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Sunday, May 31, 2009

When Ehud Olmert told the truth

Back in March, then Prime Minister Ehud K. Olmert claimed that he made an unprecedented 'generous' offer to the 'Palestinians' in September 2008 and that 'moderate' 'Palestinian' President Mahmoud Abbas Abu Mazen never bothered to answer. In Friday's Washington Post, anti-Israel columnist Jackson Diehl tells the 'Palestinian' side of the story.
In our meeting Wednesday, Abbas acknowledged that Olmert had shown him a map proposing a Palestinian state on 97 percent of the West Bank -- though he complained that the Israeli leader refused to give him a copy of the plan. He confirmed that Olmert "accepted the principle" of the "right of return" of Palestinian refugees -- something no previous Israeli prime minister had done -- and offered to resettle thousands in Israel. In all, Olmert's peace offer was more generous to the Palestinians than either that of Bush or Bill Clinton; it's almost impossible to imagine Obama, or any Israeli government, going further.

Abbas turned it down. "The gaps were wide," he said.

Abbas and his team fully expect that Netanyahu will never agree to the full settlement freeze -- if he did, his center-right coalition would almost certainly collapse. So they plan to sit back and watch while U.S. pressure slowly squeezes the Israeli prime minister from office. "It will take a couple of years," one official breezily predicted. Abbas rejects the notion that he should make any comparable concession -- such as recognizing Israel as a Jewish state, which would imply renunciation of any large-scale resettlement of refugees.

Instead, he says, he will remain passive. "I will wait for Hamas to accept international commitments. I will wait for Israel to freeze settlements," he said. "Until then, in the West Bank we have a good reality . . . the people are living a normal life." In the Obama administration, so far, it's easy being Palestinian.
Over at Hot Air, Captain Ed refers to this as a bombshell. But Ed really gets it right with his last paragraph:
That makes it pretty clear that the Palestinians aren’t interested in a two-state solution, nor a rational agreement on the return of refugees. They want the destruction of the state of Israel. What’s more, Abbas — supposedly a moderate — thinks he can get that by outwaiting Benjamin Netanyahu and that Obama will help him squeeze Bibi out of power. And he may not be wrong, either.
Sadly, Abu Mazen has probably read Obama correctly.

Diehl refers to the 'Palestinians' as being a long way from swallowing reality. And he's probably right about that. But only because (and if) Netanyahu's replacement would be very unlikely to go as far as Olmert was willing to go. No, I doubt Livni would offer what Olmert did either.

But from an Israeli's perspective, I have to agree with the 'Palestinians.' Life is good as it is. We too are living a normal life. Let's just manage the conflict and not try to do anything destructive like creating a 'Palestinian state.'

UPDATE 4:35 PM

In the comments to this post, Red Tulips reports, based on a conversation with the New York consul general, that Olmert even offered to give up the Kotel (Western Wall - the last remnant of the Second Temple).

2 Comments:

At 2:44 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

The Palestinians do not want peace with Israel. They want Israel's destruction. For them the so-called TSS is simply a euphemism to mask their true objective. The reason the "gaps are too wide" is because whereas for Israel peace is a goal, for the Palestinians it is a tactic designed to get them closer to the point where they can finally vanquish the Jewish State. No amount of one-sided concessions on Israel's part will deflect the Palestinian aim. That is the truth as to where matters stand in the Middle East.

 
At 4:28 PM, Blogger Red Tulips said...

Carl,

I was told by the NY Consul General of Israel that Olmert offered the following:

- Limited 'right of return' for 'Palestinians' to settle in 1949 borders of Israel

- 97% of the "West Bank" plus land swaps and a "land bridge" so that the 'Palestinians' were to get 100% of the 'West Bank.'

- Almost all of 'East Jerusalem,' including the Kotel. (that is right - Olmert offered the Kotel)

- The offer to make Judea and Samaria Judenrein, with the exception of a few 'settlement blocks.'

In response, Abu Mazen the 'moderate' turned down the offer and had no counter-offer.

Says it all, really.

 

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