White House trying to restart Mideast peace talks based on Obama guidelines
Israeli and Palestinian representatives have been holding separate talks in Washington, as part of an American effort to restart direct negotiations and thereby forestall a Palestinian bid to obtain unilateral UN recognition as a state in September, according to a source at the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem.
Why am I suspicious when they suggest that it’s necessary to hurt Israel in order to save it?
The ‘1967 plus agreed swaps first’ plan would likely be as bad or worse than a unilateral declaration of independence by the Palestinians:
- It drops UNSC resolution 242’s idea of defensible borders in favor of cleaving as closely as possible to the indefensible 1949 armistice lines.
- It introduces the new idea that there is fixed amount of land due to the Palestinian Arabs, equivalent to the area of Judea/Samaria, Gaza and eastern Jerusalem.
- In practice, it precludes Israel from retaining the Jordan Valley, necessary for its security.
- It takes away all leverage for Israel on the issues of Jerusalem and Arab refugees, supposedly to be discussed after the withdrawal.
- It does not include recognition of Israel as a Jewish state.
- It does not include the release of Gilad Shalit.
The main difference that I can see between this and a unilateral declaration is that Israel would be agreeing to it beforehand! It would not bring about a true “two-state solution” because it does not guarantee an end to Arab claims on Israel (refugee ‘rights’) and on its capital, Jerusalem. If these issues are deferred until after Israel has surrendered the territories, what motivation do the Arabs have to give Israel anything on them?
This is supposed to ‘forestall’ unilateral actions by the Arabs, but all the US has to do to prevent ‘Palestine’ from being admitted to the UN is use its veto in the Security Council. I doubt that it is even possible to prevent a (non-binding) resolution in the General Assembly if the Arabs want one, no matter what the US does or what concessions Israel agrees to.
This is nothing more but an escalation of the pressure that has been on Israel since the Arab oil embargo of the 1970’s to get out of the territories. The difference is that the Obama Administration has given up trying to credibly pretend that it cares about what ultimately happens to Israel.
I have an idea: why not take as a starting point a proposal in keeping with international law and prior resolutions, which would include:
- Defensible borders.
- Recognition as a Jewish state.
- The release of Gilad Shalit (and not in return for a bunch of murderers).
- An agreement on Jerusalem that leaves holy places under Israeli control.
- An end of all Arab claims on Israel, including refugees.
- An end to terrorism against Israel.
Such a proposal is not unreasonable, in light of the legal history of the territories starting with the League of Nations Mandate which called for ‘close Jewish settlement on the land’, and including the relevant Security Council resolutions and the real principles of international law (not the ones invented by the Arabs and friends).
Polls show, over and over, that the American people overwhelmingly support the Jewish state. US policy was never as wholeheartedly supportive of Israel as that, mostly because of the pro-Arab tendencies of the State Department, and the influence of Saudi Arabia via oil interests and pre-bribed public officials.
But now this administration, in accordance with the ideology of the President and his chosen advisers, has decided to shift policy even more, to what is essentially an anti-Israel position. And it is trying to force it down Israel’s throat.
What’s worse, it’s doing it at a time of unparalleled danger for the Jewish state.
Update [1610 PDT]: And now the Palestinians have adopted the Obama formulation as a precondition, just like the settlement freeze! Gee thanks, Barack.