Inserting A Multinational Force Into Palestine

There’d be much concern in Israel that a multinational force in Palestine would produce the worst of both worlds. On the one hand, the force would not do its job. On the other, Israel would no longer have a free hand to retaliate against Palestinian attacks.

The Bermigo component pertaining to the multinational force calls for 75,000 troops. The European contingent would comprise approx 40,000, the American, 15,000.

The idea behind this very large force is akin to policing a soccer game: just a few hundred officers don’t deter hooligans; worse, the few hundred either evade confrontation or get bloodied. But with several thousand officers on site, hooligans don’t risk misbehavior – plus, none of the officers get bloodied.

This only works, of course, with ‘run-of-the-mill’ potential trouble-makers – suicide bombers fall into a different category altogether. But if the Bermigo Plan proves overwhelmingly popular among Palestinians, suicide cells would have little chance; they’d soon be outed by a furious public and simply mowed down. Palestine is a tiny country with a small population – she is not Iraq, Afghanistan or Somalia – and suicide cells cannot survive in the West Bank or Gaza without the tacit support of the wider public. Furthermore, Palestine has no porous borders – again, in total contrast to Iraq, Afghanistan et al – so outside terror could not infiltrate either.

The West Bank has two borders only – with Israel and Jordan. Islamic terror obviously could not cross into Palestine from Israel, and Jordan, too, has a sterling record of preventing infiltration from Jordan into the West Bank. Gaza has only two borders as well – with Israel and Egypt. The Egyptian border, just 14 kilometers long, would easily be sealed off both by Egypt and the international force. Not to mention, there'd be no need for tunnels anymore – all goods would be readily available in Gaza, and she'd have an international airport and seaport under the Bermigo venture.

The multinational force would set up several training camps, out of public eye. The Palestinian recruits for the fledgling state’s new police and new national guard would be sequestered during the 12-month training program. All militants, provided they passed a screening test, could join.

Note well that if Palestinian sentiment for the Bermigo package proves very high, you can bet the farm that the militants – all of whom deeply care about being seen as heroes – would abandon their militias in droves to join the new Palestine police and national guard.

Those who didn’t could continue to attack Israel – and get brutally hammered by Israel. All would know upfront that neither the multinational force, nor Palestine’s nascent guard and police, would lift a finger to defend them. After the honeymoon year, the militia holdouts would have to disarm – else, at this point, the now fully trained new Palestine guard and police would forcibly do the job.

The new Palestinian forces would be permitted only light weaponry for the duration of the 25-year plan. Palestine’s territorial integrity would be guaranteed by the Western powers – an arrangement she could continue past the 25-year term, as long as she kept her own forces at light level.

Regarding the concern that Europe is supine: In deciding whether to deploy troops, that’s true, but her actual troops are not and often prove their bravery. Thus, Israel would have no grounds for fear once she got Europe to politically commit to the required on-ground rules for the European troops.

And what about the ‘worst of both worlds’ scenario?

This couldn’t happen because Israel would have a signed agreement with the Western powers stipulating exactly what constitutes a breach of ceasefire by Palestine, and who the independent adjudicating panel would be. And stipulated would be Israel’s right to have the multinational force leave, should Israel decide to act upon the confirmed breach. Even if the attacks against Israel came from non-Palestinians (e.g. by Al Qaeda or Iran), Israel would still have the right to scuttle the entire deal if the attacks emanated from Palestinian territory.

Also note that under the Bermigo Plan, any Palestinian who tried to engage in terror would serve his/her jail time in Europe, not Palestine – so no terrorist could entertain thoughts of getting out if the Bermigo Plan collapses.

Finally, if the worst did occur – that is, a complete and fatal collapse – the Western powers would not want their multinational force to stick around; they’d obviously then prefer that Israel take the ensuing casualties, rather than their own forces.

In sum, a mid-flight collapse could not ‘straightjacket’ Israel as many Israelis understandably fear. Furthermore, collapse would be extremely unlikely, since the entire venture would not be undertaken in the first place without wall-to-wall Palestinian acceptance – upfront.