Amos Yadlin discusses the latest INSS Strategy Assessment with President Reuven Rivlin on January 1.
(photo credit: SARAH LEVI)
The Tel Aviv-based Institute for National Security Studies (INSS) will unveil a two-state peace framework on Monday that includes steps it says Israel can take to retain a strategic advantage even if there is no partner on the other side with whom to negotiate.
Under the plan – drawn up by a 13-person team headed by veteran negotiator Udi Dekel that included INSS head and former Military Intelligence chief Amos Yadlin, and Gilead Sher, who served as chief of staff to then prime minister Ehud Barak – Israel would declare its commitment to a two-state solution and a willingness to enter into direct negotiations over an agreement. In parallel, it would take steps to move forward “separation” from the Palestinians and end its rule over the Palestinians in Judea and Samaria.
The plan comes amid continued anticipation of when the Trump Administration will roll-out its long-awaited peace framework
, and uncertainty about what will be in it.
Gaza is not included in the INSS plan, nor is there a solution proffered for Jerusalem. The authors call the framework a “new conceptual path toward a secure future for Israel.”
“Israel,” the plan reads, “will work to complete the security barrier, which will mark the separation route and Israel’s future territorial interests, and it will declare that it will freeze construction in isolated settlements located deep inside Palestinian territory east of the fence.”
Some 8-10% of the territory will, under the plan, remain on the Israeli side of the security barrier, incorporating 86% of the Jews living in Judea and Samaria. Israel would ask for formal US recognition of the famous 2004 letter from George W. Bush to Ariel Sharon saying that the administration sees these areas as part of Israel.
In addition, under the plan Israel would declare a further 20% of the West Bank territory – primarily in the Jordan Valley – as areas of Israeli security interest. These areas would remain under Israeli control until security guarantees could be found that would be satisfactory to Israel, and until a responsible and effective Palestinian entity would be established.
The plan says that Israel has in interest in a functioning and stable Palestinian Authority that will cooperate in progressing toward a diplomatic solution. Therefore, in an attempt to strengthen the PA the plan calls for following steps:
Transfer to the PA full security responsibility for Area B, currently under Israel’s overall security control, thereby creating a basis for a future Palestinian state in Areas A and B, or 40% of the territory, which today houses 98% of the Palestinians living in the West Bank.
Israel would transfer 25% of Area C currently under its control for infrastructure development projects to the PA. A joint effort would be made with the international community to establish industrial, tourism and high-tech projects, as well as construction of housing. In the initial phases, final security and planning authority for this area would remain in Israel’s hands, and would gradually be handed over to the PA. Currently Israel is in complete control of Area C, which incorporates 60% of the West Bank.
A contiguous transportation artery from the northernmost part of Samaria to the southernmost part of Judea would be built to reduce daily friction between Palestinians and IDF soldiers and settlers.
A massive economic development plan would be launched to improve Palestinian living conditions in the short term and promote Palestinian economic independence in the long term that would enable “economic separation” from Israel. An international mechanism for this purpose would be set up.
Israel would seek international recognition and approval for these steps, as well as a commitment to support these moves even in the event of a breakdown of negotiations over a final deal with the Palestinians.
According to the plans’ authors, these steps will create a much more favorable diplomatic and political situation for Israel moving forward than exists now.
This plan, the authors maintain, preserves Israel’s security and settlement interests, makes possible enlisting international and regional support, does not include in the short term a need to evacuate settlements, and provides Israel with diplomatic flexibility.
This framework, its authors say, “significantly improves the existing reality” by working to change the status quo which they maintain is a dangerous “slope that leads to significant national risks – principally, one state without the ability to separate from the Palestinians.”
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