The Right Coast

December 31, 2003
The Real Sharon Plan
By Michael Rappaport

A great column by Barry Rubin in the Jerusalem Post (link requires registration). Rubin begins:
    It's astonishing to read interpretations of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's speech at the Interdisciplinary Center's Herzliya conference.

    On one hand, it is being analyzed as a unilateral withdrawal bordering on surrender to terrorism; on the other hand, others are saying that the plan is a meaningless gesture or trick.
Rubin corrects these misinterpretations:
    [Sharon's] approach is to ask which specific pieces of territory it is in Israel's interest to hold, with a view both to short-term security during the Interim Era and in some cases to obtain as a result of a peace agreement if and when that happens.

    In some cases, this could mean pulling out of areas which Israel controlled at the end of the Oslo process in September 2000. Illegal outposts would be removed, which the government already agreed to do in the road map. Some small settlements which were judged to be of little value and big security problems would be dismantled.

    By the same token, however, there might be other small, uninhabited areas under Palestinian control as of September 2000 where Israel might remain. And on top of this, Israel continues to insist on its right to enter any place in the West Bank or Gaza Strip if security needs require.

    In short, combined with the completion of the security fence, this is a rational reevaluation of policy. It is not intended to prefigure a comprehensive peace treaty, but rather to govern Israeli behavior in the Interim Era.