Negotiated Deals: How To Write One You Can Trust
Two recent observations made it very clear that negotiated accords are often only a temporary measure, easily reversed when a new regime comes to town: President Trump set about to cancel the Iran Deal as soon as entering office, and sections of the National Salvation Front’s Roadmap for Syrian-Israeli peace call for scrapping all Syrian agreements with Iran and its proxies should the opposition forces succeed in ousting President Assad.
That means that when we negotiate with the current representative or so-called representative of the Palestinian Arabs we can only trust any deal made as long as that particular representative is still holding the reins (and maybe not even that long). I will discuss in a moment why Abbas, who currently holds that esteemed and unenviable (except for the money he has amassed) role, cannot sign an agreement with Israel but let us say he buckles in response to Trump’s allusion to the loss of automatic status afforded to the two-state-“solution”. Shaken, Abbas convinces his cronies to support him in signing for what they can get in order to get something and not nothing. Then, based on the bilaterally negotiated deal, a permanently un-militarized Palestinian State-of-sorts arises on part of Judea-Samaria.
How long would Abbas et al be willing to remain an Israeli or Jordanian Puerto Rico or Aruba or Isle of Mann? And if this new Palestinian Arab entity was a sovereign state, how long would it take until a new leader decided to establish its own armed forces since independence comes along with being able to defend one’s borders, right? I cannot see the UN rescinding independence once granted, even given violations of the deal on which its creation was based.
So there is no way Israel can trust any agreement forged with the Palestinian Authority. Thus the answer to the question: how to negotiate a deal you can trust, for us Israelis lies in knowing we have a strong military force that can deal with the repercussions of signing one we cannot trust.
On the other hand, I have no doubt that Abbas knows that he can trust Israel to uphold our side of any accord he would sign with us. In spite of that, he cannot agree to any negotiated deal with Israel, even if it were to give him 100% of what he says he wants. Here is why:
- What he says he wants is not really 100% of what he wants. He wants a one-state-solution, from the river to the sea. If he were to accept anything less than that, he and his cronies would likely be assassinated before the ink was dry.
- If he were to accept anything less than full sovereignty at least over part of the land, he and his cronies would likely be assassinated forthwith so the idea of autonomy and not sovereignty is out.
- If, by some twist of fate, the Palestinian Arabs were to achieve full sovereignty over part of the land and Abbas avoids assassination by convincing the general population that it would be used as a stepping stone to “from the river to the sea”, it would not be long before they would recommence committing terror against Israelis in order try to achieve that goal, and perhaps build up a militia in defiance of the negotiated deal, both of which would be acts of war between one sovereign state and another. No longer restrained by the guise of being a supposed occupying force, Israel would have all rights to protect itself and it is quite clear that Israel could crush the fledgling state like a cockroach. Abbas likely assumes that we will not make the same mistake we made in 1967 — holding onto land we won in a defensive war only for the purpose of using it as a bargaining chip for an elusive end to the conflict, and so he would lose everything.
Therefore, the Palestinian Arabs are in a bind – they cannot agree to a deal that would constitute a humiliating defeat of Muslims at the hand of the Jews and they cannot for much longer NOT accept some kind of agreement since, having made themselves the world’s favourite cause celebre, they cannot just turn down the volume with the changing regional alliances and hope nobody notices as their status slowly goes down the drain until they see themselves being traded on the block for the sake of Middle East stability — the ultimate humiliation, this time with the help of their fellow Arabs.
They thought time was on their side. I think they were wrong.
And we were wrong not to annex the land in the first place, holding out, instead, in the hope of reaching a negotiated deal with people who just want us dead and gone. Did time work, or will it work eventually, on our side? Too soon to tell. I am just glad that, unable to write an agreement that we could trust, we have the military power to protect ourselves for most eventualities.