Former MI chief: Israel beat terror, can now afford unilateral withdrawal from West Bank

Amos Yadlin says Israeli 'Plan B' to failed peace talks should be "coordinated unilateral withdrawal" from West Bank from "a position of strength" on its own terms.

June 29, 2014 18:18
2 minute read.
Head of the Institute for National Security Studies, Amos Yadlin.

Amos Yadlin 370. (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)


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Former Military Intelligence chief Amos Yadlin on Sunday laid out a plan by which Israel would unilaterally separate from the West Bank in coordination with its allies in the face of Palestinian refusal of a generous Israeli peace proposal.

Speaking at Tel Aviv University's Institute for National Security Studies, Yadlin said that Israel must change the narrative by which its only choice is a status quo that leads to a delegitmized state without a Jewish majority, or a peace agreement with the Palestinians.

Yadlin said that Israel must have a 'Plan B' in the face of failed negotiations as the Palestinians do. He said that the Palestinian failure to compromise in recent negotiations suggests that there Plan B - delegitimizing Israel internationally - may actually be their Plan A.

Yadlin said that while the status quo is not as dire as some claim, it is bad for Israel as a Jewish state long-term.

He stated that the a peace deal was always preferable, but if it proves impossible, Israel must take the initiative and move, with the coordination of world allies, toward a separation into two states on terms it can accept.

He said previous withdrawals from territory have had negative outcomes because they were not carried out correctly. He said that such a withdrawal must be preceded by a generous peace offer which includes concessions. If the Palestinians were then to reject the offer, Israel would have the legitimacy to move towards forming its borders independently. He said that the international community would understand this was the only way to keep a two state solution viable.

Yadlin said that Israel also erred in the Gaza withdrawal by leaving a channel open for weapons smuggling from Iran and others. Any withdrawal from the West Bank would have to maintain an Israeli security presence in the Jordan Valley to prevent weapons smuggling, Yadlin argued.

He said that leaving all of Gaza had not given Israel the recognition that it ended occupation. It should keep some areas for future bartering should negotiations be renewed.

He said that any evacuation of territory would be unsuccessful without the support of the majority.

Yadlin said that the unilateral withdrawal, which would maintain the settlement blocs, would not rule out a return to direct negotiations with no pre-conditions.

The former MI chief said that Israel had defeated terror, and could now afford to make a long-term, unilateral withdrawal from a position of strength.

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