Unilateral Disengagement Plus
A modification and repair of the Prime Minister's first draft
The Omega Group - Middle East Policy Division
P.O. Box 4289, Jerusalem 91043
Copyright 2004. All Rights Reserved. The Omega Group.
In Israel today, nearly every political flank wants to disengage from the Palestinians, though each side seems to prefer a disengagement involving the strategic relocation of either Jews or Arabs, depending on one's political orientation.
Historically, the Palestinian refugee problem was a direct result of the military offensive launched by regional Arab countries. Ultimately, these Arab countries are responsible for reparations and compensation to the Palestinians.
Until then, for her own sake, Israel needs to contend with the negative long-term consequences of these military, terrorist, and diplomatic offensives against her, and the resulting state of affairs in the region.
After attempting to implement numerous mutual arrangements with the Palestinians, Israel determined that, in this generation, there is no Palestinian representative with whom to negotiate.
Thus we are left with a realization that the Oslo paradigm of a negotiated disengagement based on Everything (Land, Security, Transfer of Jews) for Peace is too detached from the reality on the ground to work.
As a result, the Prime Minister has reintroduced the idea of Unilateral Disengagement
The Prime Minister recently failed within his own party to bring forth approval for his own unilateral disengagement plan.
The Prime Minister's current plan has eight serious faults which inevitably led to its rejection.
This document will present a modification and repair of the Prime Minister's plan.
Faults with the Prime Minister's Disengagement Plan
Those faults are:
1. Capitulation to terrorism.
2. The expulsion of Jews is inherently immoral and racist.
3. The expulsion of Jews sets precedents in other countries as being acceptable behavior.
4. The one-sided expulsion of Jews threatens the social unity of Israel and undermines morale.
5. Zero penalty to the Palestinian leadership and terrorist organizations.
6. No solution to the "Philadelphia Route" security issues with regard to defense and the easy access via tunnels and border crossings for weapons, drugs and terrorist smuggling.
7. No solution to the "occupation" issue leaving us back where we started.
8. No solution to the festering refugee camps leaving an underlying aspect of the problem to flourish.
We are proposing modifications of the Prime Minister's plan for Unilateral Disengagement in Gaza that confronts and resolves these above mentioned issues.
While we expect there to be strong objections from all sides, this plan actually fixes the real faults of the Prime Minister's plan and creates a workable solution to Israel's long and short term benefit and even to the long term benefit of the Palestinians if they choose to accept this opportunity.
It should be recognized that disengaging from any part of the Land of Israel, even temporarily, is something painful, and even those that politically, naturally tilt towards this notion should empathize with this loss for the People of Israel and recognize the value of what is being lost.
It is important to note that this plan also fits into President Bush's letter of understanding that Israel cannot realistically return to the 1949 armistice lines.
Objectives of the Modification
The objectives of the modification must be to do the following:
1. Disengage the Jews from the Arabs in a way which makes it clear that Israel is not running from terrorism, participating in an uneven trade, or setting bad precedents.
2. Encourage the Palestinian leadership to abandon terrorism by demonstrating that terrorism leads to the permanent loss of strategic assets, especially land.
3. Improve the living conditions of the Palestinians, especially those living in slums and refugee camps, giving them a better base to start over with.
4. Protect the security and long-term national interests of Israel.
5. Recognize the reality that the Palestinians have land that they too can trade for Peace, thus implementing a healthy paradigm shift away from Land-for-Peace to Peace-for-Peace and Land-for-Land.
13 Steps to Take
In order to meet these goals, Israel must undertake the following unilateral moves:
1. Declare the full applicability of the Fourth Geneva Convention to the disputed territories, and ratify the 1977 Protocol to the Fourth Geneva Convention, with reservations. Clarify that all steps in the Disengagement Plan conform strictly to the provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention and 1977 Protocols.
2. Evacuate two Jewish towns in Gaza: Netzarim and Kfar Darom.
3. Annex the Southern sector and Northern edge of the Gaza Strip (see Map).
The southern area extends from the Egyptian border up to Gush Katif and from the Mediterranean Sea until the current Eastern border of Gush Katif.
The border along Egypt (not in the current settlement district) is annexed up to the Sufa crossing.
4. Resettle (and fully compensate) Jews evacuated from the two above mentioned towns into these annexed area.
5. Relocate as many Arab residents as possible from the annexed Southern sector slums and refugee camps into the two evacuated towns.
6. Build (in advance) new modern towns, or expand existing ones, such that they are capable of resettling all the Arabs from their squalor, slums and refugee camps in the Southern End into these evacuated areas.
7. Relocate the Arabs of the southern end as new housing becomes available.
8. Invite the residents of Egyptian Rafiah (nearly 100% refugees) to relocate together with residents of Gazan Rafiah to the new housing projects within Arab Gaza.
9. Officially close the Kissufim and Karni junctions as well as all other exits from Arab Gaza into Israel.
10. Modify the security fence to extend, to include, and to embrace the annexed areas.
11. Bar all Palestinians from crossing the border to work in Israel.
12. Create a fund for allowing Gazan families to emigrate.
13. Declare Israeli willingness to recognize a democratic Arab State of Palestine within the Gaza Strip free of terrorism, should the Palestinians wish to declare such a state.
