Inversion towards the Occupation: Challenge to Israel's National Security Concept

This document, prepared for the seventh Herzliya conference, examines the significance of the trend of inversion in the Palestinian position towards the occupation. This trend is an expression of ongoing efforts to erode the principle of the 'two-state solution'.

Executive Summary

1. Securing Israel's future as a Jewish and democratic state requires the end of control over the Palestinian population.

2. The Palestinian National Movement fights against the 'Israeli occupation'. As part of this struggle, the Palestinian Authority (hereinafter, PA) was created as a first step towards the establishment of a Palestinian state.

3. This paper presents the trend of 'inversion in the Palestinian position towards the occupation' (hereinafter, 'inversion towards the occupation'). This trend reflects the perception that the Israeli 'occupation' serves Palestinian/Arab/Islamic interests. From this perspective, actions intended to end Israeli occupation should be thwarted. For example, undermining the power and authority of the PA accelerates this trend.

4. The 'inversion towards the occupation' is an expression of ongoing efforts to erode the principle of the 'two-state solution'.

5. The 'inversion towards the occupation' is a primary derivative of the 'Strategy of Implosion' of the Resistance Network against Israel. The aim of this strategy is to establish one Palestinian/Arab/Islamic state in place of Israel through actions that will bring about Israel's internal collapse as a state.
According to this strategy, the occupation accelerates Israel's implosion and therefore should be sustained.

6. Hamas' electoral victory (1/06) and the international boycott of its government were benchmarks in the development of the 'Strategy of Implosion' and the 'inversion trend', leading to a reassessment of the political path of the movement: whether to seek the creation of a Palestinian state with provisional borders according to the logic of the 'Phased Plan' or to dismantle the PA according to the 'Strategy of Implosion'.

7. Either way, the Hamas government in and of itself serves the 'Strategy of Implosion' because it creates a political deadlock, deepens the Palestinian crisis of representation, and erodes the PA's capacity to govern.

8. These trends undermine Israel's ability to end its control over the Palestinian population. Therefore, they constitute a threat to Israel's national security and need to be addressed.

9. Israel's current policy vis-à-vis the PA does not give an adequate response to this challenge. The current policy, consolidated in early 2006, strives to cause either the downfall of Hamas or its ideological transformation - in the form of recognition of Israel, ratification of past agreements, and cessation of terror -while avoiding the dissolution of the PA or a humanitarian crisis.

10. Moreover, Israel faces a strategic inferiority vis-à-vis the Resistance Network and Hamas. The tools utilized by Israel in order to end its control over the Palestinians are less effective than those used by the Resistance Network in order to prevent Israel from achieving a political breakthrough.

11. The Reut Institute contends that the threat of the inversion requires:

a. Updating Israel's policy towards Hamas: Creating a Palestinian address - Israel should abandon its current policy and weigh two alternatives:

1. 'Policy of Exposure' - Israel should allow the PA to govern even if Hamas controls or participates in the government. The struggle against Hamas will be carried out through political means as Israel 'accompanies' Hamas through a 'corridor of difficult decisions'. These decisions will play the needs of the Palestinian population against Hamas' ideology. Recognition of Israel will crystallize from the practical level (de-facto) to the declarative level (de-jure);

2. 'Policy of Confrontation' - In the event that a civil war breaks out, Israel should deal a strong blow to the Hamas movement, while cooperating with Fatah, together with Egypt and Jordan. The goal is to ensure that Fatah wins, at least in the West Bank, so that it will be able to dissolve the Legislative Council and the government, strengthen Abu Mazen as president, and stabilize the political system;

b. Consolidating the separation between Israel and the Palestinians - Israel should promote the end of control over the Palestinians through negotiated or unilateral moves that will transfer powers and authorities from Israel to the PA such that the latter will take full responsibility for its territory and population;

c. Action to establish a Palestinian state which will lead to the irreversible end of Israeli occupation and control through a negotiated agreement or through unilateral moves.

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