Is "Convergence" Back on the Agenda?

Recent statements may indicate the return to the option of establishing a Palestinian state with provisional borders. Reut contends that the establishment of a Palestinian state prior to a permanent status agreement is one of Israel's preferred options vis-?-vis the Palestinians.
The Forward newspaper reported on Friday, that the US State Department is considering a plan to declare an independent Palestinian state with provisional borders by the end of 2007. In addition, following Olmert's meeting with Abu Mazen on Saturday, Shimon Peres said that the meeting could provide an opening for a revival of Olmert's "convergence" plan for further withdrawals in the West Bank.

These events may indicate the return to the option of a establishing a Palestinian State with provisional borders based on the second stage of the Roadmap, and a return of some form of Olmert's "Covergence Plan" (see: The Roadmap and the Future of a Palestinian State ).

In a recent paper, the Reut Institute examined Israel's political options vis-à-vis the Palestinians. The conclusion of the Reut Institute is that among the possible approaches and goals, one of the preferred options is:


The establishment of a Palestinian state prior to a permanent status agreement - Although the establishment of a Palestinian state prior to a permanent status agreement carries a security risk, it will yield Israel a significant political achievement. It will end Israel's responsibility over the Palestinians and will allow Israel to divide the permanent status agreement into smaller agreements as well as, ostensibly, diluting the refugee issue.

This option requires a combination of bilateral agreements and unilateral actions. On the one hand, understanding that Israel has a sustainable unilateral option is likely to urge the Palestinians to strive for a political agreement. On the other hand, only negotiations that are conducted in good faith and fail, may allow Israel to unilaterally implement the Convergence Plan and to upgrade the political status of the PA to that of a state (see: Hybrid of Unilateralism and Negotiations Essential).

Sources

Guttman, Forward, 12/22/06. Full text.

Benn, Issacharoff, Stern, Ha'aretz, 12/24/06. Full text.

Fishman, Yediot Ahoronot, 12/25/06