Ehud Olmert has revealed one of the worst-kept secret of Israeli politics–that he proposes that Israel’s final international border would essentially run along the route of the Separation Wall:
“The course of the fence, which until now has been a security fence, will be in line with the new course of the permanent border,” Mr. Olmert told Haaretz. “There may be cases in which we move the fence eastward, there may be cases in which we move the fence westward, in line with what we agree upon.”
For him, the beauty of this proposal as the New York Times reports, is that it is:
an opportunity to set their own future borders without needing to negotiate with a Palestinian government…
The Times article also notes that both the Palestinian and the U.S. object to such unilateralism (isn’t it interesting that the U.S. objects to Israeli unilateralism but not to its own?). The article neglects to mention that this flagrant land grab is also entirely rejected by the international community as well.
We can only hope that this is a maximalist opening negotiating position coming from Olmert, who is known as a tough-talking strongman type. But given Israeli bellicosity in this as in many other matters, one must believe that this represents something close to Olmert’s minimalist position as well. In other words, he has little if any flexibility in this matter. In reality, he doesn’t give a rat’s ass what the Palestinians think since he expects to cut them out of the negotiating process entirely. I’m still blown away by the utter audacity and deluded thinking that go into holding such a view. In the tinderbox that is the modern Middle East, Israel believes it can impose its desired settlement on millions of Palestinians and that the world will just stand by and applaud Olmert’s perspicacity.
In interviews, Olmert contended that the Maale Adumim expansion, which most analysts believe will entirely cut off East Jerusalem’s Arab populations from the rest of the West Bank, was a no-brainer:
“It is completely clear that the contiguity between Jerusalem and Ma’aleh Adumim will be built up,” said Olmert. “This is clear both to the Palestinians and to the U.S. In my opinion, on this matter there is a full consensus in Israel.”
Self-serving nonsense. The U.S. is utterly opposed to the Maale Adumim E-1 land grab as are the Palestinians. How does this smug pol have the chutzpah to say it is “clear” to either party? Nothing of the sort is even remotely true. But Ehud Olmert and most other rightist Israeli politicians never let truth or reality stand in the way of their ideological fantasies.
There is a ‘full consensus’ among Likud and possibly Kadima voters. But certainly not among Labor and Yahad voters:
Meretz-Yachad chairman Yossi Beilin said Friday that…he completely opposes building up E-1.
“Whoever proposes building up E-1 is essentially preventing a permanent Israeli-Palestinian agreement,” Beilin told Israel Radio. “Whoever builds up E-1 is preventing a contiguous Palestinian state.”
This is yet another example of Israel’s “creating facts on the ground” mentality. If you build the infrastructure and place Israelis on this Palestinian land, it will eventually become Israeli territory by hook or by crook. This is how Sharon built up the settler movement. Look where it got Israel. Now, Olmert is the one forced to uproot Israeli settlements which Sharon helped create. The same thing could happen in the future to Maale Adumim.
Reaction to Olmert’s “trial balloon” has been swift and furious from Hamas:
Khaled Meshal, the head of Hamas’ political bureau, views Acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s plan to shape Israel’s permanent borders as a declaration of war on the Palestinian people…
Mike Nargizian says
Hamas doesn’t want to negotitate or even recognize Israel. There is a 2 way street here, The middle section of the political spectrum in Israel all realize this. They realized that they will have to build a wall, hunker down and if they’re lucky be able to negotiate in the future for a real peace. However, your perspective like usual is that “Israel is the bad guy here” and you even cite “Hamas’s harsh reaction to this” as if Hamas would have any reaction to anything regarding “the zionist state” other than negative. But it’s a nice touch at the end though.
Richard Silverstein says
Actually, that’s a pretty tame & civil comment from you, Mike. But in the future do not attempt to conceal yr identity in my comments thread. For anyone who comments here–if I believe you’re acting in ways other than above board, that’s grounds for banning. In yr. case, you used the stupid pseudonym of Fuaod Isaza (you can’t even spell Fouad properly, can you?) and at least in the beginning of this episode you used a URL that belonged to a Anglo-Kurdish blogger who, btw, was quite offended at yr subterfuge.
As usual, WRONG. The Peace Index (pdf), an academic poll of Israelis (the poll is conducted Tel Aviv Univ. faculty) for Feb. 2006 says that almost 40% of Israelis believe Hamas will “moderate its involvement in terrorist attacks.” Fully 50% of Kadima voters (that’s your alleged “middle section” of the Israeli electorate) also accept this judgment.
30% of Israelis believe the country should transfer to the Palestinians tax payments to the PA even if Hamas runs the government.
