The security-for-peace farce in Palestine

The security-for-peace farce in Palestine
Comment: Security coordination between the Palestinian Authority and Israel only legitimises and facilitates the occupation. There is no reason it should continue.
4 min read
25 Mar, 2015
Palestinian power structures have enforced the occupation on Israel's behalf since the Oslo accords [alAraby]

The Palestinian Authority's threats to end security coordination with Israel, as important as they may be, mean nothing if they are not part of a broader strategy - a strategy that requires establishing Palestinian national unity and preparing for Israeli and US retribution.

But the chains of security coordination cannot be broken without breaking free at a psychological level from the delusions attached to the so-called peace process.

To be sure, the security coordination was put in place initially to subdue the Palestinian people, to force them to accept continued Israeli domination, and to put an end to their resistance, even as Israel continued its expansionist policies, swallowing up more and more land and dispossessing more and more Palestinians.

Security over peace

Security coordination was put in place to subdue the Palestinian people and put an end to their resistance.

The goal was never coordination per se, but to guarantee the implementation of Israel's security conditions.

In practical terms, these required the Palestinian Authority to prevent attacks against Israel and prevent protesters from getting close to Israeli military checkpoints or other facilities.

In other words, the Palestinian Authority has been required to place Israel's security above any humanitarian, political, or legal consideration related to the Palestinian people.

The blackmail started after the Oslo Accords. The accords contained no provisions to protect the Palestinian people and Palestinian lands from the brutality of the Israeli occupation; no references to international law or the Fourth Geneva Convention which prohibits the confiscation of land, the displacement of populations, and the transfer of settlers to live in the occupied territories; and no Israeli commitments to any conventions that prohibit torture, killing or oppression.

From the outset, the goal was to substitute Israeli conditions imposed by military superiority and US support for international law and UN resolutions.

The accords, especially their security chapters, became the main frame of reference for both interim and final status settlements, because Israel does not recognise the historical, political, and legal rights of the Palestinians to begin with.

Israel believes recognising the rights of the Palestinian people would threaten its legitimacy, if not its very existence. The Zionist ideology has never even recognised the existence of an Arab Palestinian people on a land it proclaimed to be a homeland for world Jewry, and in that context, the Palestinian people were little more than an obstacle to the creation and expansion of the Zionist state.

The Israeli demands revolved around the need to "contain" the Palestinians, by turning the PLO into a non-sovereign Palestinian Authority that took on the burden of direct contact with the Palestinian people from Israel.

Of course, no barriers of any kind to Israeli army invasion, raids, or aerial bombardment were to be tolerated, as the Palestinian people were treated as a legitimate target that had no legal or practical protection.

Security coordination as such was imposed on the Palestinians, as part of US-Israeli conditions linking any withdrawal by the Israeli army to Palestinian commitment to security guarantees. Then US envoy Dennis Ross drafted a memorandum stressing this link to "counter-terrorism", as part of the Hebron Agreement in 1997.

The notion of security-for-peace, whereby the Palestinians need to earn Israel's confidence became a condition of the roadmap for peace.

The notion of security-for-peace, whereby the Palestinians maintain Israel's security before the Palestinian people could come to "deserve" Israel's confidence, also became a condition of the roadmap for peace signed in 2002.

There would accordingly be no Israeli withdrawal and no Palestinian state without a prior Palestinian commitment to Israel's security demands.

Holding all the cards

However, what made security coordination appear a Palestinian necessity, was the fact that Israel controls the movement of Palestinian passengers and goods, whether internally or through any frontiers.

This gave Israel the capability of preventing movement for Palestinians, including the Palestinian president, at any time, on the grounds of breaching security guarantees.

There are concerns among Palestinians that abolishing security coordination would trigger collective Israeli punishment that could reach the extent of military invasion and assassinations.

Yet the continuation of security coordination is nothing more than a Palestinian legitimisation of the occupation, whereby a segment of the Palestinian people in the Palestinian Authority and its security services are turned into instruments enabling the occupation.

The security-for-peace farce must come to an end.

Indeed, the occupation endures under this slogan, while the Palestinian dream of freedom and independence continues to fade away.

Lamis Andoni is editor-in-chief of al-Araby al-Jadeed English.

Opinions expressed in this article remain those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of al-Araby al-Jadeed, its editorial board or staff.

This is an edited translation from our Arabic edition.