ישראל נאמן | Lectures, Articles, Tours: Israel | Mideast onTarget | Elliot Chodoff & Yisrael Ne'eman | Arafat’s Existence Ensures Fence Construction

Arafat’s Existence Ensures Fence Construction

23 September 2003

By Yisrael Ne’eman

Paradoxically the hoopla over the Israeli cabinet decision in principle to expel Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasir Arafat is stimulating the security fence construction.  The overwhelming UN majority condemned the Israeli decision, thereby strengthening the chairman and his accompanying anti-peace, anti-two state solution positions.  By showing such massive support the world is an accomplice in burying any immediate possibilities for conflict resolution.

Faced with an Arafat not leaving the scene any time soon Israelis are demanding the erection of the separation barrier in louder and shriller voices.  Even Finance Minister Benyamin Netanyahu has called the fence a “national project” and announced all funds necessary will be appropriated, and this in a period of massive cutbacks in government spending, especially for social services.  He and others claim the fence will reduce suicide bomber attacks to a minimum thereby bringing investor confidence back to the state.  The fence is now transformed into an economic catalyst.

Arafat’s continued rule is Israel’s guarantee for a two-state solution formulated on Jerusalem’s unilateral determination of borders.  True the American administration is still at odds with the demarcation line especially in the Ariel area of the West Bank but it is safe to bet on the general acceptance of the Israeli proposal for the barrier line.  Arafat, an entrenched peace rejectionist, is firmly in control and will be for many years to come.  The only chance the Palestinians have of halting the development of the fence is for their moderate factions to gain the upper hand.  Not likely as long as Arafat reigns.

It is said Israeli PM Ariel Sharon is incapable of implementing a permanent status solution with the Palestinians because of the Likud’s right wing coalition partners and his own hard line security concepts.  This will not stop the PM from forcing the first two steps necessary before conflict resolution is total: the defeat of Palestinian terrorism and erection of de facto borders between Israel and the Palestinians.

And the longer Arafat is in control the more time there is available to guarantee these temporary interim measures become the pillars for a final status arrangement.