PA Non-Compliance Goes Unchecked, Says Analyst

By Julie Stahl | July 7, 2008 | 8:07 PM EDT

Jerusalem ( - The Palestinian Authority (PA) has ignored many of the commitments it has made in peace agreements with Israel over the past seven years - and the Israeli government is allowing it to happen, says one analyst.

David Bedein, a media analyst with the Jerusalem-based Israel Resource News Agency, told the PA had "blatantly violated" issues in numerous signed agreements and had cooperated with Israel only at the level of "informal" discussions.

The problem all along, Bedein said, is that the agreements contained no mechanism for enforcement. Any lawyer would say a "non-enforceable agreement" was not a good one, he pointed out.

He said one of the most important PA obligations involve the promotion of peace. Yet new school curriculums were ever implemented in PA schools that offer an anti-Israeli bias, and Bedein said there are many examples of anti-Israeli incitement in PA television and newspapers.

Bedein argued that it was a "fear of Arab nationalism" that prevents Israel from insisting that the PA honor its commitments.

As a result, the interim peace agreement between Israel and the PA was effectively a "unilateral agreement" requiring Israel to withdraw from disputed land. When it comes to Jerusalem, he said, "this is what is going to cause a war."

Former Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was the only head of government since the 1993 signing of the Oslo Accords who demanded "reciprocity" from the Palestinians in carrying out agreements.

Netanyahu incurred the wrath of the Arab world and the displeasure of the U.S. for his stance. But even the most liberal Israeli politicians had to admit that the policy proved PA Chairman Yasser Arafat could severely curtail terror attacks on Israelis, if he wanted to.

During Netanyahu's tenure, ministries regularly issued reports on Israeli and PA compliance.

In one of the last such statements before Netanyahu lost the election to Ehud Barak last year, the Foreign Ministry said in a statement dated March 1999 that three PA commitments had been "satisfactorily" carried out, while numerous others had not.

The PA was credited with having "adopted a resolution amending the PLO Charter." On 14 December 1998, the Palestinian National Council, in the presence of President Clinton in Gaza, voted by a show of hands to eliminate clauses calling for the destruction of Israel. The changes have not been widely circulated.

The Foreign Ministry said the PA had also issued a decree against incitement and one against illegal weapons, and "there appears to have been some degree of confiscation of illegal weapons."

But it claimed that there had not been one case of enforcement of the anti-incitement decree.

And in nine other areas, the PA was accused of not implementing its obligations "satisfactorily."

Security-related commitments predominated: the failure of the PA to outlaw terrorist organizations; the continuation of the "revolving door" policy of arresting suspects wanted by Israel and releasing them soon after; the failure to confiscate thousands of illegal weapons; and the maintenance of a police force with tens of thousands of policemen more than permitted.

"Palestinian security cooperation with Israel in the fight against terrorism is at best partial," the report said.

Repeated attempts by to obtain updated information from Barak's office on PA compliance went unanswered this week.

Among its commitments, the PA agreed not to take any "unilateral actions" in relations with Israel.

But Arafat's Fatah faction of the PLO this week announced that Palestinians would unilaterally declare a state with Jerusalem as its capital by September, if peace negotiations are not concluded by then.

A unilateral declaration of statehood was "a very serious option," chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat was quoted as saying on Tuesday. "I think Israel should take this very, very seriously," he added.

Talks between Israel and the PA were suspended two weeks ago after the Palestinians protested the land involved in the latest handover of disputed territory.

The head of the Israeli negotiating team, Oded Eran, was quoted as saying he wondered whether the PA was pursuing a strategy of getting as much land as possible before unilaterally declaring a state.

Over the past six years Israel has transferred nearly 40 percent of the West Bank to full or partial PA control, including areas occupied by more than 90 percent of the Palestinian population.