10 Results of Taking These Steps
By taking these exact steps we will achieve the following:
1. Arabs obtain territorial contiguity within Gaza.
2. Arab refugees are removed from their under-serviced refugee camps, slums and squalor and placed in high standard housing developments.
3. All Jews are removed from Arab communities. Steps 1 -3 remove all friction points.
4. Establish a precedent for the relocation of Arabs - as per Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention - as a deterrent to terrorism.
5. Demonstrate that Israel is not acquiescing to terrorism.
6. Avoid a precedent for transferring Jews except in juxtaposition with high, non-unilateral consequences.
7. Link Jewish Gaza to pre-67 Israel while gaining contiguity.
8. Block Arab Gaza from pre-67 Israel.
9. Protect the Gaza-Egypt border.
10. Reestablish the Fourth Geneva Convention as an instrument for protecting the rights and security of both the Occupier and the Occupied, while not prejudicing either's historical claims to the disputed territories.
Within Arab Gaza, the Arabs will have free reign, except to take actions against Israel. The former refugees can decide to take advantage of their free housing and quality infrastructure or not. They will also be allowed to leave to any third country that will take them and Israel will foot the bill, unless outside donors wish to help.
In short, these modifications to the Prime Minister's Disengagement Plan correct its deficiencies and let it achieve the actual outcome he said it would - Disengagement, Security, Punishment, Deterrence, and Growth.
Future Modifications and Improvements
Future improvements and benefits to the Palestinian quality of life would be dependent on their reforming their educational system to teach to peace, embracing democracy, implementing democratic institutions, and completely disengaging from terrorism.
When the above reforms are implemented and verified, the Palestinian leadership will be able to negotiate with Israel regarding:
1. The EU building the Palestinians a Sea Port.
2. Airspace rights.
3. A corridor passage to Egypt - possibly as a Gunnel (Gaza Tunnel).
4. Opening the Erez Industrial Zone.
5. A corridor passage to Arab cities in the Annexed areas of Judea and Samaria (Judea and Samaria will be discussed in the next document).
- Disengaging Palestinian infrastructure needs from Israeli infrastructure (water, electricity, etc.), provided that the Palestinians only deploy alternative infrastructures solutions that won't negatively impact on the quality of life of their citizens or damage the State of Israel, its environment, or its citizens.
It must be clear that these above benefits and negotiations will only be possible when the Palestinian leadership chooses to prove itself as a legitimate negotiating partner by embracing democracy, completely disarming, and disengaging from terrorism in all forms.
Until now, the State of Israel has chosen not to officially apply the Fourth Geneva Convention to the territories. This is a strategic mistake as it costs Israel dearly on the diplomatic front, while creating the misperception that somehow the 4GC would limit Israel's actions there. In point of fact, the 4GC was carefully designed to protect Occupying Powers without prejudicing their reasons for being in the Occupied Territory. The 4GC allows for evacuation of occupied civilians, even total evacuation when there are "imperative military reasons" (Article 49.2). It also allows the Occupying Power to execute not only murderers of its soldiers and any civilians, but also those who seriously sabotage its military equipment, as well as those who commit acts of espionage. (Article 68.3).
Moreover, Israeli politicians have feared that the 4GC prejudices our historical claims by calling us an "Occupier". This is simply not true. The clearest example of this fact is found in Article 4 of the 1977 Protocols to the Fourth Geneva Convention, which states:
The application of the Conventions and of this Protocol, as well as the conclusion of the agreements provided for therein, shall not affect the legal status of the Parties to the conflict. Neither the occupation of a territory nor the application of the Conventions and this Protocol shall affect the legal status of the territory in question.
This is one of the reasons why Israel should ratify the 1977 Protocols. One other reason is Article 54 which allows Occupying Powers to cut off civilians from their fields and water sources where there is imperative military necessity or the threat of invasion. This article, more than any other point of international law, proves the legality of the security fence now being built by Israel.
The only article in the Protocols which is at all problematic would be Article 1.4 which refers to "peoples [who] are fighting against colonial domination and alien occupation and against racist regimes in the exercise of their right of self-determination", as those who are protected by the Convention's provisions. This line was added in order to appease groups such as the PLO, and actually contradicts the UN Charter and especially the 4GC which can only protect occupied civilians when they act as civilians and do not enter the fighting. The solution is for Israel to accept the Protocols with the reservation that it does not accept this statement. Ratifying conventions with reservations is a perfectly accepted practice in the UN, and is actually surprisingly common.
Ideally this must be paid for by the Quartet members, but Israel cannot expect a positive contribution from these bodies so funding for this Palestinian humanitarian project will come from the Israeli-withheld PA tax revenues which the PA had been openly funneling into terrorist activities.
The Government of Israel will call upon the U.S., the U.N., and the EU to redirect their funding to this 100% humanitarian project instead of their continued funding of the PA terrorist regime.
About the Omega Group: The Omega Group is an Israeli Think tank dedicated to providing long-term strategic solutions to the various stumbling blocks that Israeli society faces on its journey towards democracy, capitalism, and Middle East peace. Associates of the Omega Group cross the Israeli political spectrum, though all strive for a Jewish, democratic, capitalistic, bright, caring, and peaceful future for the People of Israel. The Omega Group does not take funding from outside sources and is not affiliated with any political party.