Israel thwarts Hamas suicide bombing plot on bus in Jerusalem
Israeli security authorities announced Tuesday morning that they have arrested a Hamas operative who planned a number of terror attacks in the Jerusalem area, including a suicide bombing on a bus in the capital’s Pisgat Ze’ev neighborhood.
Muhammad Fuaz Ibrahim Julani, of the Shuafat refugee camp on the outskirts of Jerusalem, was arrested last month while planning the attack at the behest of his Hamas handlers in the Gaza Strip, according to the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency).
The investigation of Julani revealed that he had discussed a number of potential attacks with his handlers, including a shooting attack at the Hizme checkpoint, a bombing at a store in Jerusalem he had formerly worked at, and bombing attacks at high profile sites in Jerusalem that would cause mass casualties, such as the Central Bus Station and the Malha Mall.
Such high profile targets was ruled out amid heavy Israeli security presence and the Hamas terrorists settled on the Pisgat Ze’ev bus bombing, the Shin Bet said.
Julani was instructed to gather the materials necessary to construct the bomb for the attack, many of which he turned over to Israeli authorities after his arrest.
He began to construct the device, carrying out explosive experiments until he was eventually caught by his parents. However, even after this point, the Shin Bet said, he continued in his efforts to build a bomb, traveling to Hebron to purchase additional materials.
Julani and his handlers decided that the attack would be carried out after the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha in mid-September, in order not to disrupt Muslim worshipers from going to Temple Mount.
Julani was given some 7,000 shekels for the cost of the attack in Hebron and he filmed a “last will and testament” to be distributed after the attack.
He was arrested before he could carry out the attack, after which he turned in two of his family members who had helped him hide weapons from Israeli authorities during his arrest.
It was not the first time that Julani had planned to carry out a terror attack. He reportedly told his interrogators that he had planned a stabbing attack in Pisgat Ze’ev a year earlier, but had relented at the last minute for fear Israeli authorities would destroy his parents’ home.
The Shin Bet stated that the terror plot bears witness to Hamas’s unceasing efforts to initiate terror attacks in Israel and the West Bank by enlisting operatives who are residents of Israel like Julani. (Jerusalem Post)
Riots erupt in east Jerusalem on Yom Kippur, Silwan man killed in clash with police
A 20-year-old Palestinian man who threw firebombs at Border Police during a riot in east Jerusalem’s Silwan neighborhood was shot dead shortly after Yom Kippur commenced Tuesday night, as police responded to two other riots in Arab communities in the capital
According to police, rioting broke out in Isawiya, Jebl Mukaber and Silwan less than an hour after Judaism’s holiest day began.
“Arabs living in these neighborhoods threw petrol bombs and rocks at officers who responded to a dangerous and life-threatening situation,” said Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld on Wednesday night.
“One resident in Silwan, who threw a petrol bomb at officers at close range, was injured critically and died. Police attempted to treat him for his injury, but local residents removed his body from the scene, and he died a short time later.”
The Palestinian man killed was identified in Arab media as Silwan resident Ali Atef Ebrahim Shoyoukhi, 20, who was released from prison earlier this year after serving a 15-month sentence.
Shoyoukhi was buried a few hours later.
Police dispersed the remaining rioters using non-lethal force, Rosenfeld said, adding that no other serious injuries were reported.
Despite the violence in east Jerusalem, Rosenfeld said thousands of Jews prayed at the Western Wall in the Old City without incident.
Over 3,500 officers from multiple units have been canvassing the capital during the High Holy Days, Rosenfeld said.
Also on Tuesday night, Palestinian gunmen fired on IDF soldiers near the West Bank security fence in the vicinity of the village of Ni’lin. Soldiers, who were dispatched to the area by an army lookout, returned fire, and the suspects fled the scene, the IDF Spokesperson said.
Units from the Efrain territorial brigade conducted searches in the area and arrested a number of suspects following the exchange of fire.
Meanwhile, two days after Special Patrol Adv.-Staff-Sgt.-Maj. Yosef Kirma, 29, and Levana Malichi, 60, a former Knesset employee, were shot and killed, and six others were wounded during a drive-by attack in the capital on Sunday, Jerusalem Deputy Mayor Meir Turgeman called for a complete shutdown of all Arab construction in the capital.
During an interview with Israel Radio, Turgeman, who also chairs the municipality’s Planning and Building Committee, also demanded that all terrorists’ families be deported to Gaza.
