If All Else Fails with Netanyahu

Hammering it out: Netanyahu and Obama talk in Washington

Hammering it out: Netanyahu and Obama talk in Washington

There is palpable fear within the Knesset that nothing will come of Mr Netanyahu's visit to Washington and that, come September, when the Palestinians seek recognition of an independent state at the UN, a second "Arab Spring" protest will spark international sympathy and sanctions against Israel.

In response, Ami Ayalon, a Labour MK, last week launched an alternative peace plan which sets out what Israel should do if a bilateral deal with the Palestinians fails to materialise. In that event, the plan states, Israel should "independently" transfer all territory east of the separation barrier to Palestinian control, re-absorbing those settlers willing to move west of the new border.

"This could be achieved in one month," said Mr Ayalon. "We should not be hostages of the Palestinians, the international community or our extreme minority," he added. "The missing part of the regional puzzle is trust. If the Palestinians see settlers moving back into Israel, they will say: Israelis mean business. Talks will become much easier."

Orlando Radice

Last updated: 4:24pm, May 19 2011