Palestinian Leadership May Need a Bailout from Israel

March 2 2022

A February meeting of the Palestinian Central Council revealed that Palestinian leaders are overwhelmed by governing challenges. The council—a Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) body that has assumed many of the responsibilities of the moribund Palestinian parliament—had until then not met since 2018. As David May and Abdel Abdelrahman write, its leaders called for “a halt to security ties until Israel recognizes a Palestinian state.” May and Abdel Abdelrahman analyze the consequences of such a decision:

Israeli security officials estimate that in 2016 alone, such coordination resulted in the safe return of at least 300 Israelis who wandered into Palestinian territory. It has also prevented countless terrorist attacks on Israeli citizens.

Israel-Palestinian security coordination is also indispensable for the Palestinian Authority (PA). Without it, the Hamas terrorist organization could run rampant in the West Bank, a bloody prospect for the territory’s three million Palestinians. The PA has relied heavily on Israel to help maintain order ever since Hamas ousted Fatah from Gaza in their 2007 civil war. The Palestinians remain divided between the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip and the Fatah-ruled West Bank. Hamas cells in the West Bank have stoked Fatah’s fears of being dislodged.

Unfortunately, the PA can no longer rely on political leadership or largesse from regional Arab states. In 2020, Arab donations to the PA decreased by 85 percent. In 2021, the United Nations estimated that the PA would have an $800 million budget deficit, describing the situation as “dire.” To counteract Palestinian instability, even amidst Palestinian threats to cut coordination, Israel has extended several goodwill measures to help the PA. Israel does not want to see a failed state on its border.

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Read more at National Interest

More about: Palestinian Authority, PLO

Reforms to Israel’s Judiciary Must Be Carefully Calibrated

The central topic of debate in Israel now is the new coalition government’s proposed reforms of the nation’s judiciary and unwritten constitution. Peter Berkowitz agrees that reform is necessary, but that “the proper scope and pace of reform, however, are open to debate and must be carefully calibrated.”

In particular, Berkowitz argues,

to preserve political cohesiveness, substantial changes to the structure of the Israeli regime must earn support that extends beyond these partisan divisions.

In a deft analysis of the conservative spirit in Israel, bestselling author Micah Goodman warns in the Hebrew language newspaper Makor Rishon that unintended consequences flowing from the constitutional counterrevolution are likely to intensify political instability. When a center-left coalition returns to power, Goodman points out, it may well repeal through a simple majority vote the major changes Netanyahu’s right-wing coalition seeks to enact. Or it may use the legislature’s expanded powers, say, to ram through laws that impair the religious liberty of the ultra-Orthodox. Either way, in a torn nation, constitutional counterrevolution amplifies division.

Conservatives make a compelling case that balance must be restored to the separation of powers in Israel. A prudent concern for the need to harmonize Israel’s free, democratic, and Jewish character counsels deliberation in the pursuit of necessary constitutional reform.

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Read more at RealClearPolitics

More about: Israel & Zionism, Israeli Judicial Reform