The Israeli “middle” is far more flexible and compromise-inclined than you & your Israel chicken hawks. Further, the numbers will continue moving my way & not yours as long as Hamas continues the hudna. No Hamas representative has lately given any indication that the party plans to resume terror against Israel.
The two Palestinian villages that have been building themselves up over the past 15 years have been doing so without international consensus or Israeli permits or Palestinian permits. For them, this is natural growth. Of course, once they come together, as they would if E-1 isn’t built between them, then they also create facts on the ground. Unilateral facts. Of course, since we can all pretend that the Palestinians don’t have a master plan or leadership driving them, then we have no address to confront the way we do when an Israeli leader says Israel should do exactly the opposite of what the Palestinians are already doing.
Oh, and Beilin is wrong. Anybody who looks at the map knows that you can certainly still have a Palestinian contiguous state. Of course, it would be much easier to make the case that they even want a state if they would, you know, negotiate for peace and meet even one requirement of the Road Map.
I know, I know, you’ll erase this comment too.
Richard Silverstein says
Are you blind?? The Palestinians haven’t met “even one requirement of the Road Map?” Tell me “even one requirement” Israel has met? Have they stopped settlement activity. People who use your argument invariably forget that the Road Map is a reciprocal document. It calls for both sides to do things simultaneously. If the Palestinians have failed to meet their Road Map obligations (& they most definitely have), the Israelis have done no better. I’m afraid that there is more than enough blame to go around here and it accrues to both sides. You talk about how my sympathies lie only with the Palestinians (another lie or inaccuracy btw), but in this comment you reveal your one-sidedness quite clearly.
Another oddness about your comment: you seem to doubt that the Palestinians want a State (“it would be easier to make a case that they even wanted a state…”). If you doubt that Palestinians want their own independent state you truly are a right-wing ideologue. Only the LGFers & their ilk claim that the Palestinians don’t want to settle for their own state when they believe that eventually they will get two for the price of one (by absorbing Israel into a unitary state). Or perhaps I’m misunderstanding you.
More snark. I asked you earlier to cut out this shit. Pls. do. This snide crap doesn’t further your argument. Perhaps you learned your snark from CK since he was the king of snark when he traveled these byways (unless that is you are one and the same person)?
Dick Berger says
When I subscribed to your weblog I guess I did not read enough of your comments, and particularly your impolite and unkind rhetoric to those who send in feedback to you which I have recently read, to get the full flavor of how you treat those who disagree with you.
I am a firm believer in The Golden Rule which urges everyone to treat others as they themselves wish to be treated.
If you tell me these recent examples of nasty rhetoric are not typical, I will stay a subscriber. Otherwise please drop me.
Nah, I’m certainly not ck and I learned little from him. In fact, he and I bicker and argue at times as well. But he’s a smart cookie and you should listen to his views more carefully instead of dismissing them willy nilly.
My sense is that the Palestinians do want a state and that state includes Israel inside its territory. How do I know this? Because up until Camp David II, I was a firm believer that somehow we had a partner on the other side. After Camp David it became clear that this was an ongoing strategy of delay and war and nothing else. If you look at how the Palestinians responded to Clinton’s plan and then to Barak’s initial suggestions at Taba, you will note that they continued to refuse to accept any of the items they had rejected at Camp David. This even as they had already launched a war against Israel.
If you look at Abbas and his maneuvers since coming to power, he sure knew how to ask for help and how to ask for prisoner release and how to ask for more aid, but he refused to to anything but “talk” to the terror groups. That includes his own terror group, Fatah. In fact, there was nothing he did while in power except to kill time and we all know that tactic where somehow the demographics in combination with international pressure are supposed to help the Palestinians.
To remind you, at Camp David, they were offered 90% of the West Bank and all of Gaza. The excuses given for their rejection by the Agha/OMalley camp are that Barak is a lousy friend to Arafat and has no social manners. Others who are more interested in propaganda claim that no Palestinian leader could have accepted such a poor offer and give us the old cantons argument. Imagine that! A people who have never had a state, after 33 years of supposedly evil occupation, are offered a state and what do they do? They say no and launch a war. So then the Israelis come back and offer another 7% of the West Bank, more sovereignty over Jerusalem, no Israeli soldiers in the Jordan Valley after a few years, and replacement land for the missing 2.5% of the West Bank. Did I mention reparations?
What did the Palestinians say? According to the EU envoy who compiled both sides’ stances, the Palestinians did not budge. That’s right, full “right of return” and East Jerusalem entirely in their hands, especially the Haram Al Sharif in its entirety. In other words, they didn’t care that there was an offer of a state on the table.