“We have reached the moment of truth,” he said. “Let’s put all the cards on the table: The people in eastern Jerusalem want to kill us and destroy us. Why should we give them yet another opportunity?
“We lived under the false hopes that these people would change their animal-like behavior if we help them, but it turns out that nothing helps. Why do people have to die in Jerusalem? Where is that written? Who said it?”
“We need to take responsibility here,” Turgeman continued. “And I’m going to set an example. I removed all construction plans in eastern Jerusalem from the agenda – I cancelled all the plans. They say stick and carrot, but there are no more carrots, only sticks.”
However, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat issued a statement soon after Turgeman’s interview saying the deputy mayor did not consult with him before speaking, and that the municipality would not enforce his reactive policy.
“[Turgeman’s] comments do not reflect the opinion of the mayor, or the policy or the municipality,” the statement said.
“The way to prevent terrorism is to fight without compromise, and with a heavy hand against those who choose the way of terror, incitement and violence – and simultaneously strengthen the moderates and serve residents who wish to act in accordance with the law.”
Rosenfeld said heightened security will remain in effect throughout the capital. (Jerusalem Post)
Mossad and IDF both conclude Ron Arad died in captivity
30 years after Israeli navigator Lt.-Col. Ron Arad ejected from his Mirage plane over Lebanon, Channel 2 reported on Monday that two new intelligence reports have been compiled in an attempt to uncover the enduring mystery of his fate.
Having been officially listed as missing in action since the incident 1986, few if any had realistic hopes that the airman was still alive. The reports confirmed the fears, indicating that Arad had indeed died in captivity, and earlier than previously estimated by the authorities.
Both of the reports, compiled separately by the IDF’s Military Intelligence Directorate (AMAN) and Mossad, included a comprehensive examination of new intelligence, in addition to previously obtained information throughout the years. Arad’s family were kept informed throughout the process.
Arad and his pilot evacuated their plane due to a technical malfunction during a mission to hit terror targets in the Lebanese city of Sidon as part of the First Lebanon War. The pilot, Yishai Aviram, was found and rescued by the IAF by clinging onto the outside of a helicopter as he was extracted under fire; Arad was taken prisoner by Shia militant group Amal.
During his imprisonment, three letters and one picture were sent to Israel. However, no contact has been made since 1987, when the Red Cross was last given access to Arad. (Jerusalem Post)
Israel has one of lowest pension payouts and highest children ‘s poverty levels in OECD
The annual welfare report released Monday by the Insurance Institute of Israel (NII) found that Israel is ranked among the lowest countries of the OECD, only above Chile, Mexico and South Korea, in terms of the welfare support it offers its citizens.
The report also found that children’s and senior citizens’ welfare, in addition to unemployment, are among the lowest in the Western world.
The director general of the National Insurance Institute of Israel (NII), Prof. Shlomo Mor-Yosef, called on the government to increase the welfare budget. He wrote in the report’s foreword, “The National Insurance Institute supports increasing public expenditure gradually by about 5 percentage points so that it reaches the average rate of OECD countries.” This recommendation has been repeated time and time again over the past decade to no avail.
According to the report, in 2015, the social security system was mildly strengthened: The 2013 cuts to child benefits were cancelled and the money lost from May 2015 until present day was given back retroactively. This was done both by increasing child benefits and by starting a NIS 50 a month savings plan for each child. However, Israel still ranks exceedingly poorly on the hierarchy of welfare expenditure.
The yearly report also showed that while children are the poorest sector of Israeli society, millennials – those between the ages of 18-25 – were the poorest sector of the majority of developed countries.
The NII meanwhile paid out approximately NIS 74.2 billion in 2015, compared to NIS 71.6 billion in 2014. This figure includes NIS 1.5 billion to various government agencies for different community development projects, along with the operating expenses for the Social Security System.
Israel invested 16.1 percent of its GDP in health and welfare services. More than half of the expenditures were towards pension payments (equaling approximately 8.7 percent of the GDP), while the rest (7.2 percent of the GDP) went to went to public services, primarily public health services.
The report shows that a child in Israel has a one in four chance of being poor, which is the highest probability compared to other age groups. The report also showed that the amount of people living in poverty in Israel is 74 percent above the OECD average.
“This poverty primarily affects children and the elderly,” the document said.
