Monday, February 7, 2011

The Makings Of America's Peace Plan

"The dramatic events of the recent period make it necessary for us to take the Israeli-Palestinian conflict off the regional agenda," Shimon Peres told the 11th annual Israeli security conference yesterday. "We must do this as soon as possible because the conflict is being exploited to the detriment of all sides."

Here are the makings of a peace plan--a preview from next Sunday's New York Times Magazine, providing the definitive account of what came out of Abbas' and Olmert's 36  meetings. Our only hope is an American president willing to embrace their achievement, bridge the small gaps, and rally the world to an American package.


Y. Ben-David said...

I recall that after the breakdown of the Camp David talks, Shimon Peres complained "I can't believe there isn't going to be peace because of a few dunams (acres)"- referring to the dispute over the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. The fact is that the supposedly "minor differences" over a few square kilometers or over a mere few hundred thousand refugees that Israel is being pressed to allow in according to the so-called Palestinian "Right of Return" are really unbridgable gaps.

We heard the same thing after the break-down of the Taba talks in 2001-Yossi Beilin claimed they were within a "couple of days" of an agreement but, just like with Olmert and Abbas, "unforseen" outside developments were blamed for the actually inevitable failure of the talks.

Does anyone think after the popular revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt and with the pressure Lebanon and Jordan are now under, added to the Al-Jazeera leaks showing the supposedly "treasonous" concessions Abbas made (which actually had been agreed to by Arafat in accepting the Clinton Parameters "with reservations") that any Palestinian leader is now going to stick his neck out and make the concessions necessary for an agreement? How can Avishai and the rest of the "peace process" camp continue to believe in this nonsense?

victor said...

In response to BenDavid I would like to say that what it is really nonsense that the people of Ariel and Kiryat Arba prevent a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians.It is very unfortunate that many lives will be lost as a result of a group of ultrareligious fanatics and immigrants from the Soviet Union who could live somewhere else.

Y. Ben-David said...

Both Barak and Olmert offered to eradicate the settlements you mentioned. Obviously, they are not the problem. The Arabs do not want a peace agreement on any terms. They will not give up the demand for unlimited "Right of Return" which no Israeli government will ever agree to. I don't understand why people keep repeating the myth that the problem is the "settlements" (unless, of course, you include Tel Aviv as being a settlement and then you would be closer to the truth).

Potter said...

I have not read your link BA but look forward to the article. Thank you. Shimon Peres,a man of vision at one point, has been a great disappointment.

Potter said...

I just read the article- well done!

I wish I had evidence, a real reason to be optimistic, that Obama would actually take the lead now. As this article presents the details of the issues, an end to this conflict is so close- if only the Netanyahu government would agree to start where Olmert and Abbas left off. My understanding is that it is Netanyahu blocking the way- which means pressure from the US is necessary.....

.... the U.S. is paying a growing price for the current impasse between Israel and Palestine and the continuing occupation of Palestinian lands, for which Americans receive much of the blame. A settlement in Palestine will not put bread on Egyptian tables, but it will transform American status in the region. And it might rescue the fortunes of Israel.

Larry Rosenwald said...

I'm with Potter, I think; I agree that an American President _could_ exert the sort of pressure Bernie's talking about, but see no reason to believe that this particular President will do so, or for that matter can do so. I'd love to be proven wrong by events, or even convinced by arguments that my pessimism is misplaced; but as of the moment, I'm skeptical of all formulations that begin, "what we need at this moment is an American President who . . ."

YMedad said...

In interpreting the leaked documents from the Palestinian Negotiating Teams, you suggest that former Israel prime Minister Ehud Olmert, in referring to Jewish property in the former Jordanian-occupied section of Jerusalem, had "implied, but did not say, that these neighborhoods had been inflamed by Jewish settlers" who had "moved into expropriated apartment blocks there".

Whether or not any Jew is guilty of "inflammation" by residing in the Jewish people's 3000-year old capital, where our Temples were and where still is the center of our religious, national cultural and political ethos, can be a matter of opinion but the apartments and houses you refer to were purchased and in many cases re-purchased from persons who had gained entrance to those properties as a result of an ethnic-cleansing operation in the city in 1947-1948. For 19 years, Jews were banned from residing in those neighborhoods. All those purchases were then subject to rigorous judicial review.

Opinions and facts should never, even by an academic, be transposed.

Eliyahu m'Tsiyon said...

