The huge issues surrounding Netanyahu’s demilitarized state are not how many
and what gizmos the PA “security forces” can have.
The big questions are:
#1. Who decides there is a violation? It sounds like Israel would agree
to a third party making this determination. And there isn’t a third party
around – including the U.S. that won’t ignore Palestinian violations when it
serves their interests. The Egyptians to this day insist that no weapons
are being smuggled form Egypt to Gaza…
#2. What happens when there is a violation? Israel is allowed to invade
at will and has a green light to do whatever it wants inside the sovereign
Palestinian state? Anyone claiming that this is possible is smoking
something – and it isn’t tobacco.
#3. What happens to the sovereign status of the Palestinian state after it
violates this in terms of its legal status?
Oops. At Netanyahu warned again and again in the past the answer is –
nothing. It remains a sovereign state. And if it signs a defense compact
with Syria and Iran. Oops. Right……]
Analysis: Netanyahu’s demilitarized state
Yaakov Katz, THE JERUSALEM POST Jun. 17, 2009
Yes to Kalashnikovs but no to mortars. Yes to Russian BTR-70 armored
personnel carriers but no to tanks. Yes to transport helicopters but no to
fighter jets. Yes to night-vision goggles but no to anti-tank missiles.
The idea of a demilitarized state that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu
spoke about on Sunday is not new vis-à-vis the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
There are also a number of countries that have decided not to maintain a
standing military, such as Andorra, whose defense is the responsibility of
Spain and France, as well as Costa Rica, which abolished its armed forces in
1948 – these could be used as a role model for such a state.
In his monumental speech, Netanyahu laid out some of the characteristics of
the demilitarized Palestinian state he envisions. The state, he said, would
not be allowed to import weapons, make pacts with Israel’s enemies or close
its airspace to Israel.
Some of these characteristics, though, stand in direct contradiction to
precedents such as Andorra. A small, landlocked country in Western Europe,
Andorra may not have a standing military, but it does have a military pact
with Spain and France under which it will receive protection in the event of
a conflict. In his speech, Netanyahu said Israel would not allow the
Palestinian state to enter into military pacts.
Other possible models are Grenada and Barbados, which do not have militaries
but are members of the Regional Security System, an international body
established to provide security for the Eastern Caribbean. It is safe to
assume Netanyahu would not want the Palestinian state to join an
organization made up of Arab countries that would allow Arab military forces
to enter the state if needed.
Rather, the understanding in the defense establishment and IDF is that when
the prime minister speaks about a demilitarized state he is referring to one
without a full-fledged military, but rather one with a police/paramilitary
force, comprised of thousands of soldiers/policemen trained by the United
States and European Union.
The reason the Palestinians will be allowed to have this force is so they
can maintain law and order and at the same time crack down, if necessary, on
Hamas and other terrorist groups in the West Bank.
Currently, there are two forces that are being trained in the West Bank. The
first, called the “blue police,” is being trained by the European Union.
This is a regular police force being built from the ground up, with trainees
learning forensic and criminal investigation techniques.
The second, more dominant, force is the “green police.” Their name, however,
is confusing since the force is made up more of soldiers than of policemen.
This unit also goes by the name “Dayton’s force,” for Lt.-Gen. Keith Dayton,
the US security coordinator to Israel and the Palestinian Authority – and
the man who is overseeing the training of forces in Jordan.
There are already three battalions in the West Bank and another three are
scheduled to deploy there soon. IDF sources recently said Dayton plans to
put total of 10 battalions in the West Bank by the end of the decade.
Israel, government officials said, supported Dayton’s work since it was part
of Netanyahu’s “bottom-up” plan, which calls for Palestinian reforms on the
ground before a diplomatic resolution to the conflict.
Israel is willing to take calculated risks when it comes to Dayton’s force.
The first risk was allowing a battalion to deploy in Jenin and to scale back
IDF operations there. The second risk was to allow a deployment in Hebron,
which is a known hotbed for Hamas and is also home to a small but relatively
radical Jewish settler population.
In the meantime, the force is equipped with light body armor and light
machine guns such as Kalashnikov rifles. As reported Tuesday in The
Jerusalem Post, 50 Russian-made armored personnel carriers are currently in
Jordan waiting to be transferred to the West Bank. They are being held up
since Israel and the PA are arguing over whether they will be allowed to
have heavy machine guns installed on their turrets.
If Palestinian forces continue to prove their effectiveness in the fight
against Hamas – as they have in Hebron, Jenin and recently in Kalkilya –
Israel will come under growing pressure to withdraw from additional West
Bank cities and transfer them to Palestinian control.This could expedite the establishment of Netanyahu’s demilitarized state