Care to compare that to the Jews of the Yishuv circa 1947 and 1948? You know, the ones Arafat was supposedly mimicking all those years? How is it that they mimick everything except the creation of a state? Think about it, they could have a state RIGHT NOW already. There could be a Palestine instead of supposedly brave people using the term Palestine to describe something that isn’t there. There could be a Palestinian state but instead there was a war and even with Abbas in power little changed except that the terror groups realized that if they called a truce maybe the Israelis would stop targeting them. There was an article I recall in the NY Times where the reporter describes meeting a terrorist after the so-called truce and that he looked refreshed and healthy in contrast with the last time she saw him (pre-truce) when he was running for his life and constantly in hiding.
So far, the only terms I have ever seen have been that Israel must withdraw to 1949 lines, the “right of return” must be implemented and East Jerusalem in its entirety must become Palestinian. In other words, there is no compromise there and the “right of return” does not seem to be a negotiating point but a demand they will not relinquish. Since they do not just mean a “right of return” for a few (regardless of Beilin’s promises), but for all descendants of Palestinians who were around in 1948, we all know this is code for the end of Israel as a Jewish state.
If believing this after believing otherwise until Camp David makes me an LGFer or whatever you want to call me, feel free to call me names. But at least I have history and facts to back me up whereas you have hope and it is based on…hope.
ps The Road Map is actually not reciprocal, but even if it is, there were no actions by the Palestinians to stop the terror. There never has been any attempt to meet any of the Road Map’s requirements by the Palestinians. If you are really seeking to make the point that settlements were the sticking point, then explain how a unilateral departure from Gaza doesn’t meet this standard.
Oh, and one more thing. Can you show me where the PLO AKA the PA actually changed its platform to recognize Israel? To my knowledge, as of this writing, we have no such evidence which means that there is no Palestinian group that formally accepts Israel’s right to exist.
I’d be happy to be shown that I’m wrong.
Richard Silverstein says
I guess I’m going to have to trust hard Palestinian polling data which is measured each month against your “sense” of what Palestinians want. Think of it this way, would many if not most Israelis want to their state to include the territory ascribed to the Davidic kingdom if they could have their fondest wish? Would I want $1-million tomorrow if I could have it? Sure, who wouldn’t. Sorry for getting slightly silly. But my point is that for Palestinians who entertain maximalist notions like this (of a unitary state including Israelis & Palestinians), they have to know that it’s an impossible dream. Do some believe the dream can somehow become reality? Sure. Are they the ones who determine policy for the Palestinians? No. Will they ever do so. Highly doubtful.
Abbas asked for help and what did Sharon do? Nothing. Stalled, stalled, stalled. No, correct that: refused, refused, refused. He did nothing for Abbas. Didn’t meet with him (except possibly once a few yrs. ago in Aqaba if I recall correctly). Oh, but he was very good about cancelling prospective meetings. Didn’t release prisoners. Didn’t ameliorate Palestinian imprisonment in their towns & cities. Didn’t allow for commercial or human passage except in glacial increments. Again, you look at everything fr. the perspective of the Palestinians & what they’ve done wrong. Is there plenty there to complain about (including Abbas’ unwillingness or inability to reign in terror groups)? Sure. Is there just as much to complain about regarding the Israeli response to Abbas & the Palestinians? You bet. I wish you could get enough distance fr. the Israeli government perspective to recognize that this is not a one-sided proposition.
That’s rich. I could make precisely the same comment about Sharon. He believed (until the Gaza withdrawal) that if he merely held Israel’s ground that somehow Israel would plant enough bodies in the Territories and build enough “facts on the ground” that Israel’s control of them would be guaranteed. Thank God, he disabused himself of that notion & decided withdrawal was necessary (though that is only a half-measure).
I refuse to get dragged into a war over who won or lost Camp David. Both sides lost. I don’t give a rat’s ass for this blame stuff. Blame whoever you want. I’m sure, once again, that there’s plenty of blame to go around.
I’m interested in NOW. Let’s find a way to get both sides to agree to compromise on basic issues & find some kind of middle ground. But most of all let’s get the two sides talking to each other face to face. If that doesn’t happen, then nothing good can come of all of Olmert’s unilateralism (btw, how well has unilateralism gone for the Bush Administration??–hmmmm).
God, do we have to go back & refight the War of Independence as well? Not gonna go there.