Additionally, the document showed that Israel’s poverty rate in all age groups is higher than the poverty rate of most of the other countries. The only exception was amongst those in the 51-65 year old age group, where the rate is similar to that in other countries.
The document said “this fact illustrates the great diversity in poverty rates in Israel by age group, and on the high amount of income inequality in this aspect compared to the average in other developed countries.” (Ynet News)
Thousands flock to Western Well as Israel marks Yom Kippur
Thousands of Jews flocked to Jerusalem on Monday and Tuesday, ahead of the holiest day in the Jewish calendar, Yom Kippur.
Yom Kippur marks the end of the Ten Days of Repentance, which begins on Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish new year. This period usually sees a surge in visitors to the Jewish Quarter in the Old City of Jerusalem, some for the purposes of prayer and some, including many secular Israelis, just to enjoy the special atmosphere up close. There are also “selichot tours” of the Tower of David and the Jewish Quarter.
The traditional selichot (penitential) prayers were held at the Western Wall on Monday evening, with Chief Ashkenazi Rabbi of Israel David Lau and Sephardi Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef leading the service.
Security forces were placed on high alert nationwide Tuesday, ahead of the Yom Kippur holiday.
A full closure was imposed on Judea and Samaria, and all crossings linking Israel and the Gaza Strip were closed in the early hours of Tuesday morning. The closure will remain in force until midnight Wednesday, pending a security situation assessment, the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit said.
The crossings will open for humanitarian cases, medical cases and specific exceptions, as approved by the Office of Coordinator of the Government Activities in the Territories.
The Israel Police and Border Police deployed thousands of troops and volunteers nationwide to ensure public safety.
Thousands of police officers were deployed in and around Jerusalem to ensure the safety of the scores of visitors to the capital. The Jerusalem District Police has increased security around all major synagogues in the city, as well.
The state service for the casualties of the 1973 Yom Kippur War has been scheduled for Thursday. The war, marking its 43rd anniversary this year, claimed the lives of 2,673 Israeli soldiers.
The service is set to take place in the National Military Cemetery on Mount Herzl, in Jerusalem. President Reuven Rivlin, Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman and IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gadi Eizenkot are scheduled to attend the ceremony.
Meanwhile, security forces on Tuesday razed the Nablus home of one of the terrorists involved in the Oct. 1, 2015 shooting attack in which Israeli couple Eitam and Naama Henkin were murdered.
The home was razed by IDF, Border Police and Civil Administration troops. (Israel Hayom)
UNESCO to vote on resolutions ignoring Jewish ties to Temple Mount
UNESCO is slated to vote twice this month on Palestinian initiated resolutions that ignore Jewish ties to its most holy religious site of the Temple Mount and the Western Wall area in Jerusalem.
The first of these votes will be taken on Thursday or Friday of this week by the 58-member Executive Board of the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization in Paris.
In advance of that vote, Israel’s Mission to UNESCO in Paris, has given board members and international diplomats a brochure detailing the deep historical connections Judaism has to those sites, which are also holy to Christianity and Islam.
“These facts and evidences will leave no doubt, and without undermining other connection of other religions to the holy places in Jerusalem, of the deepest and longest Jewish presence in Jerusalem since ancient times,” Israel’s Ambassador to UNESCO Carmel Shama-Hacohen wrote.
“Every attempt to distort the history and harm the above mentioned relations of the Jewish people and Jerusalem, is an attempt to rewrite the history in a dangerous, unfair and one-sided manner,” he said.
Among the evidence listed in the brochure is a 9th Century BC inscription referring to the House of David, an 8th Century BC seal from King Hezekiah, and a stone etching of the Jewish Menorah from the year 66 AD found in Jerusalem.
The Executive Board vote will be followed by another vote on a similarly worded resolution that will be brought before the World Heritage Committee that is meeting in Paris on October 24-26.
The resolutions, which have been informally put forward by the Palestinians, take Israel to task for a wide range of activities in Jerusalem and the West Bank.
The initial parts of the text focus on the Temple Mount area. The language used in the resolutions refers to the Temple Mount area almost exclusively by is Muslim name of Al-Haram Al-Sharrif (the Noble Sanctuary).
The text, however, does state that Jerusalem and its Old City walls are important to all three religions.
In the draft of the Executive Board resolution dated September 2016 that was shown to The Jerusalem Post, the Western Wall was mentioned twice in quotes. Otherwise it was referenced in the text by its Muslim name of the Buraq Plaza.