Bernard, not everybody agrees that Jews moving onto what was Jewish-owned real estate before Arab- perpetrated "ethnic cleansing" of Jews in December 1947-January 1948 is in any way unlawful or indecent or unjust. Nor does every one agree with the prejudice expressed by some here that "peace" requires that Jews resident east of the 1949 armistice line be expelled or evicted from their homes. That already happened in 12-1947 and in 1948. In "east" Jerusalem [which did not exist before then as a concept], thousands of Jews were living before the UN partition recommendation of 11-29-1947. Here is my contribution to the discussion as published in the JPost:

Potter said...

So how long will Israel will be able manage to completely disregard international law and to avoid future violence?

What some here really advocate then is force prevailing, not justice, not international law. If that is true then the future looks bleak for Israel.

The article notes how deferential Abbas has been to to Israel's sensitivities, the difficulties Israel will have in removing people from large settled areas like Ariel that must go if there is to be a coherent Palestinian state.

The number of returning Palestinians that Olmert would agree to was also very skimpy... hardly even token. Abbas realizes that hundreds of thousands could not return to Israel either; he respect the need for Israel to have a Jewish character, not to be overrun by Arabs. (Big fear!)

On the Israeli side there needs to be some sensitivity that the number of ROR can't be so meager: 5000 (over a 5 year period) returning is nothing in relation to the 750,000 that were dispossessed. There is a large in-between in which to settle this number.

So those issues and a few others need some bridging. If there is a will to settle this already, the point is, that these issues are not so difficult. But there are intimations here that each side prefers the conflict to it's resolution... I don't believe that. I do believe that Israeli's are mistaken about this not being the right time or that there is all the time in the world and an agrement can be put off. That attitude alone means also a status quo that won't remain.

As an American, but also someone with Jewish roots and relatives ( who I care about very much) living in Israel, I find it hard to accept our continued support of policies that are not serving us, nor serving Israel well at all.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone else see that this "25-mile tunnel" idea is quite simply insane? It shows if nothing else that Olmert is negotiating in bad faith. (Also, not giving the Pals a map with territorial changes? Have any international negotiations ever been conducted like this?) I would appreciate it if Mr. Avishai could give us more details, if any exist, on this tunnel proposal. How many billions will it cost, who will pay for it, who will build it, how many years will it take to construct and who will provide the vast reservoirs of political will needed to get this mad venture done? These questions cannot be answered honestly because no one will ever even seriously contemplate building a 25-mile tunnel under a flat empty desert. This is too stupid for mere words.

Anonymous said...

I should also mention that I agree completely with the above comments that everyone who lost their homes to ethnic cleansing in 1947-48 should get to go back home. Glad to see that not everyone is morally obtuse. (Or did I misunderstand the points you were making?)

Y. Ben-David said...

Having now read your article, Bernie, I am impressed as to how you got the New York Times to throw out journalistic ethics and use your own prejudicial epithets in the article e.g. "ultrafanatical Kiryat Arba", "violent settlers", "Judeans" who aren't real Israelis like you are, etc.

Having read this piece, I am now convinced like many others, that they were never near an agreement. You imply that the difference between the return of 15,000 refugees and 1 million is viewed as a minor matter splitting the difference. Finding "international guarantees" and "international forces" who are prepared to use force to guarantee Jewish access to Jewish holy places under Arab control are dismissed as minor technical matters. Throwing out tens of thousands of Jews from their homes in Ariel, Har Homa and other places is "merely the difference in 1 percent of territory on the map".
If they really were so close to a deal:
(1) Why did Olmert decide to go to war with HAMAS right at the critical time in the negotiations?
(2) Why didn't Abbas and KADIMA come forward in the election campaign of 2009 and tell the public that they had pretty much reached an agreement and that a vote for KADIMA was a vote for peace right now?
(3) If the deal is so good and already closed, why the hell didn't Obama and his trusty aides adopt it instead of going on their wild goose chase of getting a settlement freeze.

The only conclusion I can come to is that this is one big fraud, meant to keep the "peace process" and the associated money flowing into the PA's pockets but to keep peace itself far away.

YMedad said...

On this week's construction approval:

"I imagine that within 5-10 years some 200 homes for Jews will be built in this area," Arieh King, the chairman of the Israel Land Fund, told Ynet.

"These are lands that belonged to Jews before the establishment of the state, and after 63 years they have been returned to the heirs. The Arabs that lived here illegally throughout these years should thank the Jews who let them stay for free, and now it's time for the Jews to actualize their rights to this place."

Potter said...