Sure, they missed an opportunity. But Israel of course never missed an opportunity, did it? No Israeli prime minister ever dismissed Sadat’s request to meet & discuss a peace treaty, did they (I seem to recall a war followed that “missed opportunity)? And no Israeli ever reacted to a UN partition plan by assassinating the international diplomatic representative, did they? Again, my point is not to run back over history again & again ad nauseum. It’s merely to say that each side and its failures are almost a mirror image of the other side’s.
So let me make sure I understand you…the current hudna in which Fatah and Hamas (let’s leave aside Islamic Jihad since they are the ultimate Palestinian rejectionists & besides they are a tiny minority within Palestinian society & popular opinion) have not carried out any suicide bombings for a year is a ruse that benefits only the Palestinian terrorists?? It surely hasn’t saved any Israeli lives. Is that right?
Not true. Meshal & other prominent Hamas leaders have demanded a return to 1967 borders (the Green Line). If you don’t believe me just do a site search here on “Hamas” & you’ll find several fairly posts in which I link to such statements as covered by the world press.
The Palestinians want their capital in East Jerusalem. I think maximally they’d want all of E. Jerusalem. Will they get it? I don’t know. I’m not an international negotiator. But I do think the Jewish Quarter would be a thorny issue for Israelis & perhaps something could be negotiated regarding it.
For a guy who claims to know so much about Hamas and its perfidious political agenda, you sure haven’t characterized Hamas’ most recent positions correctly. They’ve moved light years from the stupid statements they used to make about Jews and Israel. Are they there yet? No, of course not. Of course the Right of Return is going to be one helluva thorny issue to negotiate along with Jerusalem. But they’ve moved and you haven’t in terms of your characterization of their political development.
Remind me the next time I need an international negotiator not to hire you. When Israel and Hamas’ only contact is the insults and accusations they’re trading in the world press, you believe that you can augur from this whether or not there’s wiggle room in Hamas’ negotiating position? Don’t you think it might be a good idea to actually test their flexibility by sitting in a room with them & talking?? Oh that’s right–since you know Hamas is absolutely rotten through & through there’s no point in doing that is there? It’d just be waste of time. Something like that utterly stupid “honey pot” hypothesis advanced by the Israeli intelligence geniuses to warn that Hamas is laying a trap for Israel through its newfound flexibility.
My LGF reference was a little over the top. You’re clearly nowhere near as bad as Charles Johnson and his Islamophobes–though you do share some of the same unfortunate attitudes toward Hamas & Palestinians in general.
Whoa! Not true. It is.
The Road Map called for the cessation of all new settlement activity, including in the West Bank (not just in Gaza). The E-1/Maaleh Adumim project is a blatant violation of the Road Map. And it is only one among many such ones. Besides, the Road Map was supposed to be a step by step process. One side doesn’t get the right to make a single positive step & then say: “We’re done.”
This is a tired, stale, meaningless argument which has no actual bearing on things that happen on the ground. And if you persist on making a mountain out of this molehill, you’re ignoring this terrific piece of advice from Tom Friedman:
I’m with Tom on this one.
Richard Silverstein says
Dick: I’m sorry that you find my debating style offensive. Most of the time in the comments threads I’m pretty mild-manner & respectful. But there are times when someone or some argument does get my goat. I fully concede that I can be intemperate. But I’ve been known to apologize for such remarks when I felt upon reconsideration that my opponent didn’t deserve it.
But this is intellectual debate over issues that mean everything to some of us. Tempers flare. Verbal voltage rises. Your comment has made me mindful of the need to try to maintain civility. Will I ever err against this standard? I may. Will I try to maintain the standard as best I can? Certainly.
I am immensely grateful and flattered when folks like you subscribe to my blog and I’d hate to lose you as a subscriber. But I’m a guy who likes to talk, likes to write, likes to argue, likes to think out loud here in my blog. I try my best but sometimes I do go over that line. If you think that’s not the type of blog you want to subscribe to then I’ll willingly unsubscribe you. But I hope you don’t.
And I’d hope you keep in mind that it takes two to argue. Very rarely is one party solely at fault for verbal fisticuffs.
To be fair, I am not a novice in these debates and I did come in with guns blazing. My first line, intentionally, accused Mr. Silverstein of being a creature of the far Left. I wanted and expected a strong reaction and am not offended at all. This is a debate that ultimately broaches issues of life and death not only of people but of ideas. He should be passionate about his point of view just as anybody who contradicts him should be as well.
I do think that deleting comments (other than those short ones by morons attacking Jews), is silly. The idea is out there and even as a host one should be proud and confident enough of one’s views that other views shouldn’t intimidate. They can be dismissed of course or ignored by the host, but I don’t understand banning and deleting.
