DATE:7/13/2002 12:19:00 AM
BODY: More about the Unilateral Separation plan

A few weeks ago I wrote in favor of unilateral separation (disengagement), I have to admit that after 3 relatively quiet weeks my support for the unilateral separation plan is beginning to dwindle. I still think the building of a security fence is a good thing but I'm not sure about the rest of the plan - the unilateral withdrawal from the West Bank and Gaza.

The unilateral separation plan is getting more and more popular here in Israel and I'm not sure how much attention it gets in world media coverage of the middle east. I read this interesting article: "The Many Faces of Unilateral Disengagement" by Shlomo Brom of the Jaffe center for strategic studies/ Tel Aviv university and I'll bring here some of its basic points, you can read the all article over here.

"...These ideas, which are generally referred to as "unilateral disengagement" or "unilateral separation," are based on two fundamental assumptions. The first is that, in the foreseeable future, there is no prospect of renewing the political negotiations with the Palestinians and reaching an agreement with them. The second assumption is that there is no possibility of subduing the Palestinians militarily and imposing a solution upon them, or motivating them to suspend the use of violence and acquiesce to the existing situation.

The continuing Palestinian violence has proved resistant to both military attempts at suppression and political attempts to achieve a cease-fire and renew the political process. This difficulty, when compounded with the complex political developments that have taken place on each side, indeed justifies a perception that Israel's ongoing security problems cannot be resolved without in some way changing the situation on the ground.

Four overall types of unilateral disengagement have come up in public debate:

1) Unilateral security disengagement. This plan would not change the existing geographical division of areas controlled by the Israelis and the Palestinians. It would involve setting up a series of physical barriers and force concentrations along the Green Line (the pre-1967 border between Israel and the West Bank/Gaza), in order to make it more difficult for would-be attackers to enter Israel proper. For their part, settlements in the West Bank would continue to be protected by the same means used at the present.

2) Total unilateral disengagement, while keeping Israeli settlements in place. The goal of this would be to establish a physical separation between all the areas controlled by Israel (including areas under full Israeli security and civil control, defined in the Oslo agreements as 'C' areas) in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, and those controlled by the Palestinians.

3) Unilateral disengagement to a self-declared permanent border. In this option, the government would unilaterally declare what it believes Israel's final borders should be, and then withdraw to them. This border would be based upon the Green Line, perhaps with some minor adjustments to enable the inclusion of Jewish neighborhoods in the Jerusalem area and large settlements near the Green Line. Israel would then withdraw to this line, declare it its permanent border, and establish physical emplacements along it to separate Israeli and Palestinian territory.

4) Unilateral disengagement to an interim line. This proposal is similar to the previous one, except that the demarcation of territories would be somewhere between what exists presently and Israel's concept of what would serve as an acceptable permanent border.

Option 2: A political difficulty is manifested in how this form of separation would be perceived among various groups within Israeli society. This is because it leaves the settlements in the West Bank and Gaza on the less-protected side of the separation zone, and makes a distinction between their security and the security of Israelis living within the Green Line.

Option 3 The plan for unilaterally disengaging to a permanent border on or adjacent to the Green Line would seek to implement a fundamental change in the division of territory between Israel and the Palestinians, in the hopes of creating conditions conducive to stability. Its supporters, generally members of the Israeli left, are united in the belief that Israel's presence in the Occupied Territories is not an asset, but rather a burden. They believe that such a separation, despite being taken unilaterally and leaving a small number of disputed issues unresolved, could create a situation that would be politically acceptable to the Palestinians. Despite not being part of a negotiated settlement, such a separation would enable the Palestinians to establish a viable, territorially contiguous state. >From the security viewpoint, this plan would create a relatively short disengagement line, which could be policed more efficiently.

With that, the implementation of such a plan would carry an extremely high domestic political price, since it would dictate vacating a majority of the settlements. It leaves difficult points of dispute between Israel and the Palestinians unresolved, particularly regarding Jerusalem and Palestinian refugees. It risks creating an armed and hostile Palestinian state aligned in a coalition with other enemies of Israel in the Arab world, while the move to borders along the Green Line would deprive the country of much of its strategic depth. Moreover, so large a withdrawal could be interpreted by the Palestinians as an Israeli capitulation in the face of their use of violence. Were this to be the case, Israel's withdrawal might actually prove counterproductive to the goal of contributing to stability, since it would appear to reward violence. Finally, Israel would be leaving itself with almost no bargaining chips for future negotiations with the Palestinians, in which difficult issues (Jerusalem, refugees) would need to be resolved.