As a member state of UNESCO since 2011, Palestine may submit resolutions to UNESCO bodies such as the World Heritage Committee.
In 2015 the Palestinian government began a UNESCO campaign to reclassify the Temple Mount, but failed to garner enough support for an October resolution that would have formally declared the area as an exclusively Muslim shrine.
When UNESCO’s 58-member Executive Board met in Paris in April, 2016, it adopted a resolution that spoke solely of Muslim ties to the Temple Mount.
In July, another resolution with the same linguistic issue was brought forward by the Palestinians and the Jordanians to the 21-member World Heritage Committee.
The matter was moved to the October 24-26 meeting without a vote, when the failed coup in Turkey forced UNESCO to cut short that July session.
UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova has in the past spoken out against such resolutions stating: “To deny or conceal any of the Jewish, Christian or Muslim traditions undermines the integrity of the site, and runs counter to the reasons that justified its inscription in 1981.”
Ultimately, however, the decision to pass these resolutions is up to the member states on the various UNESCO committees.
A bi-partisan group of 39 US Congressmen led by US Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla) wrote a letter this week to the Executive Board members asking them to vote against the latest resolution when the matter is brought up on Thursday and Friday of this week.
“This resolution flies in the face of, among other things, science as recent archeological excavations, notably in the City of David, have revealed incontrovertible, physical evidence that reaffirms Jewish and Christian ties to the holy city of Jerusalem,” Cruz said.
Rep. Ros-Lehtinen said that the resolution implies that “Jerusalem is inconsequential to Jews and Christians, with the intent of laying the groundwork for additional UN efforts to delegitimize Israel and undermine its status as the capital of the Jewish State.”
“UNESCO was created to build intercultural understanding yet, as is the case across the entire UN system, intolerance and intentionally corrosive behavior on the part of many of the organization’s members has undermined its original mission and only further underscores the need for drastic reform throughout the entire UN system,” Ros-Lehtinen said. (Jerusalem Post)
Symposium | A security system for the two-state solution
by Kris Bauman & Ilan Goldenberg Fathom Journal
Colonel Kris Bauman is Senior Military Fellow at the Institute for National Strategic Studies (INSS) at the National Defence University and in 2013-2014, worked as Chief of Staff for the Senior Advisor to the Secretary of Defence, General John R. Allen. Ilan Goldenberg is Director of Center for New American Security(CNAS) Middle East Security Program and Former Chief of Staff to the Special Envoy for Israeli-Palestinian Negotiations. Bauman and Goldenberg’s Fathomarticle explains how their paper builds on previous work in negotiations and aims to provide a starting point for further discussion and refinement in order to resolve the security component of final-status discussions between Israelis and Palestinians. Amongst other things, they are guided by the challenge of preventing the West Bank from going the way of Gaza after Israel’s withdrawal in 2005.
For the past year the CNAS has developed the most comprehensive public study ever released on security arrangements between Israelis and Palestinians in the context of a two-state solution. The work was informed by our own experiences as members of the American team during the last round of final status negotiations in 2013-14 and hours of consultations with Israeli, Palestinian, Jordanian, and American active and retired security and political officials. We concluded during those negotiations that Israelis will never agree to a permanent status, two-state solution unless their security concerns are addressed. Palestinians will not sign on to an agreement that includes unacceptable violations of their sovereignty or perpetuates what they view as an endless occupation. This tension is at the heart of the Israeli-Palestinian security dilemma and any security system must meet both sides’ needs.
WHY PRESENT THIS NOW?
Before describing the details of the proposals, it is important to explain why we chose to pursue this work, especially at a time where there is no appetite among Israeli or Palestinian political leaders or the general population for a renewed peace process. We are under no illusions about that.
First, the issue has risen significantly in importance. During the 2013-14 negotiations, we were somewhat surprised to find that security had moved to the top of the list of intractable issues. If you speak to negotiators from Camp David (2000) or Annapolis (2007-2008), the biggest challenges were perceived at that time to be Jerusalem and refugees. On security, negotiators generally assumed the experts would be able to get together and work things out. But much has changed since 2000. Israel’s experiences after departing southern Lebanon, living through the second intifada, and dealing with the aftermath of the withdrawal from Gaza have changed the perspective of Israeli society. Security has gone from a technical issue to be resolved by experts to one that is central for the Israeli public and therefore requires more work. There will be no agreement unless an Israeli leader can clearly explain to the public why a Palestinian state in the West Bank will not just lead to another Gaza.
