It becomes more clear every day that Binyamin Netanyahu’s government is terrified by the prospect that the Palestinians are planning to unilaterally declare a state later this year. In fact, it is safe to say that no other proposed Palestinian action has ever shaken up any Israeli government the way that the idea of a unilateral declaration has.
According to Haaretz, Prime Minister Netanyahu is so frightened at the prospect of a Palestinian declaration that he is considering withdrawing Israel forces (not settlers, of course) from the West Bank as an inducement to prevent the Palestinians from acting.
Netanyahu is weighing a withdrawal of Israel Defense Forces troops from the West Bank and a series of other measures to block the “diplomatic tsunami” that may follow international recognition of a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders at the United Nations General Assembly in September. Netanyahu’s fear is well-placed.Haaretz columnist Ari Shavit describes what would follow a unilateral Palestinian declaration:
At that moment, every Israeli apartment in Jerusalem’s French Hill neighborhood will become illegal. Every military base in the West Bank will be contravening the sovereignty of an independent UN member state. The Palestinians will not be obligated to accept demilitarization and peace and to recognize the occupation.That is true. But it is also true that an internationally recognized Palestinian state, with a flag flying at the United Nations, would level the playing field for negotiations.
Ever since Israeli-Palestinian negotiations began in 1993, they have been fundamentally unbalanced. On one side is the most powerful military power in the Middle East, backed to the hilt by the United States. On the other is a stateless people who control no territory, have no military, and are barely surviving economically.