Option 4: The principles underlying support for withdrawing to an interim line are similar to those calling for withdrawal to Israel's permanent border. They seek, however, to avoid paying the high political and strategic price for such a far-reaching withdrawal, even if this comes at the expense of making the ultimate situation less acceptable to the Palestinians (a significant consideration, since that this would ostensibly reduce the chances of increasing stability). However, those supporting such a move hope that it would be possible to create a situation in which the Palestinians could carry on normal lives within a viable geographic unit. This, it is hoped, would ultimately reduce their motivation for continuing violent actions. The assumption is that withdrawal to an interim position would establish a relatively short disengagement line that could make separation more practicable, while still preserving some territorial assets for use in future negotiations. Such a withdrawal would necessitate vacating a smaller number of settlements, but would also facilitate closer supervision of the arming of the Palestinian entity. There are, of course, a number of variations to this plan, based on the location of the interim line: some are closer to option two and others to option three

I'll bring more information about the unilateral separation plan in future posts. Feel free to comment about this post, I'm interested in what you've got to say about it.

DATE:7/12/2002 08:06:00 PM
BODY: Well I finished my university exams, still have some papers to write but I'm a free man once again. The last exam went well, after that I went to the gym after a long time and afterwards to the crowded beach of Herzelia and got stung by a jelly fish, ouch!

My computer crushed, I managed to fix it but it barely works. So It's back to the blogging business, I'll post a new one soon.

DATE:7/11/2002 10:33:00 PM
BODY: Sorry for the light blogging lately but I was busy studying for my university exams. The last one in this semester is tomorrow morning and after it, hopefully, I'll get back to my regular blogging. As Spoons said a few days ago:"BLOGGING IS LIKE RUNNING, Slack off for a week or so and it's hard as hell to get back up to pace again." he is damn right! I'm sure fellow bloggers know what he is talking about. I also stopped running so here is another hard task for me, gotta get back in shape.

In the meanwhile pay a visit to my friend Renatinha's blog "Balagan". Originally from Brazil she made Aliyah (immigrated) to Israel just a couple of days ago. I wish her good luck at her new home.

DATE:7/09/2002 12:13:00 PM
BODY: Arafat's deputy's killer is the new IDF chief of staff

A new IDF chief of staff was sworn today, Major General Moshe "Bogi" Ya'alon replaced the departing chief of staff Shaul Mofaz who finished his 4 years term. I think Mofaz did a good job, The army intelligence predicted the outbreak of Palestinian violence almost a year before it happened and when it broke the army was prepared.

Mofaz did have a few "semi political" statements that he should avoided from making for the army commanders are banned from referring to political issues. Mofaz didn't say what he is going to do now, but some say that he will join Bibi Netanyahu either to the Likud party or maybe to a new one Bibi will set up. Before getting into politics Mofaz have to wait 1 year which I'm sure he will use to make some big bucks in Israel or in America.

As for the new chief of staff Ya'alon: we'll have to wait to see how does, my guess is he will at least as good as Mofaz. A quick note from his past: During the late 80' Ya'alon was the commander of the IDF top elite unit "Sayeret Matkal". According to some reports Ya'alon led the well executed assassination of Arafat's deputy Abu Jihad (Khalil al-Wazir) in Tunis. According to those reports Ya'alon was the one to shot Abu Jihad Several times till he was dead.

DATE:7/08/2002 11:53:00 AM
BODY: Fools

For some time now almost all of the Palestinian cities in the West Bank are under IDF control. There are two outcomes to that move:

1) There were no suicide bombings since the IDF entered the Palestinian cities.
2) The Palestinian population is under curfew for most of the time and they can't live their normal lives.

In the past when an Israeli military act would hurt the civilian life of the Palestinians there were loud voices in Israel against it. Today there are only few voices that protest against the current move.

In the past I also didn't like military moves that damaged Palestinian civilians daily routine, but now I really don't give a damn about it. From time to time Israeli media describes the poverty of the Palestinians and their miserable lives - and I say they can only blame themselves for it.

20 month ago, before the Palestinians started this war, the Palestinian economy was thriving. Israelis did their Shopping in Palestinian villages, Palestinians worked in Israel, foreign businessmen invested money in Palestinian projects, the future looked promising.

And then Arafat started the war. He of course wasn't worried about the economic crises he was bringing upon his people, he gets millions of dollars straight into his pocket from the Saudis and the nice people in the EU.

The Palestinians were foolish enough to follow Arafat, and they are still following him, to their distraction. So when I watch on t.v. a Palestinian who is unemployed for 20 month now (he used to work in Israel) and has 8 children, the youngest is less then a year old (he knew he had no job and 7 children to feed but yet he brought another child to the world to live in poverty) - I don't pity him.

The Palestinians are "enjoying" the fruits of their "success".