United States Secretary of State Kerry is returning just after the New Year to force both sides to accept a peace plan that neither side desires. Some might claim that if both sides appear equally displeased then it must be a fair deal. But is that really the case? That depends on the reasons the two sides disapprove of the plan that Kerry is pushing. As the plan is rumored to sit currently it calls for Israel to return virtually all of Judea and Samaria, the West Bank, and the making of the Old City and Temple Mount and Western Wall areas into an international city with a yet to be disclosed formula for responsibilities in caring for these areas. The plan supposedly calls for Israel to temporarily retain control over the Jordan Valley with it being turned over to third party troops within the first three to five years and eventually being turned over to the Palestinian state after ten years. So, what are the reservations and disagreements by each side?
Israel fears a rehash of the Gaza disengagement where soon after the IDF and Israeli citizens were removed from their neighborhoods, bases, farms, greenhouses and lives, Hamas forcefully took control of Gaza after executing a violent and bloody coup kicking out the Palestinian Authority forces in less than a week of fighting. After that, the European moderators who were supposed to guard against import of weapons and other terror related items and people from the Sinai Peninsula into Gaza fled after being threatened by Hamas terrorist forces. All of this resulted in thousands upon thousands of rockets and mortar rounds being launched into southern Israel causing deaths and destruction of property. This has led to two major IDF incursions into Gaza to destroy as much of the terror infrastructure as possible before ending the offensives. Both of these incursions were roundly criticized by the European Union, United Nations General Assembly, the Arab League and many others. Of course none of these entities had bothered themselves with denouncing the firing of rockets and mortars into Israel which led to these incursions. The protests by the European Union were doubly detestable as they not only had refused to denounce the bombardments of Israeli communities, but had also pulled the inspectors they had promised would monitor the Gaza-Egypt border within the first few weeks after the agreement was reached ending the Israeli presence in Gaza and the removal of every Israeli and the entirety of the IDF forces which had patrolled Gaza and the Gaza-Egypt border. Should Israel now commit to another disengagement, this time from Judea and Samaria, and the West Bank is turned into a larger and more dangerous Gaza launching rockets and mortars into Israel, the entirety of Israeli industry and three quarters of Israeli population would fall within range of such attacks. Should the West Bank become a second Gaza then Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Ashdod, Netanya, Haifa and numerous others would become uninhabitable. Israel would have no other alternative other than to retake the entire region and suffer the protestations of the world as it is better to live under the world’s scorn than to die in order to receive kind eulogies.
Still, if one believes that Israel has problems with Secretary Kerry’s grand scheme, they are insignificant compared to the problem Mahmoud Abbas faces. Should the Palestinian Authority allow any peace plan to be implemented the leadership would be murdered within a matter of days if not hours or even minutes. Chairman Abbas is fully aware what his fate would be in the aftermath of any peace accord he signs with Israel. There would be a contest between Fatah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, al-Qaeda in Gaza and numerous other terrorist groups as to who could kill Abbas fastest. Any peace accord imposed on the Palestinians would seal the end of the Palestinian Authority as we know it with Hamas and Islamic Jihad as the two most powerful groups vied for control as they danced on the corpse of the Palestinian Authority. Any idea that imposing a peace accord between Israel and the Palestinian Authority would result in anything other than the beginning of a new Arab-Israeli war is foolishness. Within hours of the removal of the IDF from Judea and Samaria the leaders of the Palestinian Authority would very likely be facing the guns of their own security forces who would turn on them as their best possibility of staying alive once Hamas or Islamic Jihad executed their plans to take control of the West Bank. Abbas is well aware that the IDF presence in Judea and Samaria is very likely the only thing preventing his assassination, and even with the IDF Abbas probably dares not enter certain areas without a large security contingent made up of very trusted troops.
The question that needs to be put to Secretary of State Kerry is would he offer to remain in Ramallah and assist Mahmoud Abbas with the preparations for elections. Such a simple task should not take more than a couple of weeks. That should be just about enough time for Abbas to arrange for Secretary Kerry to escort him to the United States where he could enter the witness protection program as that would be the only chance he would have of seeing his next birthday. As much of a mental lightweight as Secretary of Kerry appears to be, it is doubtful he would be anywhere near the Middle East, especially the West Bank, to witness his grand plan be put in place. No, Secretary Kerry would be ensconced safely in his Washington DC office on Capitol Hill watching the ensuing carnage that his grand plan initiated. Hopefully, Netanyahu and Abbas will manage to scuttle the Kerry plan and the status-quo will continue. Anything else at this juncture would lead directly to a war in very short order. Still, Kerry returns next week and he is bringing his plan. Let the games begin.
Beyond the Cusp
We would like to extend our thanks and recognize OyiaBrown, one of our dedicated followers, for her contributions to the research for this article.