In response to Palestinian statehood bid, government issues empty threats

Foreign Minister Lieberman may offer the Palestinians a ‘temporary state’ with no borders, which actually translates to no state at all.

The Israeli government is so threatened by the Palestinian Authority’s bid to go to the UN in order to achieve non-member observer state status, that it has gone through a series of moves in recent weeks that began with threats, and has now transitioned into what is being called an “offer” by the Foreign Ministry.

According to a report in Haaretz on Wednesday,  Foreign Minister Lieberman is considering offering the Palestinians recognition of statehood within “provisional borders” in exchange for them dropping their UN bid. What are these borders? According to the document, the borders would be:

…based in Area A of the West Bank, where Palestinians would have control over security and civilian matters, and Area B, where Palestinians would have control over civilian issues alone.

Um, that isn’t an offer. It is simply reinforcing the status quo of the Oslo Accords, which is precisely the break down of pseudo-sovereignty in Areas A and B. This, while Area C – 60 percent of the West Bank – would remain, as it is now under full Israeli control, governed by a clear policy of Palestinian transfer.

So essentially, the Israeli government is mulling an “offer” in which the Palestinians would forfeit the chance at international recognition (albeit symbolic) of a Palestinian state along the pre-1967 borders in order to get what? More of the same.

What’s worse, Israel claims its primary motivations are to thwart unilateral action. This is to me the most enraging part. After all, everything the Israeli government does, on a daily basis, when it comes to its relations to Palestinians, to facts on the ground, and to its attitude towards the entire region (i.e. Iran) is unilateral. In fact, Israel’s government constantly boasts and insists on its sovereign right to do as it pleases in order to defend itself and its interests as the independent Jewish state. So why don’t the Palestinians have that right?

The Israeli government is apparently very scared of the Palestinian Authority getting this UN status, since it will then allow Abbas to to take Israel to the International Criminal Court and further expose and delegitimize Israeli policies on the world stage. Israel wants to look strong, but right now, it looks weak, and scared and ridiculous.

This so-called offer comes just days after Israel’s government threatened to withhold the transfer of PA tax money if it did not drop its UN bid – something a parent would do to a child. It then decided on Tuesday to threaten to annul the Oslo Accords, which is outrageous considering that Oslo is precisely what institutionalized the occupation and formalized the government’s power over Palestinians in the West Bank without having to deal with any of the responsibility, as Noam Sheizaf has already written about here.

The Israeli government went from one threat to the next, and is now considering a supposed “offer” which is cynical, disingenuous and totally unrealistic – and thus it cannot be seen as anything but another empty threat.