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Monday, January 24, 2011

A map to nowhere

David Makovsky has published a 34-page pdf with maps and calculations that are designed to show what a 'two-state solution' could theoretically look like on a map. I found the 7.5 meg daunting, and decided not to spend a lot of time on it. It merited a small article buried inside the Jerusalem Post on Sunday.

But the New York Times took it very seriously (Hat Tip: Memeorandum), and so, something needs to be said about it.
To some seasoned observers, the significance of the maps is less what they show than where they come from.

The Washington Institute was founded in 1985 by scholars affiliated with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the influential pro-Israel lobbying group. While the institute has earned a reputation for solid scholarship, and has wholeheartedly supported the peace process, it has remained a staunch supporter of Israel.

Still, this latest effort to prod Mr. Netanyahu and Mr. Abbas back into negotiations resonates with a broader frustration at the impasse among many American Jews.

“There is an increasing trend toward an ‘oy vey’ angst over how to save the two-state solution from the settlement juggernaut and by extension how to save Israeli democracy,” said Daniel Levy, a senior research fellow and co-director of the Middle East Task Force at the New America Foundation.

“The specifics of his proposed one-to-one border swaps are interesting,” Mr. Levy continued, “but the subtext reads: ‘Yikes! We need a border and an end to the settlement phenomenon now.’ ”

Mr. Levy, an unabashed liberal, said he was particularly struck by Mr. Makovsky’s so-called maximalist map, which shows that Israel could absorb 80 percent of its settler population by swapping land with the Palestinians equivalent to less than 5 percent of the West Bank.

That is less than a previous Israeli prime minister, Ehud Olmert, proposed to Mr. Abbas in 2008, when the two discussed land swaps. Mr. Olmert wanted a swap equivalent to 6.3 percent of the territory Israel seized in the 1967 Arab-Israeli war; Mr. Abbas wanted to transfer only 1.9 percent. Mr. Netanyahu has not taken a position on the swaps. To some right-wing Israelis, any such maps are taboo.
They're taboo for a very good reason: The 'Palestinians' have already turned down far better deals. The 'Palestinians' still insist that Israel concede everything on borders and 'settlements' before the 'Palestinians' will even deign to come to the table. But borders and 'settlements' are the only area in which Israel has anything to concede (unless you count Jerusalem separately). Israel would be left with security, 'refugees,' Jerusalem and water (among others) with absolutely no bargaining power. The concentration on borders gives the illusion of hope. But there is no hope, and there will not be any hope until the 'Palestinians' are willing to accept a compromise and to stop teaching their children to murder Jews. No map is going to cause those things to happen.

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At 1:54 AM, Blogger Sunlight said...

The "settlement juggernaut"? "Settlement phenomenon"? Really? Is that why they were expelled by force by the Israeli govt from the Sinai, Gaza, and parts of the West Bank?

The juggernaut that needs to be stopped is the rocketeers, suicide bombers, and head choppers, who make normal day-to-day life tenuous for Israelis (including "settlers"!). Democracy does not entail civilians moving from defensive heights and opening huge swaths of civilians to murderous attacks.

Seriously, these peaceniks don't even have to go as far as Israel to see the effects of the "internationals" current requirement that civilians capitulate to thugs and accept their murder lying down. Mr. Levy and Mr. Makovsky can just tootle on down to Juarez, one of the most dangerous cities in the world right on the U.S. border, and then mosey on down through Mexico and visit each metro area there that has had beheadings in the last few years. I would like to hear these Fantasy Island residents call the attackers around the world the "JUGGERNAUT"... how insulting to people not living in their rarified bubble...

At 4:42 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

Yup. If it was about territory, Abu Bluff would have accepted Olmert's offer in 2008.

Its really existential and no amount of fiddling with maps will change the real nature of the dispute between the Palestinians and Israel - and that isn't going to happen in our lifetime.

Map to nowhere, indeed.

At 6:54 PM, Blogger RevengeOf4chan said...

Except that by the Israeli governments own admission, more than 80% of the causalities in acts of violence between Israelis and Palestinians have been Palestinian.

Now, to the practicalities. This land swap is ridiculous. This border is not "secure", and any talk of taking more land for "security" is mad. The longer and more serpentine the border is, the less secure it will be.

The ceasefire line, with the exception of the Jerusalem stretch remains the most direct and workable boundary. The Jerusalem section is unworkable since it runs through a dense urban area. It is here that a land swap is sensible. A simple proposal would be to propose that the Palestinians renounce most claims to E. Jerusalem. In return Israel renounces claims to land for a WB-Gaza Corridor that takes as far as practical the direct shortest route between the those two areas. Otherwise, the border follows the armistice line.

Some further issues could also be solved:u

* Protection of religious sites. Possible solution to list key Islamic holy sites in Isreal and Jewish sites in Palestine, which are provided with explicit protection. The actual sites themselves could be declared as neutral or UN territory and administered and maintained by a UNESCO organised and administered trust, jointly funded by Isreal and Palestine.

Permit/Visa free access to sacred sites in either state could be ensured as part of a settlement through a mechanism of an approved list of travel agencies who could organise day trips for religious groups from either side for direct visits to those sites.

* EJ Residents: To protect their rights all residents of the EJ region would be granted full Israeli citizenship

Gaza-WB Corridor and border regions:
* No settlement of any kind should be permitted in corridor lands by any party

* The corridor shall be under Palestinian sovereignty (given in return for EJ) and administration. However, Israel will retain the right to build tunnels beneath (though not bridges over) the corridor in order to provide road, rail and utility connections to southern communities, provided they do not interfere with or compromise the structural safety of Palestinian transport and utility links on the surface - and vice versa. There should be a mechanism in place whereby works of either party can be inspected by officials of the transportation or relevant utilities ministry from the other party to ensure such problems are avoided. The treaty should also specify minimum distances between structures to minimise these problems.

* For the sake of simplicity and mutual security, it should be specified that entry to/from Israel to Palestine is not permitted along the corridor, i.e. it only connects the WB and Gaza.

* No permits are needed for use of the corridor.

* The entire corridor is to be treated as part of a demilitarised border zone, wherein neither side is permitted to station full military forces. Both sides could deploy non-military boarder police with specified restriction on weaponry and equipment with a mutually agreed zone of equal distance on both sides of the border.

* A system of communication and protocol should be agreed upon by both sides to permit passage of military forces along or across the corridor (both air and land forces) with prior notification and confirmation.

* No new buildings (with exception of structures directly related to transport and utilities infrastructures in the corridor and border security structures) should be permitted within an equal distance either side of the border.

* It is proposed a token number of refugees, say, 1 to 10,000 are accepted and rest offered compensation to be paid either by Israel or a joint Israeli-UN fund.

* Israel should be responsible for return of settlers to Israel and resettlement. Ideally, all buildings and infrastructure are left intact, with the Palestinian state paying compensation through compulsory purchase as part of the evacuation process. If need be, the Israeli government could be the “public face” of this process.


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