Having said all of that. Richard, take a good look at whether you really think these Palestinian charters don’t matter. Arafat launched a very impractical war and then maintained it even when it became obvious that it was going to be very costly for the Palestinians (the fence sure scares them). Yet, the war continues against all logic. In 1973, Egypt and Syria attacked despite their belief that they would be the losers in the war. They did this against logic, but for reasons that made sense to them. In other words, pragmatism does not always trump ideology. These charters represent the bedrock and foundation for these organizations’ mission. Why dismiss this as a tired argument? If it were tired or meaningless, they would have changed the charters. Significantly, they have not.
What is the difference between 1949 lines and pre-1967 lines?
Why assume that Hamas has softened its positions? How has it softened them exactly? They took a break because it suited them to take a break from the war. their leaders were being targeted and killed and they needed to regroup. Where have they said that anything has changed with respect to Israel?
Fatah has attacked Israel in the past year.
You say “that’s rich” when I comment about doing nothing and blame Sharon for doing the same. However, Sharon cancelled meetings because attacks continued to take place and Abbas refused to disarm the terror groups. Sharon also removed Israel from Gaza.
Which returns me to the point you gingerly avoided. Israel left Gaza and removed a couple of West Bank outposts. The E-1 project was put on hold and remains on hold at least until the election. By any standard, these moves do meet the requirements of the Road Map with respect to settlements. Maybe it’s not a dotted i and a crossed t, but it is substantial movement. How then do you explain that Abbas and the Palestinians have not even come close to implementing a single requirement of the Road Map? Why do you not see this decision not to act as meaningful and as part of an attempt to play the time/demographics/int’l censure against Israel cards?
One last thing. Saying that achieving compromise on “right of return” is a “thorny issue” is a significant understatement. It is the key issue on the table along with Jerusalem, and to date we have no evidence whatsoever that the Palestinians intend to ever forego this demand. Can you point to any evidence, other than supposed backroom assurances that Beilin claims to have received from senior Palestinians (none of whom have acknowledged this)? I don’t think it exists and I believe Camp David and Taba prove that this notion is not negotiable as far as the Palestinians are concerned. If that is so, and until we see otherwise, the only conclusion has to be that they surely want a state…as long as they also get to live in the state next door to it.
Richard Silverstein says
On the contrary, I’m fairly certain that both thought they could win. In fact, I believe an account I read in one of Sachar’s histories indicated that Syria came within a tank or two of completely overrunning Israeli Golan defenses and spilling into the Gallilee. And if Henry Kissinger & Nixon hadn’t intervened, Egypt might’ve overrun Israeli positions in the entire Sinai.
I certainly wouldn’t have wanted this to happen. But it could have. That’s why peace is a necessity. I don’t want to take the chance that there might be one war which Israel will lose. We all know that it would only take a single loss to decimate Israel.
To be perfectly honest, I’m not sure. But the articles I’ve been reading all indicate Hamas asks for a return to 1967 borders, so in the interests of accuracy I thought I’d point that out.
Hamas has gone from utter rejection of Israel to actually presenting a negotiating position. Now, this negotiating position may still give off a whiff of maximalism. But isn’t that permissible in a negotiation? You can present everything you want expecting that you’ll get less than that & that is what I believe Hamas is now doing.
You’re correct. But why cancel meetings if you really want peace? Why not find a way to make a meeting happen? If Sharon had any interest whatsoever in actually talking with Abbas he could’ve made a meeting happen. He didn’t meet because he didn’t want to. And Olmert is continuing this disgusting tradition by refusing to meet Abbas & publicly saying so (for domestic campaign consumption).
No. First, I can’t say precisely what is happening right now on the ground regarding E-1, but Israel has made clear that it WILL complete this project. It’s not a question of if, but when. That is a violation of the Road Map. How do you say I accept the Road Map, but by the way I intend to build 3,500 new homes in violation of it? And the Road Map called for cessation of ALL new settlement activity. There is new settlement activity in the Territories virtually every day and almost no counter action by the government to stop or control it.
Not precisely true. The Geneva Initiative presents a “road map” towards a resolution of this issue which both Israeli and Palestinian leaders have ALREADY negotiated and signed. Geneva calls for a return of a very limited number of Palestinians to Israel proper (I think the number I heard from Yaser Abed Rabbo and Yossi Beilin was 10,000) and financial compensation paid from an international fund to Palestinians who do not physically return to their former homes.
Geneva is NOT a “backroom assurance.” It is a real document in which these points are listed and it contains real signatures of real Palestinians. Pls. don’t twist Geneva into something it’s not.
