January 17, 2019

Abbas Calls for Demilitarized Palestinian State

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas stated on Tuesday his desire for a demilitarized Palestinian state as the Trump administration forges a peace plan to solve the Israel-Palestinian conflict.

According to the Times of Israel (TOI), Abbas told Israeli academics in Ramallah, “I support a state along the 1967 borders without an army. I want unarmed police forces with batons, not guns. Instead of warplanes and tanks, I prefer to build schools and hospitals and allocate funds and resources to social institutions.”

The TOI report goes onto note that Abbas has previously called a demilitarized Palestinian state in 2013 and 2014, which the report calls “a key Israeli demand in any peace deal.” Arutz Sheva cited an unconfirmed report from an Arabic newspaper stating that a demilitarized Palestinian state would be part of the Trump administration’s peace proposal.

However, Purdue University Professor Louis René Beres argued in 2016 that promises of a demilitarized would be nothing more than an “illusion.”

“Even now, the Palestinians remain as divided as ever; it remains unclear, therefore, who can speak with real authority for any still-plausible Palestinian state,” Beres wrote. “Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is in the eleventh year of his four-year term; should he agree to anything substantive, others could later legitimately claim, long after land may have been irreversibly ‘exchanged,’ that he had no legal authority to make a decision, and they would be right.”

Beres also pointed out that Palestinian factions consider the entirety of Israel to be “occupied” rather than simply the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.