Atilla Somfalvi
October 21, 2010 - 12:00am,7340,L-3973193,00.html

The Palestinians' intention to seek international recognition of a Palestinian state did not catch Israel's political echelon by surprise.

Amid deadlocked negotiations and an ongoing dispute over the construction in the settlements, senior government officials have begun discussing Israel's need for a plan B.

"(Mahmoud) Abbas (Palestinian president) may walk away from the negotiations table once and for all," said a senior government official, adding that the Palestinian president has "already said no to serious offers from (former Prime Minister) Ehud Olmert, and if that's the case – then there's no reason to believe he would agree to the current offers, which are much less attractive."

"Therefore," the source noted, "Israel needs to prepare for a different course of action. If there's no partner, we have to think of alternatives."

The alternative plan is not necessarily a "complete solution," the source explained," However, it is impossible to continue investing so much effort in the reality on the ground," he said.

In other words, former Prime Minister Olmert's "convergence plan" might come back to life. This plan includes a unilateral withdrawal from extensive areas in the West Bank, and convergence of the settlement blocks.

Those advocating the revival of the convergence plan note that in order for Israel to maintain control over the entire West Bank, the government must come up with an organized plan to evacuate settlements, while leaving IDF forces deployed throughout the area, in order to maintain the necessary security arrangements and prevent terror organizations such as Hamas from taking control of the evacuated areas.

Talks of an alternative plan come amid unilateral Palestinian attempts to gain international recognition of a Palestinian state.

The New York Times on Wednesday reported that in addition to the UN, the Palestinians are planning to approach the International Court of Justice and the signatory states on the Geneva Convention.


American Task Force on Palestine - 1634 Eye St. NW, Suite 725, Washington DC 20006 - Telephone: 202-262-0017