I’m not looking to the Palestinians ever to “forgo this demand.” That would be a stupid way to proceed in a negotiation. You have to acknowledge the Right of Return in some way before actually resolving it. But the way you address it doesn’t have to mean the literal return of 1 million (or however many it might be) Palestinians to Israel. Financial compensation is another means of addressing & ameliorating a moral wrong.
I just want to point out that Syria and Egypt attacked to force Israel to negotiate with them, but fully expected to lose the war. They were pleasantly surprised when suddenly their forces began to achieve significant gains, but they did not anticipate this success.
The Geneva Initiative is a joke. Arafat allowed a colleague to represent the Palestinians but never signed off on the agreement. Neither did the PA. It was an informal channel that effectively recruited the Israeli and international Left to continue to suggest that Palestinian intentions were peaceful. However, at the very same time, Arafat took no action whatsoever to end any part of his war against Israel. Furthermore, I haven’t heard Abbas discussing the Geneva Initiative at all. Finally, the Geneva Initiative would be entirely unacceptable to Israelis after the Palestinian peace charade ended in 2000. When you launch a war, you have to accept the consequences. This has been true throughout this conflict and the War of 2000 is no different.
Richard Silverstein says
That’s the 2nd time tonight in a comment thread that I must seriously question your sense of humor. The Geneva Accord is NOT a joke. It’s only a joke if you’re a conspiratorial rightist who believes that every effort at bridging differences between the two peoples involves suckering Israel into a raw deal. I hate to use those terms referring to you because I know you’re a person of good faith and intentions. But what else can I say?
Hmmm. Seems to me that neither Sharon nor the Isralei government signed off on it either. Besides, you misjudge the goals of the Accord. It was not meant to be an official representation of government policy for either people. It was meant to be a serious political document which COULD be a blueprint for a future peace agreement. So no one participating in the Accord process expected the PA, Arafat, Sharon or the Knesset to endorse it.
Yes, yes. You’re right, but your point being…? It’s so tired to debate about dead people and why they’re at fault for all the problems which we the living suffer.
Another inaccuracy, polls show that a very significant number of Israelis embrace the Geneva Accords. I don’t have the poll numbers in front of me right now but it was either a majority or pretty damn close to it.
No, no, the Geneva Accord is a joke. Beilin may have taken it seriously but he has lost all credibility with me. I mean that and I say it with disappointment because he is a very smart and capable man.
If you take a look at clauses 2 and 7, you can already see how they didn’t take into account what would happen if Hamas took over. http://www.geneva-accord.org/Accord.aspx?FolderID=33&lang=en
Airspace falls into Palestinian hands as do waterways. Can you think of anything more dangerous? International monitors are supposed to provide oversight and protection but as we’ve seen in this prison issue and with the border in Gaza, not to mention in Lebanon where they actually assisted Hezbollah, they are not a reliable buffer.
But these are the small problems, in my view. The key problem is that it accepts 194. The Palestinians have been trying to get 194 to become law or the basis of terms with Israel for many years and Israel has resisted because this would enshrine into law what currently is not law, namely the so-called “right of return.” It doesn’t just accept 194, but leaves in the air the determination of how many refugees will be allowed to move to Israel.
Furthermore, compensation is to be given to the Palestinians, suggesting that Israel was at fault in 1948. Not only do they give compensation, but its basis will be current market value inside Israel. They then leave behind settlements and can deduct that amount from the total, but of course these settlements are worth far less than land inside Israel proper. But the most egregious part is that Israel will have to deduct from the settlement total the amount in “damage” the settlements have caused the Palestinians. Nowhere does it say that any deductions are to be made for the damage caused by the Palestinians and Arabs to the Israelis in 60 years of war. Nowhere is there an acknowledgement of the harm they have caused to Israelis. More egregiously, the assumption is that the settlements are the only violators in the territories whereas there is no question that the Palestinians have been taking unilateral moves in terms of land construction, etc. for decades.
As if property compensation, falsely admitting guilt for ’48, accepting 194 and giving up airspace aren’t enough, they also receive compensation for refugeehood. They, the only group in the world that has not resettled elsewhere after a number of years; that has been treated differently by the UN than any other refugee group (this agreement enshrines that status, btw); that has been rejected by numerous Arab states that have refused to integrate them into their societies as countries throughout the world do with refugees all the time; and who have benefited to the tune of billions upon billion upon billions through UN, UNWRA, relief agencies, gifts from international governments, etc. also want compensation for being refugees. Holy Toledo!
