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Tuesday, June 06, 2006

What the 'Palestinian Prisoners' Document' really says

I've done several posts that deal with the 'Palestinian Prisoners' Document' and why Israel cannot accept it. But yesterday, Honestereporting.com did a good analysis of it, and I thought it would be worth it to bring you that analysis.

Let's start with the way the document has been described in the mainstream media. This description - which happens to come from the New York Times - is typical:
The proposal calls for a Palestinian state alongside Israel, based on the borders that existed before the 1967 Mideast war. That would include all of the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, with a capital in East Jerusalem, and would accept the existence of Israel.
Or would it?

However, the actual plan is quite different. The State of Israel is never even mentioned. While the first point refers to lands Israel occupied in 1967, it does not claim that these will be the territorial limits of a Palestinian state:

The Palestinian people... seek to establish their independent state with al-Quds al-Shareef as its capital on all territories occupied in 1967 and to secure the right of return for the refugees and to liberate all prisoners and detainees...

Does this mean that the plan accepts a two-state solution as much of the media claims? According to the Washington Institute for Near East Policy:

There is no explicit statement in the accord that establishing a state within the pre-1967 borders would end Palestinian claims over Israeli territory. In fact, vagueness on two critical points of the document suggest that it can also be viewed as another iteration of the Palestinian Liberation Organization's (PLO) 1974 phased plan that declared a willingness to accept the establishment of a national authority in any part of historic Palestine as a step toward "completing the liberation of all Palestinian territory":

First, the national accord advocates "the right of the refugees to return." By not specifying where the Palestinian refugees would return to... it is just as likely that signers of the accord favor (them) returning to Israel, the equivalent of advocating a one-state solution (which would include all of Israel in an Islamic State).

Second, the national accord does not condemn violence, but actually supports "concentrating resistance in the territories occupied in 1967."

The plan does not limit Palestinian claims, nor does it reject violence, either within pre-1967 Israel or elsewhere. While the media is currently drawing a great deal of attention to this plan based on Hamas' opposition to it, readers should point out to their local media that in reality, the plan breaks little new ground.

Read the whole thing.

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