Israel has instituted a new policy toward Palestinians which is based on the “carrot and stick” model – harsher punishment for families and villages from which terrorists originate and economic benefits for those areas which have not produced terrorists.
As part of this policy, the defense establishment is also establishing a news website in Arabic, which will be run by the Coordinator for Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT). Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman announced the new policy Wednesday at a press conference at his office in Tel Aviv.
The minister added that “Anyone who is prepared for co-existence will prosper, while those who opt for terror will lose.”
According to Liberman, the new plan has three principles: Carrots and sticks, dialogue with the Palestinian public, and the drawing up of a list of those considered close associates of the Palestinian Authority and Hamas.
Liberman stressed that the new plan was made in coordination with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. “I update the prime minister on every detail,” he stated. His comments were made weeks after he released a statement in which he compared US President Barack Obama’s Iranian nuclear deal to Neville Chamberlin’s Munich Agreement with Adolf Hitler. Netanyahu claimed at the time that the statement was issued without his knowledge.
According to the new policy, the defense establishment divided the West Bank map into two parts. The main part marked on the map in green represented the areas from which no terrorists had come, while a smaller part, mainly in the southern West Bank, from Hebron south, featured villages colored in red and yellow.
The areas which will get benefits immediately are Beit Sahour, in which a hospital will be built, western Nablus, in which an industrial zone will be built, Kfar Bidia, in which a soccer field will be built. Infrastructure plans will also be expanded in Kalkilya, Hableh and Izbat Tabib, and an economic corridor will be opened from Jericho to the Jordan River in accordance with a plan being promoted and paid for by the Japanese government. Liberman added, however, that he does not intend to allow the Palestinians to build another city in the West Bank.
The means of punishment for areas from where terror originates will include increased IDF activity in Area A of the West Bank, home demolitions, increased arrests, raids on homes from which terrorists came, confiscation of terror funds and property, the cancellation of V.I.P. permits for senior Palestinian Authority officials taking part in incitement, increased vehicle searches at the Kalandiya refugee camp and stricter enforcement against illegal building.
Liberman quoted Zev Jabotinsky’s saying that you must be “a generous and cruel genius.”
He said that the plan had been formed after lengthy discussions: “I didn’t wake up one night and make it up.” He took into consideration the opinions of OC Central Command Maj.-Gen. Roni Numa, the COGAT, Brig.-Gen. Yoav Mordechai, as well as senior Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) officials.
One of the keys of the plan deals with the defense establishment’s desire to hold talks with Palestinian figures without mediation and without the approval of the Palestinian Authority. Although Liberman did not call it as much, it could be defined as “a track that circumvents Mahmoud Abbas.”
According to Liberman, Abbas “speaks with everyone in Israel, and therefore the goal is to attain symmetry between Israel and the PA.” Liberman said that PA officials speak to all parts of Israeli society: ministers, MKs, mayors, academics and more, whereas Israel hold talks only with PA officials or those who have received the approval of the PA.
“Our goal is to create a dialogue with anyone who wants to talk to us,” the minister stated. He added, however, that “we have no intention to crown kings in the PA or to interfere in internal affairs.
In answer to the question whether is plan is a return to the Village Leagues that then-defense minister Ariel Sharon formed in the 1980s to counteract PLO influence in the West Bank, Liberman said: “We are not forming Village Leagues. Secondly, there is a big difference between what his plan was and what happened.”