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Sunday, April 11, 2010

What 'everyone knows'

The map below is allegedly the map that the Obama administration plans to present as a 'peace plan' between Israel and the 'Palestinians' (Hat Tip: Will). It's what 'everyone knows' is the solution since Bill Clinton first proposed substantially the same thing in 2000.

Helene Cooper described it in the New York Times this week as follows:
Such a move is “absolutely not on the table right now,” a senior administration official said, adding that the United States wanted to first see the start of the indirect, American-brokered peace negotiations, which diplomats refer to as “proximity talks.” But the official said those talks would “undoubtedly get mired down, and then you can expect that we would go in with something.”

What that would be remains up in the air, but most Middle East experts draw the same outline for a peace deal. First, Palestinian officials would have to accept that there would be no right of return for refugees of the 1948 war that established the Israeli state, and for their millions of descendants. Rather, the Palestinians would have to accept some kind of compensation. Second, the two sides would have to share Jerusalem — Palestinians locating their capital in the east and Israelis in the west, and both signing on to some sort of international agreement on how to share the holy sites in the Old City.

Third, Israel would return to its 1967 borders — before it captured East Jerusalem and the West Bank in the Six-Day War — give or take a few negotiated settlements and territorial swaps. Fourth, the United States or NATO would have to give Israel security guarantees, probably including stationing troops along the Jordan River, to ease Israeli fears that hostile countries could use the Palestinian state as a springboard for attacks. And finally, Arab neighbors like Saudi Arabia would recognize Israel.
If that's the plan, the only thing that seems different from the Clinton parameters is the US or NATO troops (and even that has come up since). I can't imagine Israel accepting NATO troops (which would include Turkey) and I can't imagine Congress agreeing to send US troops - which are in short supply - here. Also, please recall that it was the 'Palestinians' who refused to accept the Clinton parameters.

But it's far from certain that this deal will ever be proposed. The Cable reports that Obama's advisers are 'all over the map' about Israel.
But one U.S. official close to the issue told The Cable there's a more diverse spectrum of opinion inside the administration, with different officials exhibiting a range of views on what the tactics and tone of the U.S. approach should be going forward. There is no prospect of an Obama peace plan surfacing anytime soon, however.

"That's obviously an option we have. At some point we may exercise it," the administration official told The Cable. "There's been no decision to do it and there's no plan to do it."
There are also two signs of concern for Israel: Jim Jones and Valerie Jarrett.
National Security Advisor Jim Jones is the one most clearly advocating for a more definite American plan for how to proceed. Washington Post columnist David Ignatius and New York Times reporter Helene Cooper both described Jones as the prime mover behind a recent White House meeting in which a group of former national security advisors urged Obama to consider proposing his own peace initiative.

But Jones denied Friday that Obama has decided to take their advice.

"These are ongoing discussions, and I think that while we've not taken any decision to jumpstart any dramatic shift in our strategy, I think we should say, to make clear, that we don't intend to surprise anybody at any time," Jones told reporters.


Valerie Jarrett is another team member to watch. Two officials confirmed she is in almost all the meetings, although one official cautioned that doesn't mean she has a foreign-policymaking decision role, per se.

"Certainly how we handle Israel has implications for the public, nongovernmental organizations, and Congress, so understanding how the public and the interest groups will react is important and you have to loop her in," the official said.

To the extent that Jones and Jarrett seem to have increasing clout with Obama, that worries outsiders who fear they are pushing him toward a tougher stance vis-à-vis Israeli President Benjamin Netanyahu, who abruptly cancelled his plans to come to Washington next week for the nuclear summit.
Jones and Jarrett are both known not to sympathize with Israel.

But here's the bottom line. If 'everyone knows' this is the deal, why can't they get it done? Obviously, because someone doesn't want it done. That isn't Israel - we offered that deal three times in the last ten years. The pressure on Israel is out of place.

That's not to say that I expect Netanyahu to offer the same deal that was offered by Barak and Olmert. I don't. A lot of things have changed since Barak made his offer (the 'second intifada' and the results of the Gaza expulsion being high up on the list) and Olmert's offer was that of a suicidal maniac trying to maintain his position in office.


At 1:08 AM, Blogger Hutzpan said...

Security guarantees, my ass!

At 1:21 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

Hi Carl.
You know lately i'm no longer surprised about nothing. Certainly since i've learned that the Deputy National Security Adviser.of Obama has a master's degree in fiction writing.
I would laugh if it were not so frightening.
I think Science fiction has become reality.
Have a great week.

At 2:12 AM, Blogger Juniper in the Desert said...


At 4:07 AM, Blogger Daniel said...

What did he write- Battlestar Gallactica?
Was Rahm the inspiration for Count Baltar

At 4:33 AM, Blogger Y.K. said...

I don't buy this map as authentic. Leaving Modiin-ilit _and_ Ariel out? Even a far leftist Israeli government can't accept this - even Olmert wanted Ariel. Nor can any "imposed" plan leave the Old City out - both sides would be happy to blow up the negotiations over it. I have very little respect for Obama, but even he can't be this stupid.

In any event,there's no good reason to reduce Israeli demands, because the Leftists Barak and Olmert made irresponsible offers.

It's time for the Right to say loud and clear that this map (regardless where its from) is unacceptable. For example:

A) Israel must retain a good part of the Jordan valley. We cannot accept foreign troops on Jordan bank, given past performance (e.g. UNIFIL) and that the entire premise for current attention to the "peace process" is appeasing some Muslims - the same logic would indicate that any foreign troops would ignore their duty - why would any foreign power risk angering the Muslim street etc. for the sake of Israel?

B) No territorial compensation to the Palestinians for areas annexed. A better offer than Barak's will only motivate future violence, and it's impossible anyway given A) above.

C) Jerusalem under Israeli rule - Not only a just outcome, but only way to guarantee religious freedom, given as the international community is deathly afraid of Muslim extremist violence, so can't possibly avoid giving in to all demands.

etc. etc.

At 5:42 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

Zbig Brezinzski and Stephen Solarz want Obama to make a big trip to the Middle East. My view is its a complete waste of time. If the President wants to humiliate himself, then by all means, he should follow their advice.


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