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Thursday, May 01, 2008

'Palestinians' seethe: 'Israel' proposes 'adjusting' '67 borders

YNet reports that 'Palestinian' negotiator Ahmed Qrei Abu Allah is seething this morning, because Israeli negotiators proposed 'adjusting' the 1967 borders to maintain Israeli security and retain large 'settlement blocs.' (Hat Tip: Memeorandum)
Qureia angrily rejected a proposed map presented by Livni in which any future agreement would see Israel retaining control of the larger settlement blocs in the West Bank as well as the Jordan River Valley and Jerusalem.

Qureia grabbed the map spread out on the table and pushed it away with both hands.

The divide over the border fall-out was only further exacerbated after Qureia vehemently rebuffed comments made by Defense Minister Ehud Barak on Tuesday, in which he demanded a special security arrangement be made for a mountain ridge in Palestinian territory east of Ben Gurion Airport.

The recent turbulence indicates a permanent deal or even an agreement on certain basic principles may be even farther from reach.

"Among the three core issues being discussed in the negotiations the borders are considered the least problematic. The matter of the Palestinian refugees and sovereignty over Jerusalem are far more complex and sensitive. This incident just clarifies how far we are from an agreement," said a senior Israeli official close to the proceedings.

Foreign Minister Livni's office said in response that "the negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians are not held in public. Furthermore, until everything is agreed upon, nothing is agreed. Conducting ourselves in the limelight has never contributed to achieving our goals "

A senior Palestinian official confirmed the details of the confrontation over the borders. Qureia has declined to comment on the meeting directly but the official said that the negotiator believes that talks are often fraught with anger. "Some ideas are rejected and some are accepted, some are logical and some are not," the source said.

The most recent disagreement stems over Barak's comments during a tour of the mountain range east of the airport. "Right below us is the Ben Gurion Airport, a vital and sensitive region. We must ensure that if and when there political deals are made, we weigh in on the defense implications and the need to maintain control over security, de-facto, in the entire region," said Barak.

"Special arrangements will have to made here," he added.

Qureia said in response that Barak "can say whatever he wants, but the determining factor will be the negotiations and the outcome of the talks.

"On principle, we know what our rights are and will fight for them using all means and ways. We reject any demand, any position, or any Israeli statement regarding territory outside the 1967 borders."
The problem with these 'negotiations' from Day One is that the 'Palestinians' Arabs have never come to the table to negotiate and have no concept of compromise. They have come to the table to demand and to take. Even if they were in the position of victor rather than vanquished, that type of attitude is conducive to an imposed settlement rather than to a compromise to be reached between two parties that wish to settle their differences.

The Arabs think they can dictate terms for two reasons. First, they believe they can dictate terms because Israel gave both the Egyptians and the Jordanians everything they wanted before entering into treaties with them, right down to an international arbitration over whether Taba 'belonged' on the Egyptian or Israeli side of the border. Now, the 'Palestinians' (and the Syrians for that matter) will accept no less than everything. Yasser Arafat rejected a lot more than what Abu Allah was offered yesterday, and everyone knows it. In the Arab view, there is no price to be paid for Arab and 'Palestinian' rejectionism and for the continuous initiation of hostilities against Israel and Jews for as long as anyone can remember.

Second, the Arabs believe they can dictate terms - despite having lost every war they started and fought against Israel - because the West insists that despite the initiation and outcome of those wars it is Israel that must give and the Arabs that must receive. As long as George Bush (and others) keeps making statements about the 'Palestinian state' not looking like 'Swiss cheese' (watch the video at that link - it's there), the 'Palestinians' will continue to believe that there is no need for them to reduce their maximalist demands at all.

The 'senior Israeli official' who said that of the core issues, the borders are considered the 'least problematic' is correct. How much flexibility Israel has with respect to the borders is strictly a question of how much we are willing to endanger our security. I am not willing to endanger our security at all, but obviously other people feel differently than I do. But regarding Jerusalem, either Israel has possession or it doesn't. Many of you may recall that President Clinton's attempts at compromise on Jerusalem failed miserably. Clinton proposed giving Israel control of the 'Jewish Quarter' of the Old City, the Western Wall and the subterranean portions of the Temple Mount. The 'Palestinians' rejected that compromise, even claiming that the Western Wall belonged to them because Muhammed supposedly tied his horse to it. As to the 'right of return,' most people here realize that if we open Pandora's box and allow it at all, we will not have a Jewish state.

Barak's comments on the airport are the first time I have seen that issue addressed, but it's an issue that many people have pointed out in the past (including yours truly). A 'senior Palestinian official' was quite angry with Barak over the airport issue.
A senior Palestinian official told Ynet he was unsurprised by Barak's comments. "Once he blew-up the Camp David talks and blamed it on Arafat and now he is panicking that the current negotiations may succeed. That is why he doing all this and making declarations that sour the atmosphere. Barak has taken the Labor party from the peace camp to the side of settlers and extremists. He poses an obstacle to the talks."
Someone needs to take that 'senior Palestinian official' aside and tell him that no one else has ever offered the 'Palestinians' as much as Ehud Barak did. And from the news this morning, it is apparently unlikely that anyone else ever will.


At 9:17 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

Exactly. The good news Carl - if there is good news out of this - is that the Palestinians have always been their worst enemy. Their refusal to compromise on even minor matters has always harmed them greatly. Then again in the present context, the point is the Palestinians are not interested in living side by side with the Jewish State but rather with substituting themselves in its place. With that kind of attitude dominating their negotiating strategy, its unlikely there will be a peace agreement at all this year. And no future Israeli government will offer them more than what Olmert-Barak-Livni has put on the table.


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