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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Must read: David Frum on PaliLeaks

I had to click through three different links to get to the full article, but it was worth it. Ultimately, the Hat Tip goes to Noah Pollak via Twitter.

David Frum nails what's troubling about Palileaks. Ultimately, what matters is not whether the documents are true or not, nor who leaked them, but the reaction of the 'Palestinian people' and the 'Palestinian leadership' and what those reactions tell us about the non-existent possibility of finding peace between Israel and the 'Palestinians.'
The Palestinian leaks show the Palestinian Authority leadership trying to work their way to the answer that "everybody knows."

But the secrecy surrounding the documents -- and the reaction to the leak -- confirms the Israelis' worst fear: The Palestinian population does not, in fact, "know" what "everybody knows." And a Palestinian leadership that did "know" what "everybody knows" is now being reviled by its own population as traitors and sell-outs.

What, after all, are the big, shameful concessions contained in the documents? Where are the wounds to Palestinian national pride?

• The documents as reported demand Palestinian sovereignty over almost all of historic Jerusalem, including the Western Wall, the holiest site in Judaism.

• The documents demand Palestinian control of lands equal in territory to the 1967 lands. Any border adjustment to reflect Israeli settlement activity would have to be balanced by an equivalent surrender of Israeli land to the new Palestinian state.

• Even after the Palestinians get their state on the other side of the 1967 line, the documents demand some kind of recognition of a Palestinian right to "return" to the Israeli side of the line. At one point, the documents suggest that the Israelis be required to resettle 100,000 Palestinians inside Israel.

If these ideas had been accepted as the basis of a final treaty between Israel and Palestine, every Middle East expert in Washington would have agreed that the Palestinians had done very, very, very well for themselves.

And yet, it never happened. It did not happen in very large part for exactly the reason now confessed by angry Palestinians themselves: because the actual demands of the Palestinian population are so much greater than any diplomat can gain.
Nothing else matters about these leaks except what the reaction to them shows about the 'Palestinians': They are not now and may never be ready for peace. When Blake Hounshell tweeted on Sunday, "I think today may be remembered as the day the two-state solution died," he was right, but not because of what the Palileaks documents show about the 'Palestinian' negotiation positions. Rather, the 'two-state solution' may now be officially dead because it has now been shown that it cannot possibly happen.

But wait - I knew that before and so did most of you. In fact, so did anyone who has had their eyes open for the last 20 years. And so, deep down, without their admitting it outside their own homes, do the 'Palestinians.' So why does the conflict continue? Why don't the 'Palestinians' just cut the best deal they can and be done with it? Frum nails that too.
The conflict is not being ended because the outside world supports and subsidizes the conflict. Palestinians who have lived in Lebanon since 1949 are not Lebanese. Ditto Palestinians who have lived in Syria or Jordan. They receive international aid on the condition that they remain refugees forever. They command attention only to the extent that they do not relinquish their grievances. Everywhere else on the planet, the world community insists that wars must end. This one war is the war that the international community pays to continue.

And when -- at long last! -- some Palestinian leaders take the tentative steps toward peace on more realistic terms, they must do so in desperate secret. They know what would happen if the deal ever emerged into view. They'd lose their public. As has happened.

When people say that the Middle East peace process is all process, no peace, here is why: because it is only so long that the process reaches no result that the people in charge of the process on the Palestinian side can remain in charge.

Read the whole thing.

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At 3:19 PM, Blogger Sunlight said...

They'd lose their public.

Uh, no. 'Collaborator' is the key word. They won't only lose their public. David Frum is minimizing.


At 10:38 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

The Palestinians are not prepared to compromise. They have been consistent on that ever since the 1920s. If they don't get everything they demand, they prefer to have nothing. Don't be surprised if that happens again.

At 2:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If Pali control over the Western Wall was part of the package it wasn't serious but there was movement. If Egypt goes down the tubes and Lebanon Hezbollizes the Israel-Pali beat down might turn into a side show--as noted by many that conflict is not the be all and end all of da' Arab street..


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