Why a Palestinian State is Still a Mortal Threat
Both Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Foreign Minister Shimon Peres insist that the Declaration of Principles signed by Israel and the PLO in Washington on September 13—popularly known as the “Gaza/Jericho First” plan—contains a fail-safe mechanism. Anything ceded in this plan, they claim, is retrievable. Not a single Jewish settlement in the territories will be dismantled, and the Israeli army will be in charge of safeguarding the settlers. Moreover, the experiment will begin with Gaza, whose loss virtually no Israeli will mourn, and Jericho, a small and insignificant town near the Jordanian border. If the experiment fails, if the Arabs use the removal of the “occupation” not to build institutions of self-government but to establish terror bases from which to attack Israel, the Israeli army will move in and cancel the whole deal.
It is this promise of reversibility that makes the plan attractive even to many Israeli hawks. Everything else, they say, has been tried; we cannot go on with the intolerable status quo; and so long as this move is reversible, there is virtually nothing to lose. If the plan works, we will have peace at last, even if it means the establishment of a Palestinian state. If the plan collapses, we will get credit for trying.
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