Ethan Bronner has penned one of his typical “on the one hand-on the other hand” stories about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict which make the conflict out to be a he said-she said dilemma. But there is one interesting passage in which he describes the reception of the Palestinian plans to bring statehood before the UN this month:
French diplomats are trying to help the Palestinians shape a United Nations resolution that describes statehood on the 1967 lines, along with agreed land swaps with Israel, but slows down bilateral recognition between a Palestinian state and other nations. This is partly aimed at luring the Germans, who are unenthusiastic. Europeans say they believe that their unity in this issue is important.
Israel is horrified. To abandon Oslo, its leaders say, is to destroy any hope of negotiations, because that will rip up the legal basis for talks. If a United Nations resolution defines Palestine as within the 1967 lines, that means 500,000 Israelis will be defined as occupiers in another country. To pre-empt that, there are suggestions here to annex certain areas first or withdraw travel privileges for Palestinian officials in the West Bank.
The horror! 500,000 Israelis become occupiers overnight! What does Israel think they were before that? Halutzim (“pioneers”)? As for annexing parts of the West Bank, that should go over well before an international community which already looks with deep disfavor on some of Israel’s more recent shenanigans on the world stage.
And can you imagine how well this argument from Dennis Ross and his Mini-Me, David McHale, went over with Mahmoud Abbas when they met with him last week:
Having the power to take Israeli officials to the International Criminal Court may sound appealing, they said, but it will not end the occupation and is likely to make it worse.
Someone will have to explain to me how enabling the Palestinians to take potential Israeli war criminals to court will make the Occupation worse? By forcing Israel to be even meaner and more brutal than it already is? And do the Americans think that this will scare the Palestinians? That there is anything more the Israelis can do to make their lives worse than they already are and that will also dissuade them from their course? Really, Ross. Who do you think you’re dealing with, here? A second rate U.S. protectorate (Israel of course, being a first rate U.S. protectorate)?