by Yisrael Harel
So excited was the international political scene that its most veteran research institute decided to alleviate the tension by holding a simulation exercise: Will he or will he not declare independence? Participants arrived from all over the globe. All eyes were on the Palestinian delegates, none of whom moved (even though every participant represented only himself) without consulting Arafat who reportedly attached tremendous importance to the outcome.
Most of the Israeli and non-Arab observers believed Arafat would not dare declare independence, fearing Israeli military pressure and
I also believed Arafat would not make the declaration, but for an entirely different reason. His threat was directed at an objective that I don't fully understand, I said, but was definitely not the realization of the dream of generations. The Palestinians, I argued at that simulation and believe to this day, do not want a state of their own alongside
Arafat's retreat was at the time considered a triumph of reason – so deep was the faith of the media and the Left that he was a true partner for peace (and so deep the need to justify the fatal adventure of
IF ARAFAT did not dare divide the land based on an historic Arab concession, and agreement to a Jewish state, a national home for the Jewish people, then will Salam Fayyad, a technocrat bereft of charisma and leadership, dare take such an audacious step? He won't dare to defy the vast majority of his people, who reject compromise, territorial or otherwise.
Still, for the sake of argument, let's assume he does declare a state unilaterally and wins the support of his people, and that the international community overwhelmingly recognizes the new state. The territory it comprises, areas A and B, constitutes less than 50 percent of Judea and
Nor will or should
The current Israeli response to Fayyad's threat is a counterthreat. But if the country's rulers were well-versed in subterfuge, they would find devious ways to encourage Fayyad's folly. After all, today, in the absence of a Palestinian state, the entire world, including an influential minority of Israelis, is pushing to establish one more or less along the 1967 lines. But the moment such a state is functioning within areas A and B, both it and the rest of the world will get used to this new reality. Certainly
Of course Fayyad won't fall into this trap. Hence all those who take his threat seriously, or even treat it as an exercise in
One way or another, Fayyad's gun is empty. In fact, it's only a toy gun. And like a child playing with a toy, he doesn't always know either the purpose of the game or its outcome.
Yisrael Harel heads the Institute for Zionist Strategy in
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