EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: The proposed transfer of significant parts of Area C to the control of the Palestinian Authority (PA) will be detrimental to Israel’s national interest, if only because these territories are almost completely devoid of any Palestinian population. As such, they afford not only a strong security grip but the possibility of extensive Jewish settlement without threatening Israel’s Jewish and democratic character. Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin’s meticulous and detailed demarcation of Area C in the Oslo Accords underscores the great importance he accorded to Israel’s continued retention of this territory.
Last year, upon the publication of Micah Goodman’s book Catch-67, I explained the basic reasons for my disagreement with his analysis and recommendations. That seemed at the time to be the end of the matter. When Goodman chose, a year later, to set forth his views in two almost identical articles – one in the Haaretz supplement (February 16, 2018); the other in Makor Rishon (April 5, 2018) – I felt compelled to warn of the danger his recommendations entail.
Opposed to what some Israelis see as a desirable status quo in the West Bank, Goodman recommends a string of pragmatic small steps that would “enable Palestinian autonomy to expand without Israel’s security contracting.” He explains that “this does not entail major ideological concessions such as evacuating settlements.”