The PA: Time for Israeli intervention

Dr. Norman Bailey

With Iran's proxies threatening to take over the West Bank, Israel must act swiftly to replace failing Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas.

Every citizen of Israel owes it to him/her/self and to the country to examine carefully what each party and coalition intends to do if it forms part of the next government on all fundamental issues of domestic and foreign policy.

One such issue, and surely among the top three or four in importance, is what to do about that running sore, the West Bank. Successive Israeli governments have been content to kick that political can down the road and leave it to someone else to deal with.

That cannot and will not continue. Sooner rather than later, Mahmoud Abbas will pass from the scene, and if nothing is done in the meantime Hamas and its side-kick, Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), will take control from the palsied hands of a terminally-enfeebled Fatah.

When that happens, and it will happen if nothing is done preemptively to prevent it, the West Bank will go from being an annoyance to being an existential threat. Iran's proxies will be on the border of Jerusalem and within spitting distance of the coastal cities of Tel Aviv, Herzliya, Netanya, Hadera, etc.

Several things must be done immediately. One of them is to stop lumping the West Bank and Gaza together as one issue. Gaza was never part of historical Israel (except for during the Herodian period), whereas the West Bank is the heartland of the Israeli people. The threat from Gaza has been contained militarily, as illustrated by the latest attack by PIJ.

Having decoupled the two challenges, the West Bank must be dealt with immediately. What is to be done? Forget for the time being reaching a solution for the problem of the future arrangements between Israel and the "Palestinians"--what is important now is to replace Abbas with a government in Ramallah that will be a serious participant in eventual settlement talks

Luckily, the solution lives in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and its name is Mohammed Dahlan. Dahlan, who continues to have many adherents in both the West Bank and Gaza, should be assisted by both Israel and the UAE to stage a coup d'etat, replacing Abbas.

Two very serious problems for Israel would simultaneously be resolved: preventing a Hamas/PIJ takeover of the West Bank, and providing Israel with a serious interlocutor in future negotiations over the status of the West Bank.

As a bonus, the "Palestinian" representatives at various regional and international fora will be replaced and Israel-bashing will stop.

Of course, this should be done right away, without waiting for the results of the election and subsequent negotiations. In fact, if successfully carried out, it would greatly enhance the chances of the present government to survive the election and form the next government.

Dr. Norman Bailey is professor of Economic Statecraft at the Galilee International Management Institute, and adjunct professor at the Institute of World Politics, Washington DC. Dr. Bailey was a senior staff member of the National Security Council during the Reagan administration and of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence during the George W. Bush administration.

Published by Globes, Israel business news - - on August 25, 2022.

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd., 2022.

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