Beyond the elevated importance of this issue, experience reveals the value of continuing to work on these issues even when no process is underway. Back in 2013 when US Secretary of State John Kerry unexpectedly secured an agreement to resume negotiations, one of the first steps we took was to go back and review everything that had been done in previous rounds and by various external track two efforts. A fair amount of work had been done on borders, refugees, and Jerusalem, and that was enormously helpful as the US worked with Israeli and Palestinian negotiators to find creative solutions to these pressing challenges. But there was almost no detailed rigorous external work on security because it had previously not been as central of a challenge. We hope that by releasing this work now, that gap will be filled for future negotiators.
The report can also be helpful because it paints the picture of an achievable security end state that can guide Israeli, Palestinian, and American security efforts today. Because there is currently no political agreement on an end state, there is no clear vision of what the Palestinian Authority Security Forces (PASF) are supposed to become; in particular, there is no agreement on what their final capabilities should be. This creates difficulty for all three parties. The United States Security Coordinator (USSC) and their international partners do not have a target for training and equipping the PASF; the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) do not know what to support and what to object. The PASF is caught in the middle with no clarity as to what the Israelis and the international community will expect of them. This report offers an end state that all parties can begin to work toward, even before an agreement is signed.
Third, we wanted to demonstrate through a serious detailed study that security is truly achievable, and therefore, that security is not a valid reason to postpone serious negotiations on a two-state agreement. This is an important message, especially for the Israeli public who cares so deeply about this issue and whose support for a two-state agreement can give its elected leaders the necessary space to make tough decisions.
We have two other preliminary notes about the context and purpose of the study. First, the final report purposely included in the title the phrase, ‘Advancing the Dialogue’, because we do not consider the work complete. Rather, this is a living document that provides a starting point for further discussion and refinement and indeed builds on the previous work that has been done. We are not wedded to the proposals in this study as the be all and end all and indeed in a number of places we offer a series of options for negotiators to consider as opposed to just one solution. We hope to see the next level of detail developed as the dialogue continues.
Finally, our assumption on the interaction of all final status issues is that security will lean toward Israeli demands in exchange for borders leaning toward Palestinian demands. This is a formula that has been clear to negotiators for years. Therefore, if one were to offer the security proposals in this study to Palestinian leaders in isolation, they would be rejected. However, if these security proposals came in conjunction with a commitment to talk about 1967 borders with reciprocal swaps, then it could become the basis for further negotiation.
THE SECURITY SYSTEM
The security system would include four mutually-reinforcing layers: (1) internal security inside the new Palestinian State to counter the threat of terrorism and other internal challenges; (2) border security to prevent smuggling or cross border attacks; (3) non-ground domain security, including air, maritime, and the electromagnetic spectrum; and (4) regional security with the Arab states to further reinforce security for Israelis and Palestinians. Even beyond all of these layers, in extreme situations Israel would still have the capacity to take unilateral action to defend itself by itself.
Six key principles remained at the forefront of our thinking to answer the question, how do you keep the West Bank from going the way of Gaza after the Israeli withdrawal in 2005?
Build a multi-layered system that addresses Israel’s security concerns in which Israel retains the right of self-defence as well as the capacity to defend itself by itself, but ensures this is only necessary in extremis. After the unilateral Gaza withdrawal, there was only one layer of protection and only one method of recourse if things went badly: re-invade. In this proposal, there are multiple, interlocking, mutually-reinforcing layers of security and insurance mechanisms to ensure there is no repeat;
Minimise Israeli visibility to Palestinian civilians and pursue significant early steps that signal a fundamental change on the ground to Palestinians. This is critical to establish trust early, signal to Palestinians that Israel is committed to redeployment, and reduce the manoeuvre space of potential spoilers;
Plan a conditions-based, performance-dependent, area-by-area phased redeployment of Israeli security forces with target timetables, benchmarks, and an effective remediation process. This ensures that no Israeli redeployment is taken prematurely before conditions are right but also gives the Palestinians assurances that there is a clear process for implementing the redeployment of the IDF;
Conduct significant upgrades to security systems and infrastructure. Much of this can come through international and American support and improve security for all sides;
Build joint operations centres and data sharing mechanisms for all parties such that there is maximum situational awareness of the security environment for Israelis but minimal intrusion on Palestinian sovereignty;
Employ American forces for training, equipping, evaluating, and monitoring, and for conducting highly limited operations along the Jordan River. This is perhaps the most controversial issue for Israelis given their concerns about any third party force. The study offers a number of options for negotiators to consider, but believes this is the best of a number of imperfect options.
