– More than 265 Palestinian houses were demolished for flimsy illegal reasons to force Palestinians to vacate areas intended for Jewish colonization.

– Ten thousand additional housing units were approved for the expansion of the colonial Israeli settlements. On top of that, daily attacks have been launched by Jewish religious youth known as ‘the price taggers’, against Muslim and Christian houses of worship and business shops.

– A further action recorded during the negotiations was the criminal activities of the colonial settlers against the Palestinian farms and the destruction of olive trees.

All these atrocities have continued in the West Bank since then; killing more Palestinians, demolishing houses, colonial settlements mushroomed and more Palestinian farms attacked (not to mention what the Israeli war machinery had done in its last war against the Gaza Strip). Indeed, the intention of the Zionist state to peacefully coexist with a Palestinian state, as declared to the world, became the big lie which in the end led to the utter failure of the negotiations. This is why extending the time for more negotiations as requested by Israel appeared as the sole reason to prevent the European Union (and others) from enacting boycott measures against Israel, an action that could not be taken while the negotiations were underway. Israel without the negotiating table with the presence of the Palestinians, will sooner or later, be viewed by the world (including the peoples of European countries and the USA) as a colonial/apartheid state to be boycotted and sanctioned like the bygone apartheid regime of South Africa.

The Palestinians resorted to peaceful and civilized means to confront the colonial/apartheid Zionist agenda by joining 15 international conventions along with the attainment of the observer-state status at the United Nations in 2012. These steps have given the occupied Palestinian population the right to request international protection from abuse by their foreign Israeli occupiers. This new legal status of the Palestinians would in effect make the present political status of Israel illegal in the eyes of international law and the UN charter. In fact, this was the reason that drove Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to formulate ‘Plan B’ after ‘Plan A’ of ‘negotiating for the sake of negotiation’ failed to survive. He was reported to be “considering all options in the coming weeks”.

To formulate the new plan, Netanyahu recently set up a small group which consisted of Michael Oren, a former ambassador to the United States, Dan Meridor, a former Likud minister of justice and Amos Yadin, a retired chief of military intelligence. The first part which has been decided and the Palestinian Authority (PA) informed of the following threat: “All taxes collected by Israel from Palestinians will now go to settle the debts of the Authority owed to Israel.” This means that 40% of the PA budget is now lost, in addition to USA aid that could be stopped by an act of the American Congress, the closest ally of Israel in the world. Such economic moves are bound to bankrupt the Palestinian government.  Furthermore, Israel also threatened to cancel the majority of VIP permits issued to high Palestinian officials to travel freely without being stopped and searched at the humiliating checkpoints. Israel is also reported taking steps to halt all search activities for natural gas in the sea across the shores of Gaza.

These steps, implemented or still on paper, are minor when compared to the core of ‘Plan B’ which is “the annexation of two-thirds of the West Bank Area known as Area C’, according to the New York Times. ‘Plan B’ aims to join the biggest possible number of Jewish colonial settlers to be part of the Zionist entity. “There are more than 350,000 Israeli settlers and 150,000 Palestinians in Area C”, according to the newspaper which also published a statement by the Likud minister Gilad Erdan in which he said:”There is no reason it (Area C) should continue to live under military rule when it is possible to join it to the state of Israel”.

A left-leaning group called Blue White Future offered a moderate plan which consists of two parts. The first calls for “the evacuation of some or all of the estimated 100,000 settlers who live east of the Wall”. But such a move would cost Israel an estimated 10 billion dollars. The second is “to offer the Palestinians living in Area C the Israeli citizenship”. Both proposals may fall into the realm of the impossible since they will never be accepted by the ‘settler’s lobby’ and other extremists who rule Israel now.

Efraim Halevy, a former Mossad chief cautioned the Israeli government against resorting to this unilateral Plan B, because “it will come back to haunt Israel later”; i.e. Israel would be badly affected as a result and would lose the American support that has been shielding it, so far, and unleash an official European (and non European) boycott against it.