After Gaza


Daniel Diker and Pinchas Inbari speculate on Gaza after “Disengagement.”

On the eve of Israel’s disengagement from Gaza, the Palestinian public faces worsening lawlessness, rampant corruption, and the chaos of competing gangs and terror organizations. Average unemployment rates in the West Bank stand at close to 25% and have reached over 50% in the Gaza Strip, a state of affairs that Palestinians do not see changing in the foreseeable future.

According to Israeli intelligence sources, disengagement is also likely to kick start a massive wave of terror against Israel from the West Bank by Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and Fatah’s Al Aksa Martyr’s Brigade to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that terror, not reform or negotiations, paves the Palestinian road to victory against Israel.

They theorize that a Jordanian-Palestinian confederation might be the solution to Palestinian terror

At the same time, some senior Palestinian Authority ministers and others in the West Bank intellectual elite have raised doubts to us as to whether bilateral negotiations with Israel could ever result in a politically and economically viable Palestinian state following the failure of Oslo and the subsequent armed intifada. They are now open to entertaining the notion of a deeper Palestinian-Jordanian re-engagement without prejudging whether the relationship would be federal or confederal in nature.

The possibility of a Jordanian-Palestinian confederation would help to prevent a Hamas takeover of Gaza after the “disengagement.”

Following an expected Israeli pullout from Gaza in just under two weeks, and with Israel continuing to administer strategically vital parts of the West Bank, will Palestinians in the remaining parts of this disputed territory seek to place themselves under Palestinian Gaza? And should Hamas become the leading political force in Gaza in the future, wouldn’t the Palestinians of the West Bank, and Jordan as well, have a joint interest in preventing a Hamas takeover in the West Bank too? Could Jordan not provide a needed counterweight to those Palestinian politicians from the Arafat era who, because they are tainted with corruption, are unable to offer an alternative political leadership to the Islamist movements?

The possibilities of a more active Jordanian-Palestinian re-engagement then should be reconsidered by American policy-makers, for whom a viable and contiguous Palestinian state is a stated policy goal; one which might only become possible if America’s Jordanian allies can more actively help to establish the necessary security and economic infrastructure that has been so lacking in the development efforts of the Palestinian Authority alone. Those interested in both a viable Israel, Palestinian state, and a stable region agree that financial and political responsibility for launching, directing, and supporting such a process must come from Washington.

Read the whole article here.
Mr. Diker is a senior policy analyst at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs and heads its Defensible Borders Initiative. He also serves as Knesset correspondent and analyst for the Israel Broadcasting Authority’s “English News.” Mr. Inbari is a veteran Palestinian affairs correspondent who formerly reported for Israel Radio and Al Hamishmar newspaper, and currently reports for several foreign press outlets. He is the author of a number of books on the Palestinians including “The Palestinians: Between Terror and Statehood.” The full article “Are There Signs of a Jordanian Palestinian Reengagement?” can be found at http://www.jcpa.org.

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