The internal Palestinian security system would include a non-militarised Palestinian security force whose maximum capabilities resemble a gendarmerie model. The PASF would also have a small, highly capable Palestinian Counterterrorism (CT) unit trained and equipped to a level analogous with a Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) unit of a large American city. The Palestinian system would be further bolstered with a full-spectrum, self-contained Palestinian counterterrorism system composed of vetted and protected personnel including intelligence officers to detect terrorist activity, CT forces to raid sites and arrest perpetrators, forensics experts for site exploitation, pre-trial detention officers to ensure prisoners do not escape, prosecutors and judges to conduct trials and issue warrants, post-trial detention officers to ensure prisoners are not released early, and finally, stand-alone detention facilities.
The entire system would contain joint operations centres that include Israeli, Palestinian, and American security forces for sharing intelligence, identifying potential targets, and coordinating operations. There would be multiple mechanisms for rapidly resolving disagreements between the parties on the merits or needs of a particular operation, including among security professionals, at the bilateral political level, and, where required, through American mediation.
The border security system between Jordan and the future Palestinian state would be far superior to the one that exists today. It would include crossing point facilities between Jordan and the new Palestinian state that would be staffed by the PASF (on the Palestinian side) and Jordanian security forces (JSF) (on the Jordanian side of a crossing) but would include American monitors on the Palestinian side who are qualified to re-inspect people or cargo if Israel deems it necessary. During the transition years, Israel would remain responsible for overall security at the crossing points, though with only a low-visibility Israeli presence that over time would transition to nonvisible and, if technology allows, eventually to electronic monitoring. A state-of-the-art traveller database would be shared by Israelis, Palestinians, and Jordanians that would include watch lists, biometric data for positive identification, and other relevant information.
A multi-layered border trace security system would be installed between Jordan and the new Palestinian state. It would include a two kilometre security zone between Route 90 and the Jordan River, similar to the one that exists now on the Jordanian side of the Jordan Valley and would be symmetrically enforced on the Palestinian side. It would include aerostat-borne monitoring systems; redundant physical barriers, sensors, and monitoring systems on the border itself; and patrols conducted by Palestinian and American forces.
Data from the crossing points for personnel, baggage, and cargo, and data from the border trace security system would feed into a joint border control centre that would have representatives from all relevant parties and into individual headquarters elements in each relevant country. All parties would have full situational awareness of crossing operations at all times. Many similar concepts could also be applied to the Egyptian border with Gaza, but these would have to be specifically designed and tailored once Gaza and the West Bank come under unified governance that adheres to the Quartet conditions.
There would also have to be additional steps taken on the border between Israel and the new Palestinian State. The security barrier along the agreed lines of final borders would be completed. There would also be exceptional security zones in sensitive areas, which would require additional zoning and/or monitoring by security forces and limitations on construction to prevent possible attacks (e.g. on the pathway into Ben Gurion International Airport). These zones would be combined with anti-tunnelling technology in order to prevent infiltration near the border.
Non-ground domain security would include an airspace security system consisting of vetted personnel, clear air traffic procedures for normal conditions and emergency situations (in which Israeli military air traffic controllers would immediately assume control), up-to-date air traffic control facilities and equipment, and secure airport infrastructure and procedures. The Palestinian government would have sovereign airspace above the future State of Palestine from the surface to 10,000 feet above sea level, and airports in the Jordan Valley and Gaza.
A multi-layered maritime security system would be created in which Palestinians would govern their territorial waters off Gaza, but with an external layer of an Israeli security zone, and standard procedures in international waters, where Israel is free to intercept, board, and inspect any ship (in accordance with international law). A Palestinian port either in Gaza or on a man-made island off Gaza would be constructed with special security procedures analogous to all border-crossing points.
There would also be significant investments in enhancing the efficiency and use of the electromagnetic spectrum (EMS) by Israelis and Palestinians to increase overall access to EMS for both sides.
