Israel should seek a complete separation from the Palestinians and even pay them to stay away from jobs in Israel, the director of the Tel Aviv-based Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies said this week.
“Closing all the territories is the only solution to achieving security,” Joseph Alpher said Wednesday, when he released “Middle East Military Balance 1993-94,” the center’s annual study of strategic developments in the region.
Alpher said that the self-rule accord signed last year by Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization – which calls for the preservation of Israeli settlements in the Gaza and West Bank while at the same time handing over most of those areas to Palestinian autonomy – is inherently contradictory and potentially explosive.
When the agreement is implemented in the West Bank, “100 Netzarim junctions will be created,” said Alpher. He referred to the incident last week in which a suicide bomber on a bicycle blew himself up at a crossroad manned by Israeli soldiers that leads to the isolated settlement of Netzarim in Gaza.
Alpher proposed a protracted closure of the territories, even if it means paying the salaries of Palestinian laborers to stay away from Israel – a move he said will cost some $330 million per year.
Israel has closed of the territories several times in the pat few years, most recently last month, after a terrorist detonated a bomb aboard a bus in the heart of Tel Aviv, killing himself and 22 other people and leaving more than 40 wounded.
Alpher said that support for the government’s peace initiatives with the Palestinians was being steadily eroded by terrorist attacks launched from within the territories.
The think-tank director also stated that Israel’s negotiations with Syria will continue to be deadlocked by Damascus’ demands for a complete Israeli withdrawal from the Golan Heights.
Alpher said the Jaffee Center will soon publish a study about Israel’s borders.