For me the above comments represents already the kicking and screaming that we will begin to hear... and then actually see should we move forward ( I mean forward not backward or marching blindly in place as the ground shifts).

Actually we may be surprised at the good will that takes over once a deal is closed.

For me also the question is not only why Netanyahu was chosen to form a government, instead of Tzipi Livni who had a majority and would perhaps have continued Olmert's work. For me the question is always why with Sharon first and now Netanyahu these past tow years, the progress that has been made is ignored costing lives.

Ben-David: This gives lie to your previous claims about Olmert's sincerity as he was leaving office and the absence of Abbas interest. There could be no agreement with a Gaza war going on and without a settlement freeze. Where would the good will to execute an agreement be coming from during that shameful Gaza operation????

Y. Ben-David said...

Rocket attacks had been going on for years from Gaza. Olmert could have continued to ignore them had he told the cabinet that they were on the verge of a historic breakthrough for peace. Don't forget that it was Rabin that said he would continue the "peace process" as if there was no terror. Why didn't Olmert do this if Bernie is right?
But I would be more interested in your opinion why Nobel Peace Prize Winner Obama didn't take Bernie's advice if everthing was so clear?

Y. Ben-David said...

What I find particularly amusing about Bernie's account of things is Olmert's dramatic statement to Abbbas that "this was the best offer Abbas was going to get in the next 50 years from an Israeli leader". I can assure you that 5 years from now Olmert would offer a complete withdrawal to the pre-67 without swaps and without internationalization of the Holy Basin and accepting 1 million refugees. Five years after that, Olmert (or any other PM from the "peace camp") will offer a withdrawal to the 1947 Partition lines, while turning over areas conquered during the 1948 war such as Jaffa, Naharia and WEST Jerusalem to "international control" and now accepting 2 million refugees. Five years after that Olmert will offer dismantling of the state of Israel which would be placed under "neutral international control" (something like the British Mandate) with unlimited return of refugees and with exploration of repatriation of Jews back to Poland and Morocco (the reverse of Beilin's Geneva Agreement which seeks to send Palestinian refugees to these places).
All the Palestinans have to do is keep saying "NO" and the Left will keep crawling to them.

The other funny item is Bernie's absolute assumption that the Arabs want what he wants and that is an "independent Palestinian state living side by side in prosperity with Israel". In actuality, such a thing is abhorrent to the Arab world. The peace agreement Bernie is pushing Obama to force on the two sides would be viewed as merely another imposed robbery of Arab lands against the will of the Arab masses, just like the Sykes-Pico Agreement dividing the Ottoman Empire territories between Britain and France, except now the land of Palestinian would be given to the Jews, which is even worse.
Go ask the demonstrators at Tahrir Square who are waving pictures of Mubarak with a Star of David imposed on his forehead if they would like Obama for doing this.

Potter said...

Don't forget that it was Rabin that said he would continue the "peace process" as if there was no terror. Why didn't Olmert do this if Bernie is right?

Olmert was a scion of Sharon- until he had nothing to lose, needed a legacy and saw the light as his term was ending. Rabin, though a military man was a Labor man, the party that, to my mind, always had it's hand extended. Sharon wanted war, Olmert pursued it too.

Rocket attacks,Ben-David, are a response that Israeli's take as a cause. Response to what? I don't have to tell you.

YMedad said...

To Potter: you wrote "Rocket attacks, Ben-David, are a response that Israeli's take as a cause. Response to what? I don't have to tell you."

But, please, tell us. If you mean "the occupation", what were the fedayeen responding to in the 1950s? An "occupation"? And the Muslim Brotherhood that volunteered to fight in 1948, also "the occupation"? And the Mufti, even hooking up with Hitler, was he 'responding' to an "occupation"? It's not a question of when will the occupation end, but when did it begin?

Potter, you are borderline potty.

Potter said...


All the Palestinans have to do is keep saying "NO" and the Left will keep crawling to them.

Palestinians did not say "no" if you read the article. There were concessions and agreements.

In actuality, such a thing is abhorrent to the Arab world.

In actuality???? The "whole Arab world"? So we live in a world stuck in a particular time frame, we never go forward, but in circles- we must live in fear of the same things happening over and over again or worse. Victims of trauma think this way.

Anonymous said...

RESEARCH / DOCUMETNS: So-called “Palestinians”: The Truth about “Palestinian” Arabs A.K.A. Arab immigrants’ children, grandchildren & the vastly vacant desolate land prior to the rise of Jewish return

YMedad said...

Read this: The New York Times Revises the Peace Process by Sol Stern

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