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Shaul Mofaz


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THE MOFAZ PLAN FOR A DECLARATION OF A PALESTINIAN STATE ON TEMPORARY BORDERS- IS IT STILL ALIVE?

by Rhonda Spivak, April 1, 2012

  

With Shaul Mofaz ousting Tzippi Livni this week as leader of Kadima, it's time to ask what Mofaz's views are vis-a-vis the Palestinians.

At the J Street conference, former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert (whose ongoing trial on corruption charges didn't eliminate him from the roster of suitable J Street speakers), who is a former Kadima leader said in Washington that he believed the winner of this leadership contest could be the next prime minister.

It remains to be seen whether Olmert, who hasn't been able to successfully predict his own future is in a position to predict Mofaz's future.

In 2009, Mofaz did present his own peace plan, which he spoke about extensively in an interview with the Israel Policy Forum and I recommend a reading of this complete interview.

http://www.israelpolicyforum.org/analysis/mofaz-plan-permanent-palestinian-state-temporary-borders-advance-final-status-talks.

In the plan, Mofaz called for the establishment of an unarmed permanent Palestinian State- - with temporary borders on 60 percent of the West Bank - within a year.

http://www.haaretz.com/news/kadima-warms-to-mofaz-plan-for-hamas-talks-despite-livni-opposition-1.4479

In his interview with Israel Policy Forum, he said that with the immediate establishment of an independent disarmed Palestinian state in the West Bank and in Gaza, he would simultaneously engage in dialogue with the Palestinians on the core final status issues: borders, refugees and Jerusalem. This would rebuild the trust between the two sides, and totally change the atmosphere in the region. This would need to have the support of the moderate Arab countries, the European countries and the leadership of the United States.

Mofaz also propose that before implementing final status agreements, the Palestinians would need to provide a clear statement about the end to demands and end to the conflict. A mechanism for potential mediation if gaps still exist between the two sides would be required and there would be a referendum in Israel to approve what was achieved during the negotiations on the core issues before implementing the second phase.

"I have full confidence that the moment the Prime Minister of Israel adopts this plan, and the moment the President of the U.S. approves of it as the right direction to move forward, we will be able to achieve an agreement in not less than four but not more than six years." Mofaz also said he would negotiate with Hamas if they accepted the Quarter Conditions (and I wouldn't hold my breath on that).

Detracters of the plan at the time said, quite understandably, that establishing a temporary Palestinian state before reaching a permanent peace agreement is a mistake. It would give the Palestinians the benefit of a state without ensuring that they go through the necessary compromises needed to ensure that this state will not be used as a launching pad to reclaim all of Palestine -meaning Israeli itself. It is in that way, not so different from Abbas's plan for a declaration at the UN for a unilateral state.

What happens in Mofaz's plan if the Palestinians get their state immediately and then an unchanged Hamas wins the next elections and comes to power not only in the West Bank, but Gaza, such that Tel-Aviv becomes Sderot.

Mofaz told the Israel Policy Forum that as soon as the Palestinians have a state, they could build their economy, law and security apparatuses, and build a better life for the Palestinain people. But if there is no agreement on a final settlement, then what will Mofaz propose in the event that the security apparatus's are turned lose on Israel?And why did Mofaz assume when he presented his plan that given a Palestinian state, the Palestinian leadership would build a better life for the Palestinian people. Unfortunately, the example of Gaza shows that once in power, Hamas leadership has not done that at all, and if anything, quite the opposite.

Mofaz claimed that the other peace plans have not worked because they been based on starting to negotiate without any implementation, and this will not achieve any kind of results. Implementation without true agreement may in fact produce results, but they could be disastrous results. The result could be that Iran takes over the West Bank, not just Gaza.

When he presented in 2009 Mofaz knew full well that there was no chance of it being implemented, and the presentation of it may have been designed as a way for him to grab headlines, thereby upstaging Livni and distinguishing himself form Netanyahu.

The Mofaz plan was presented before the convulsions of the Arab Spring and it remains to be seen whether Mofaz is still committed to the plan now or whether he would not stand by it. One thing how ever is clear: Mofaz, as Kadima's new leader, needs to be questioned about this plan.

In my view the defects in the plan are arguably more glaring today in 2012, than they were the in 2009.

Update: Ethan Bronner of the New York Times  in an article published April 8, 2012 writes that Mofaz still advocates his 2009 plan.

"But Mr. Mofaz says he would start with an interim Palestinian state on 60 percent of the West Bank
and negotiate the rest.

"Mr. Mofaz says Israel should keep the West Bank settlement blocs but give the Palestinians 100 percent of their territorial demands by swapping land. He believes that borders and security can be negotiated in a year, and that
tens of thousands of settlers would leave their homes with the proper incentives. Those who remain would be forced out
."

 http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/07/world/middleeast/shaul-mofaz-defies-his-image-with-lean-to-left.html

 
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