Beyond all of these steps internally, a regional security system would include new mechanisms for Israel to work bilaterally and multilaterally with Arab states on common threats, including responding to Islamic extremism and Iranian interference. Some of this cooperation is already occurring, but it can be greatly enhanced in the context of a two-state agreement. Deeper intelligence cooperation and operational coordination would exist between Israel and Arab states. New venues would be created to discuss security-related misunderstandings and peacefully resolve conflicts. There would be an ‘inside envelope’ of two sets of trilateral security relationships: one made up of Israel, the future state of Palestine, and Jordan to address issues around the West Bank; and a second related to the Gaza Strip, involving Israel, the Palestinians, and Egypt. There would also be an ‘outer envelope’ open to Saudi Arabia, its Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) partners, and possibly other states in North Africa and elsewhere, giving Israel an opportunity to engage on broader regional challenges and opportunities.
Finally, even beyond all of these layers, in extreme situations, Israel would still have the option of last resort, as any sovereign state does, to act unilaterally to defend itself. No Palestinian leader would agree to Israeli unilateral action and this would not be part of the agreement. But Israel already acts unilaterally in places such as Syria and Lebanon when it is in its interests just as do many sovereign states when they face a direct threat. Obviously, any such action would come with diplomatic risk to Israel and to the agreement, which Israel would have to accept. A side agreement could be reached with the US outlining the kinds of extreme conditions under which Israel would receive American diplomatic support in the aftermath of such action. But the whole point of the multi-layered security system is to ensure that this option very rarely gets used.
THE TRANSITION PROCESS
The key to moving safely from current arrangements to the end state of this security architecture is a carefully-managed transition process. Israelis insist on a conditions based process for redeployment and want a final veto before any decision for IDF forces to redeploy. But Palestinians will never agree to an Israeli veto as they believe that such a process would stall continuously. Our proposal attempts to bridge this gap through a professionalised security-criteria-based process that would assuage Israeli concerns. But this process would still include target timetables and effective remediation processes to alleviate Palestinian anxiety about a perpetual redeployment process. Overall we believe that it would take between 10 and 15 years to implement the full redeployment, but that a rapid reduction of visible Israeli presence can occur very early in the transition to reduce friction to daily Palestinian life.
A Security Implementation and Verification Group (SIVG) consisting of Israeli, Palestinian, and American security professionals would be established to plan, lead, and implement the transition.
There would be an initial phase of early steps agreed to by the Israelis to reduce visible Israeli presence and increase Palestinian sovereignty. These would include an end to Area A incursions; the turning over of significant portions of Area C to Palestinian civic and security control; early redeployment from the northern quarter of the West Bank where there are relatively few settlements; and rapidly reduced visible Israeli presence on the border crossings between Jordan and Palestine.
The SIVG would provide training to the PASF, and a separate evaluation cell staffed by Americans, Israelis, and Palestinians would judge PASF performance in evaluations and operational tests against clear criteria agreed upon in advance by all three parties. If the SIVG judged that the Palestinians had met a particular series of criteria, then IDF redeployment from a specific area would proceed as planned. If the Palestinians were judged to have not hit a specific metric, then the SIVG would develop a remediation plan to repair the deficiencies using a target timetable not more than half the length of the initial timetable. If after the remediation process disagreement remained about whether criteria had been met, then the issue would be elevated to the political level for Israelis, Palestinians, and Americans to address.
In the end we believe this system can work to meet both Israeli and Palestinian needs and credibly and seriously address the most important security concern about the two-state solution, which is that any Israeli redeployment will only lead to the creation of Gaza on the West Bank. Indeed, as we developed these solutions, the Gaza experience was always at the front of our minds. Ultimately, when Israel unilaterally left Gaza, it had only one insurance policy – that it could go back in. But this isn’t a great insurance policy and as it turns out, it is one that Israel has preferred not to use.
The CNAS study argues that instead a security system for the two-state solution will have several insurance policies: (1) stronger relations with the Arab world; (2) better border security, (3) an effective counterterrorism system in the West Bank; (4) gradual conditions-based redeployment; (5) external American monitors watching the process and training and advising security forces; and (6) at the end of all of that, there is still Israel’s ability to take unilateral action if it must. These six insurance policies will create a much more effective system to ensure that the West Bank never becomes Gaza even after an Israeli redeployment.
Shai Abramson, IDF Chief Cantor, Sings Unetaneh Tokef
the most poignant Yom Kippur prayer