De-militarization and the Palestinian Technocratic Government

The establishment of the Palestinian unity government in the Palestinian Authority poses Israel with several challenges. Alongside the justified anger that Israel feels toward the Palestinian Authority, which by establishing a government with Hamas which opposes dialogue and cooperation with Israel, Israel must view this move as another strategically planned public relations maneuver which has found a willing audience with United States and the other Quartet players, as well as the non-aligned states which together comprise most of the world’s political power.

Following its expected emotional reaction, Israel has neglected to take make a simple demand with respect to an issue upon which Israel’s stance enjoys wide global support. There is a consensus within Israel, which was accepted by the Palestinian Authority, and supported around the world which requires that a future Palestinian state be de-militarized to ensure that it presents no security threat to the region. This concept has been a uncompromising basis of the negotiations and has never been seriously questioned.

However, when the technocratic government arose, which is meant to represent all Palestinian factions, instead of demanding that the fundamental of de-militarization be applied to all Palestinian territories, including liquidating the Hamas arsenal of high trajectory missiles and other weapon that threaten regional security, Israel has remained silent on this issue, without even approaching its main ally, the United States.

The new Palestinian government must immediately be required to liquidate the Hamas missile arsenal, as the Hamas government has transferred its authority to the technocratic government. This is a basic prerequisite of any government that wishes to dialogue with the technocratic government must require before commencing on negotiating a two-state solution, a solution which requires Palestinian de-militarization.

This requirement for a demilitarized state must be a cornerstone of mediator of the conflict, as without giving up arms, there is no chance that Palestine could be an accepted state in our region. Without demanding answers on this issue, Israel could soon find itself holding direct or indirect negotiations with an entity which repudiated the basic pillar of de-militarization, in essence, a unilateral repudiation of a central and accepted understanding.

Palestine cannot be considered to be a de-militarized state when one of its two geographical areas is filled with tens of thousands of missiles intended for Israel. Israel should not agree to this continuing situation and must receive clear answers from its friends in the United States and Europe. If this issue is not raised immediately, Israel will find that it is too late in making this demand.

About the Author
Dr David Altman is senior vice-president at the Netanya Academic College and vice-chair of the college's Strategic Dialogue Center