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Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Plan B sounds an awful lot like Plan A

When you read Daniel Levy's biography, the thrust of his attempt to salvage a 'peace process' is not at all surprising (Hat Tip: Project on Middle East Democracy via The Moderate Voice):
During the Barak Government, he worked in the Prime Minister's Office as special adviser and head of the Jerusalem Affairs unit under Minister Haim Ramon. He also worked as senior policy adviser to former Israeli Minister of Justice, Yossi Beilin. He was a member of the official Israeli delegation to the Taba negotiations with the Palestinians in January 2001, and previously served on the negotiating team to the “Oslo B” Agreement from May to September 1995, under Prime Minister Rabin. In 2003, he worked as an analyst for the International Crisis Group Middle East Program. Daniel was the lead Israeli drafter of the Geneva Initiative and prior to joining The Century Foundation and New America Foundation was directing policy planning and international relations at the Geneva Campaign Headquarters in Tel Aviv.
Levy is stuck in the time warp of Oslo and his plan is Oslo with a few more bells and whistles. "Plan B," as he calls it, is nothing more than a cosmetic embellishment of "Plan A."

For example, Levy assumes that there will be a "Mecca II" agreement between Hamas and Fatah and that it will look remarkably like that 'successful' power sharing agreement called "Mecca I." Levy hopes that the Saudis will be involved (at this point, they are so disgusted they may not want to be), but doesn't mention a single other Arab country that might take an interest. Not even Egypt. Levy ignores the fact that the Saudis practically had to force Hamas and Fatah to enter into Mecca I and he 'forgets' that the agreement was overwhelmingly in Hamas' favor and that still wasn't enough to satisfy Hamas. So why does Levy assume there will be a Mecca II? Because there's 'no choice.' I know where I have heard that argument before....

Levy assumes that Fatah and Hamas will reign in their respective 'militants' and either incorporate them into their regular 'forces' or disarm them. On what basis? Neither party - especially Fatah - has shown any ability or willingness to reign in their 'armed wings.' So why should they start now? Because the Israeli left believes that there is 'no choice but peace'? That's what got us into the whole mess in the first place.

Levy calls for an 'effective cease fire agreement' that will include both the 'West Bank' and Gaza, with Israel standing aside and not targeting terrorists. But every time Israel has done this, we know what the results have been. Shimon Peres didn't lose the election in 1996 because Bibi was 'good for the Jews' (as the campaign claimed in the last few days) but because Peres was victimized by a rash of suicide bombings just a few months after Yitzchak Rabin was assassinated. Netanyahu stood tough against the 'Palestinians' and terror attacks dropped drastically during his 1996-99 term. As soon as Ehud Barak took office and loosened the reigns, the terror started again and it continued until Operation Defensive Shield in March 2002. Let's see the 'Palestinians' disarm their terrorists and behave themselves, and then we can discuss a cease fire.

Levy assumes that Gaza and the 'West Bank' will be 'reintegrated.' Has anyone asked the 'Palestinians' whether that's what they want? Six months or a year from now, it could well be the case that all those who are not in Hamas' camp will leave the Gaza Strip and that all those who are in Hamas' camp in Judea and Samaria will move to Gaza (the former is a lot more likely than the latter). Can we then drop the pretense that the 'Palestinian people' exist as a separate ethnic identity?

I could go through this article and fisk it line by line, but the goal of this exercise is to produce a blog post and not a journal article. So I will limit this to one more item. Here's the best part. If there's no deal reached (which is likely) here's what Levy proposes:
In the absence of an ability to reach such an agreement, the process should not be defined as an all or nothing effort that has collapsed (learning from Camp David 2000). Rather, two fallback efforts would be simultaneously deployed: (i) the Quartet [Bill Clinton II. CiJ] should put forward its own detailed parameters for permanent status and perhaps have them endorsed in a UN Security Council Resolution, and (ii) Israel would undertake an immediate agreed withdrawal from the West Bank towards permanent borders with agreed international forces taking the place of the IDF ['Unilateral withdrawal' II. CiJ].
Oy! As Yogi Berra would say "It's deja vu all over again!"


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