A deal on the West Bank?

Strategy Page:

Israel and Fatah are negotiating what amounts to a peace treaty. An informal deal, but perhaps one of the most effective ever worked out between the two antagonists. In return for Fatah really cracking down on Palestinian terrorists, Israel would dismantle much of its security system on the West Bank. There are 560 Israeli roadblocks and checkpoints in the West Bank, making it difficult for Palestinians to move around. There are 35 checkpoints controlling access into Israel, and 43 internal checkpoints within the West Bank. The check points require a document check and search before getting past. If there is an alert, many of the roadblocks will stop and search as well. All this is to make it more difficult for terrorists to organize and carry out attacks inside Israel. So far this has worked. But Israel will only take down the movement restrictions inside the West Bank if they can get convincing assurances that Fatah will crack down on the terrorists, and share information on terrorist activity with Israel. In return for this, Fatah gets foreign aid restored, as well as internal freedom of movement in the West Bank, and fewer Israeli police operations (to capture terrorists). Fatah is desperate, but it's not known if Fatah is competent enough to carry out its half of the bargain....
As with any deal with the Palestinians, there is no assurance that they will operate in good faith and to the extent that they will, there is even less assurance that they will be able to live up to their side of the bargain even with the best of intentions. They have yet to build a sufficiently cohesive society that allows a central government to make commitments that the rest of the society will honor and obey. All of the little splinter groups continue to do their own thing, some at the request of the Palestinian Authority when Arafat was in charge. this is what I man when I have said in the past that the Palestinians have nothing of value to offer the Israelis. At this point the fatah leadership may be desperate enough to rein in the splinter groups and cooperate with Israel against their mutual enemy Hamas. Maybe.


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