Israel will likely face a UN Security Council resolution proposed by all its permanent members, designed to “lay out the principles of a two-state solution,” if the post-election government does not launch a diplomatic initiative, Martin Indyk said Monday.
Indyk, who was the US special envoy to last year’s failed Israeli- Palestinian talks and a former ambassador to Israel, said at the annual Institute for National Security Studies (INSS) conference in Tel Aviv that he expects this initiative would be “against Israel’s will.”
Indyk, currently vice president and director of the Foreign Policy Program at the Brookings Institution, has been involved in the diplomatic process since the Oslo era. After he stepped down over the summer following the collapse of the negotiations, he did little to hide his opinion that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was largely responsible for the breakdown of the talks.
“If there is a government in Israel after these elections that decides to pursue a two-state solution, then there is a way forward,” Indyk said. “It begins with coordinating an initiative with the United States. And then, together with the US, looking to Egypt and Jordan and the resurrection of the Arab Peace Initiative, to find a way to provide the Palestinians both with an Egyptian-Jordanian anchor, and the political cover of the Arab Peace Initiative.”
He said that under this arrangement there would have to be a “freeze for a freeze”: an Israeli freeze of settlement activity and a freeze of Palestinian international activity against Israel.
But if there is not an Israeli initiative or support for a twostate solution, Indyk warned, there will be “international actions” pursued not by the Palestinians, but rather by the international community “in terms of a Security Council resolution” to “lay out and preserve the principles of a twostate solution in the future.”
By saying this resolution may come from all five permanent members of the UN Security Council, he hinted that the US would be involved.
Indyk began his comments by reflecting concern in Washington that the situation on the ground is reaching a boiling point, something that has been exacerbated by Israel’s withholding the transfer of tax funds to the PA so that it is unable to pay the salaries of its civil servants, including those responsible for security coordination with Israel.
“The collapse of the Palestinian Authority” is a real danger, and Israel could soon find itself responsible for the Palestinians both in the West Bank and in Gaza, he said.
Indyk, looking back on last year’s failed negotiations, said that there are “very wide gaps” between the two parties. At the same time, he said, solutions to bridge the gaps on all the main core issues could be found, “but the political conditions for both sides don’t exist at the moment.”
He said that not only is there a fundamental lack of trust between the leaders, “but also the lack of trust between the peoples,” with both sides believing there is no partner on the other side.
“As long as that is the case, it is very difficult to create a situation in which the political leadership feels the people at their back insisting they make a deal,” Indyk said. And this fundamental lack of trust between leaders and people is something “that will be extremely difficult to overcome,” he added.
Prior to Indyk, Brig.-Gen.
(res.) Moshe Tamir presented the principles of a plan for a limited unilateral Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank, an idea that has been promoted for some time by the INSS under its previous director, Amos Yadlin, who stepped down recently when he took the plunge into politics.
Yadlin is now the Zionist Union’s candidate for defense minister.
An INSS workgroup – that in addition to Tamir also included INSS acting director Udi Dekel and security expert Brig.-Gen.
(res) Baruch Spiegel – suggested a limited Israeli unilateral withdrawal that would not compromise Israel’s security is only possible if the Jordan Valley and the settlements there remain in Israeli hands, and if the IDF retains freedom of action throughout Judea and Samaria.
Tamir said that if the withdrawal from Gaza were based on the premise of deterrence – that Hamas would not act if it knew that if it did so it would be hit sevenfold by Israel – then a different paradigm would have to be used to enable a withdrawal from even parts of the West Bank.
“In Judea and Samaria we are looking at a different way altogether.
It has to be complete prevention of militarization and arming,” he said. According to Tamir, withdrawal from parts of the West Bank could work only if it would be impossible for the Palestinians to arm themselves inside areas left by the IDF. And for that purpose, it would be necessary to hold onto the Jordan Valley and allow freedom of IDF action.
Another speaker on the panel was Tamar Asraf, spokeswoman for the Binyamin Regional Council, who said that the proposal for a limited unilateral withdrawal from the West Bank would necessitate the evacuation of some 100,000 settlers, something that would create a rift in the country that would be more dangerous to its future than the external threats.