This Jerusalem Post editorial seems to back Sharon’s pullback from the West Bank on the theory that it “changes the incentive structure” of the peace process. What Sharon has done, says the Post, “is attach consequences to continued Palestinian refusal in implementing the road map.” The consequence is “the tightening of Israel’s hold over the territory between the security fence and the Green Line,” which Sharon says “will constitute an inseparable part of the State of Israel in any future agreement.” The Post reasons that the Palestinians thus have a new incentive to get on with the “road map,” namely avoiding the consequence described above, which would foreclose them from obtaining a state the size they want.
Sharon’s move does create that incentive. But it is far from clear that the incentive will be sufficient to change Palestinian behavior. The PA has strong incentives not to take the key step contemplated by the road map, which is curbing its own terrorism and taking on other groups committed to terrorism. And it is unclear how seriously the Palestinians will (or should) take Sharon’s claim that the territory between the fence and the Green Line will inexorably remain part of Israel in any future settlement reached after Sharon has left the stage.
The editorial concludes by cautioning that “we should remember that neither the road map nor disengagement will bring peace absent real Palestinian regime change.” I fear that this is true, in which case Sharon’s disengagement does not really constitute a disengagement.
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