Oh, and there shall also be “remunaration for host states.” Hahahahahahaha! You don’t think this is laughable?! They actually rewrote the 1948 War in this document and you don’t think this is laughable?
I don’t know how many Israelis have looked at this agreement seriously, but I don’t think many would accept it. It has some interesting provisions and can be part of a foundation for an agreement, but without the laughable parts. Oh, and most important, the partner on the other side has to be a group that openly accepts Israel’s existence. Even as they were negotiating this deal, the Palestinians belonged to a group that has not accepted Israel in their charter. I know that’s not meaningful to you, but if that piece of paper isn’t meaningful, why would this one be meaningful?
Richard Silverstein says
Last I checked the definition of a nation or state was that it controlled its territory & that generally includes the water flowing in and around the state and the air above it. How would you propose to have a Palestinian state with no seaport, airport and no control over movement or transportation into and out of it??
Are there security issues here? Sure. But if there was even a scintilla of good faith bet. these 2 parties, this could be worked out at a negotiating table (& this has happened even with these two with Condi Rice’s help).
Absolutely wrong. It depends on their mandate. If there are sent on assignment with the proper troops, mandate, equipment & weaponry, they can be quite effective as happened in Kosovo & many other places. With a weak mandate, insufficient numbers & weaponry, things happen as they did in Jericho.
For what seems like the millionth time, it accepts a completely reformulated version of the right of return. To be even more accurate, it doesn’t accept a literal Right of Return. It accepts a modified right of return. Refugees can apply to Israel to return physically or they can opt to receive compensation. Israel has the right to determine who will return and can refuse anyone they do not wish to accept. PLEASE be more careful in characterizing documents you can’t abide like this one. I don’t mind you disputing Geneva, but at least don’t tell me it means what you say it means when it doesn’t say that at all.
Nothing of the sort. You’ve heard of nolo contendre? I don’t know if there’s a similar concept in international law. But I see no reason (& Geneva prob. already says this) that the notion of fault or guilt cannot be excised from any actual signed treaty.
You entire passage assessing who damaged whose land worse leaves me entirely exhausted. What a sheer waste of time. Why don’t we leave the computations to fiscal experts & stop trying to interpose ourselves? Besides, the compensation fund will be largely contributed by the international community with a large chunk coming fr. the U.S. Why do you care what the amounts are if Israel is only shouldering a relatively small portion of the burden?
All of your objections to Geneva strike me as someone who actually prefers the status quo of war. You mistrust the possibility of peace. Therefore, there can never peace under your outlook.
As usual you leave out history that is inconvenient to yr perspective. The only reason Palestinians built without permits (or “unilaterally” as you call it) is that the Israelis did not issue any. How can there be proper development following guidelines & rules when the ruling authority refuses to allow legal building?
Let’s add the international refugee situation to the number of subjects you know less than stellar amounts about. There are countless examples of people living for long periods in refugee camps. There are still refugee camps in Thailand for those forced to flee Myanmar during ethnic conflict. Palestinians have been refugees for many decades it is true. But unlike you I don’t blame the refugees for their status. That is like blaming a violent crime victim because they haven’t gotten on with the lives after their injury.
Ah yes, just like the tens of thousands of refugees the U.S. took in from Nazi Germany. Is that right? Actually, in very few refugee situations do foreign nations willingly accept & integrate large numbers of refugees into their countries. Most nations do not honor the Biblical injunction to “remember the stranger for you yourselves were strangers in the land of Egypt.”
That’s right. Thanks for reminding me of those countless number of refugees driving Cadillacs around the camps and decamping into palatial estates built on the seashore (are there refugee camps on the seashore?). You get my drift. The notion that refugees “benefit” from their status is ludicrous beyond words. Are you live in some parallel universe that I’ve never experienced?
I don’t know what you’re on about. This is a product of your fevered imagination. And no, for the 2nd time there is nothing I find laughable about Geneva. I am glad it gives you a good chuckle though.
For the 2nd time in 12 hrs. I’m telling you that at least 40% (perhaps more I can’t remember the precise poll numbers) accept Geneva. But I am happy to know that your polling data is so precise. Which polling agency do you use btw?
At least for once (or twice) we agree on something! Whew, I thought it’d never happen. Anyway, none of the Geneva signers believed that the Accord would be the final signing document that ended the conflict. Of course it needs to be amended & fleshed out. It is meant as a provisional way forward toward an agreement.
I do admire your absolute embrace of the notion of endless Mideast war. Curious that you aren’t available to shed your own blood for the cause.
