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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Abu Bluff comes up with another version of the Olmert story

'Moderate' 'Palestinian' President Mahmoud Abbas Abu Mazen has come up with yet another version of his negotiations with then-Israeli Prime Minister Ehud K. Olmert in 2008. He presented this version in a speech in Abu Dhabi earlier this month.
"We agreed on [a Palestinian state within] the 1967 borders, [that is,] that the basis for peace would be an [Israeli] withdrawal to the 1967 borders, with an option for certain border corrections, as long as the [overall size of] the West Bank territories [handed over to the Palestinians] remained the same.
That's not exactly a definitive agreement. That's just a framework and it doesn't mean anything until you fill it in.
This may be the first time we are announcing [that we reached such an understanding]. The dialogue on this issue continued, and then we went on to the [issue of] security, and reached a full understanding that this [task] would be entrusted to a third party. We [Palestinians] had no objections as to the identity of this third party. Some held it should be NATO, but that required American consent. [At the time,] we had American General Jim Jones, who later became [Obama's] national security advisor, [until] his resignation two weeks ago. He undertook to handle this task. We spoke to Bush, and he agreed that the third party would be NATO. We have no objection to NATO forces deploying in the Palestinian territories in order to defend Israel's borders, [and also in order to] complete the training of the Palestinian forces, which was begun by experts from America, Europe, and some Arab countries.
Let's assume for a minute that this part of Abu Mazen's story is true, because President Bush's book confirms it despite the fact that Abu Mazen has told us in the past that he turned down the deal offered by Ehud Olmert. All that Abu Mazen and Olmert agreed upon was a framework. A framework isn't an agreement. An agreement has full details and resolves every issue. That's not what happened here. In fact, this 'agreement' (which as far as anyone can tell was never reduced to writing) seems to have dealt with two issues: borders and possibly security. All negotiations between Israel and the 'Palestinians' have always been conducted on the basis of "until everything is agreed, nothing is agreed." So even if what Abu Mazen says now is correct, that doesn't preclude Prime Minister Netanyahu from coming in and saying that he doesn't accept the understandings reached by Olmert.

That's without dealing with the question of whether Olmert had the authority to conduct negotiations at all, given that he had already announced his resignation by then, and it was clear that he was being forced out in disgrace. (Abu Mazen says they met with President Bush on December 19, 2008; Olmert announced his resignation on July 30, 2008, and new elections were called in November 2008). Olmert had no legitimacy and questionable legal authority to negotiate on Israel's behalf. And Abu Mazen knew it.
"[Then] the Netanyahu era arrived. Obama said in his [June 2009] Cairo [speech] that Israel must stop all [construction] activity in the settlements. Could we have [settled for] less than that? So we said: 'Israel must stop all construction in the settlements...'
And there - again - is confirmation that the blame for the lack of negotiations can be laid at one address: 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington DC. I guess we'll have to wait for his memoirs to find out what President Obama was thinking when he made that stupid move.

There's more, but I think I have said enough so that you can all predict what I would say to the rest of Abu Mazen's arguments.

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At 3:17 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Carl, all too true. But reactions would be much harsher had Abbas not agreed to the framework with the Holyland king, had turned it down outright (whether it was too generous to a fault is another thing)--so maybe it counts for a bissel. Too bad they didn't get to the right of return for the carefully preserved tribe of Palestinian refugees, friends, relations, great grand cousins, and the newlyborn currently under hot house cultivation across the Middle East.

At 3:42 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

Abu Bluff could get a deal close to the one negotiated by Olmert and I suspect even Netanyahu would give it to him today - but he is not interested in peace with Israel.

If he was interested in such a deal, he would be instructing his negotiators to sit down at the table and make the requisite concessions to get it in a hurry. He isn't.

Bottom line: even if Israel gave Abu Bluff everything he asks for, there would still be no peace agreement with the Palestinians - not next year, not in this decade and certainly not in our lifetime.

Israel is really negotiating with itself over just how much it can safely can afford to give up. The other side is not even offering peace in exchange for any mooted Israeli "painful" concession and that won't change for the foreseeable future.


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