[He suggests that Israel and the Palestinian Authority end their economic and political relations with Gaza unless and until its Hamas rulers sign on to a peace process with Israel. This would include a two-year phase out period for Israel’s supply of electricity and water; time enough, he says, for Gaza to develop its own substitute sources for energy and desalinated water, as it builds a normal economy in trading with the world via Egypt.]
Strategic errors and challenges By GERSHON BASKIN
I still believe, quite strongly, that the decision to assassinate Ahmed Jabari and wage war in Gaza was a strategic error. Without the war in Gaza Israel could have achieved a long-term cease-fire arrangement that would have been better than what we now have. Instead of strengthening the pragmatic trends in Hamas, we gave the most radical elements in Hamas a platform and removed any chance of the pragmatists coming to the fore. That explains the shift in Khaled Mashaal’s position from a few weeks ago when on CNN he talked about non-violent resistance and a Palestinian state in the 1967 borders.
Ahmed Jabari, as I have said in the past, was not a man of peace, but he was emerging as one of the primary pragmatists in Hamas. …. Now, the pragmatic camp in Hamas has been killed along with Jabari….
The Gaza war strengthened the most radical forces within Palestinian society, not only in Gaza, but also in the West Bank. The pressure on Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas to reconcile with Hamas has now increased. Hamas-Fatah reconciliation at this time is the opening of the door to Hamas takeover of the PLO and the West Bank.
Reconciliation would be the death blow to the moderate camp in Fatah and in the West Bank. Without a significant diplomatic achievement that builds on the UN bid by Abbas, the demise of the moderate leadership in Fatah will occur rapidly. The rise of the power of the extremists endangers Israeli-Palestinian security cooperation which has brought an end to terrorism and will also lead to an early end to the cease-fire in Gaza.
These are the strategic challenges facing Israel and the moderate Palestinian leadership. …
Instead of reconciliation, Abbas and the PLO leadership need to ensure that the West Bank becomes the basis for a real viable Palestinian state.
First of all Ramallah should cease the payment of 70,000 Gazan salaries. Ramallah should stop paying for electricity, water, health and welfare in Gaza. Enough of providing Hamas with a regime of luxury. Hamas must now take full responsibility for governing Gaza. …
Israel must make peace with Abbas and the Palestinian state. The peace treaty must indicate that Gaza is part of the deal, but that the treaty will be implemented in Gaza only when the regime in Gaza accepts its terms. If not, Gaza will remain a separate territory, run by Hamas. …
[Click here for Baskin’s entire article at the Jerusalem Post’s website.]