I wish Hamas would accept Israel. But that by no means rules out an eventual peace agreement with them (I guess we’d have to remove you fr. the negotiating team since you wouldn’t participate unless the other side conceded before the negotiation started). I doubt Hams would recognize Israel unless it felt there was a damn good likelihood it would like the result of the subsequent negotiation. Most non-rightist Mideast analysts have little or no problem with this prospect. Sure they’d prefer it to be otherwise, but they recognize that it doesn’t absolutely prevent an agreement.
194 would not be part of this agreement if there weren’t a reason the Palestinians were so adamant about it. It’s there because they want it entrenched in law and right now it is nothing more than a recommendation by the General Assembly. This document makes that provision into a legitimate one and then creates benchmarks that may or may not work. Israel’s right to refuse refugees is not absolute.
This document rewrites the history of 1948. This is shown in that the Arabs have no obligations in this agreement with respect to compensation. Israel, however, is bound to compensate for property and refugee-hood. Amazing. Amazing that you think that it’s okay to sign this fiction so that they can make peace. How about making it so that the Palestinians first compensate Israel for refusing peace in 1937 and 1947; encouraging a war and the ongoing battles since. How about they compensate for all the lives and limbs of civilians – not soldiers – that they have destroyed over the years because they wanted to attack civilians instead of soldiers?
None of that exists in this agreement. Nope, in this agreement, Israel is the aggressor and must compensate for its sins by accepting Palestinians into its territory (while Palestinians do not have to accept any Jews into their territory), accepting this so-called “right of return,” paying all kinds of reparations, paying compensation to so-called “host states” meaning the Arab states that attacked in 1948 and have kept this conflict on simmer and sometimes on boil for decades, and risking its security by opening air and waterways to the Palestinians.
Wow, that is just a staggering list of things Israel shouldn’t accept in any agreement.
As for international refugees, I am afraid that it does take some years but most have resettled over the past century. It is painful and horrendous, but countries have opened their doors and allowed people to restart their lives. Yes, to some degree that includes countries that allowed Nazi victims in, if not all of them, just as Israel accepted numerous refugees over the years. It isn’t Israel’s fault that the Palestinians have been good propaganda for those Arab nations that prefer to hate them than integrate them. Is it Israel’s fault that Kuwait refused to give 300,000 long-time Palestinian residents citizenship and then kicked them out? Why is that Israel’s fault? Heck, there would be NO refugees if Israel wasn’t attacked in 1948, although you wouldn’t know that looking at Geneva Accords.
As for your comment that this is a basis for talks, I have to disagree. This agreement was formed while the Palestinians were still at war with the Israelis. It contains elements in it that benefit the Palestinians vis a vis the agreements on the table when they launched that war. Why? Why do they get a reward for starting a war when that was a primary reason for launching the war? This agreement puts forth propositions that are harmful to Israel and to historical veracity. You could achieve peace without agreeing to 194, with mutual reparations, without “right of return” into Israel, without remunaration for war-mongering states, without agreement to walk away from security for Israel. So start an agreement and talks, but from a standpoint of historical fairness to both sides and without the underhanded machinations that seem to harm Israel far more than the Palestinians or Arabs. Taba addressed many of these issues and perhaps even went too far from the POV of the Israelis, so why would Beilin want to start negotiations by offering even more?
Richard Silverstein says
The Middle has finally exhausted me into submission. While neither one of us will ever convince the other that our respective positions have much in the way of merit, I simply have no more energy to argue this out. I have a blog to write and more new things to say about the I-P conflict and other issues. To continue debating with you won’t advance that goal. So you win in the battle of words (though not opinions).
Fair enough. Thanks for listening.
Gary Okupant says
Israel, need to take over Gaza and the West Bank. AND then take some
20 miles into Jordan.
The Jordan territory is to place the palestinian people who will be displaced from Israel. Israel; then could set up the infrastructure for Gaza and West Bank; with world funds; and slowly have the non-violent Palestinians come into to take control.
If this does not work; then israel; but take over Gaza and the West bank, and at a minimum; size control of the Beka valley; to monitor any enemy that would use the valley for weapons.
Israel; need not apologize to anyone.
The American drive by media; as well the DNC leadership is responsible for these actions in the mideast; as the DNC make it clear the DNC would do nothing but apeasement.
Richard Silverstein says
Fair enough. Israel should take over the entire Middle East and make it safe for Zionism just like Wilson said WWI should make the world safe for democracy. Eminently sensible concepts. When anything or anyone poses a problem just obliterate it, expel it, or conquer it. Just try it & see how far it’d get you (or Israel).