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Monday, November 26, 2012

Gee, why didn't I think of that?

One Matt Hill, who has become a self-declared expert on Middle East peace for London's Daily Telegraph in which he essentially argues that everyone knows what the solution to the Israeli-'Palestinian' problem is, so why don't we all just get on with it (Hat Tip: Memeorandum).
In fact there’s already a peace plan on offer that’s comprehensive and enjoys wide support, if only the two sides will accept it: the two-state solution. It would mean partitioning the land between the two nations living on it, resulting in countries called Israel and Palestine living side by side.
There’s already an internationally recognised boundary – the 1967 line, so-called because it divided Israel from Arab lands until that date – which, with some minor adjustments, would form a natural border between the two states.
Jerusalem would be partitioned, as it was until 1967, and serve as a shared capital. And Palestinians around the world who were displaced by previous Arab-Israeli wars would have the option of returning to their homeland as citizens of the new state of Palestine. 
The two-state solution is supported by all the major international players, including the US, the UN, the EU, and the 22 countries of the Arab League. It’s also, officially at least, the stated policy of the current Israeli government and the internationally recognised Palestinian leadership.
What’s more, it’s repeatedly been backed in principle by majorities of ordinary Israelis and Palestinians.
When the sides last sat down to try and reach a deal – at Annapolis in 2007 – their respective proposals turned out to be surprisingly close (take a look here and here). In fact on the issue of borders they were able to agree on how to divide all but around 250 square kilometres of land – or 1 per cent of the total area of Israel-Palestine.
These facts need pointing out because Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu insists the conflict is "insoluble", and that aiming for two states is unrealistic.
I have done several posts over the last couple of years that have looked at the premise that 'everyone knows' what the solution is to the Arab-Israeli conflict, and the truth is that everyone doesn't know. Here are some highlights.

May 2011:
I'm going to use Ethan Bronner's New York Times piece as a jumping off point (Hat Tip: Memeorandum).
Every year in mid-May, many Palestinians observe what they call “the nakba,” or catastrophe, the anniversary of Israel’s declaration of independence in 1948 and the war in which hundreds of thousands of Palestinians lost their homes through expulsion and flight. But this was the first year that Palestinian refugees and their supporters in Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and Egypt, inspired by the recent protests around the Arab world, tried to breach Israel’s military border from all sides.

“The Palestinians are not less rebellious than other Arab peoples,” said Ali Baraka, a Hamas representative in Lebanon.
This is the key point, and unfortunately, rather than treating it as an objective fact, the Times treated it as just something Prime Minister Netanyahu said when it went on to quote Netanyahu,
“The leaders of these violent demonstrations, their struggle is not over the 1967 borders but over the very existence of Israel, which they describe as a catastrophe that must be resolved,” he said. “It is important that we look with open eyes at the reality and be aware of whom we are dealing with and what we are dealing with.”
I often refer to the separation between Judea and Samaria on the one hand, and Gaza on the other, as an elephant in the room at the 'peace talks.' It's something that's staring us in the face, but no one wants to deal with it because all the 'creative solutions' in the World aren't going to resolve the fact that you would have to cross what would be left of Israel to get from one to the other - or cut Israel in half (God forbid) to make a contiguous 'Palestinian state' as the past two administrations have promised.

But that elephant is tiny compared with the 'refugees' and there has been less 'progress' on that issue than on any other issue over the last 18 years. That's because it's an issue that cannot be resolved and Sunday's events show why.

For starters, look what Abu Mazen - who according to the Palileaks papers was ready to make concessions on the 'refugee' issue - had to say about Sunday's events. Again from Bronner:
Mahmoud Abbas, the president of the Palestinian Authority, saluted the protesters in a televised speech, referring to the dead as martyrs. “The blood of the nakba fatalities was not spilled in vain,” he said. “They died for the Palestinian people’s rights and freedom.”
These people didn't die for Abu Mazen's alleged 'Palestinian state' in Judea and Samaria; they died trying to negate the existence of a Jewish state anywhere. What Abu Mazen has concluded is that the Arab countries will not let him cut a deal with Israel even if he wanted to make one, and that the Obama administration is going to do nothing to stand up to the rejectionists either. And so, he makes statements in support of those who keep pushing for maximalist demands.

Second, note that the Arab countries keep pushing the Saudi plan. The key feature of the Saudi plan that makes it a non-starter for Israel is... the 'right of return' of the 'refugees.' If these miserable lost souls who have been effectively held hostage for the last 63 years were to 'return' to Israel (a county that most of them have never seen in person), there won't be a Jewish state left. Of course, that's exactly what the Arab countries want. So they pretend that there's a separate 'people' known as 'Palestinians' (who happen to have relatives throughout the Arab world) and that these 'people' need a 'homeland.' Yes, folks, the entire concept of a 'Palestinian' distinct from the Arab people as a whole is a lie.

And so, at the 'peace talks' one of the things that 'everyone knows' - that there will be no 'right of return' for 'Palestinian refugees' to Israel - is something that those 'refugees' and the Arab countries in which they live don't 'know' and are vigorously fighting. The 'refugee issue' is put off to the end of the 'peace talks' since what everyone really does know is that there is no chance of reaching an agreement about it. In fact, the real stakeholders in the 'refugee' issue (other than Israel) aren't even sitting at the table. And if they were sitting at the table, what compromise might they reach? What could be given to them that would induce them to forfeit what they see as a 'right of return' so long as the consequences of that forfeiture would leave them stateless?

December 2010:
The poll presented a package modeled on the Clinton Parameters: (1) an Israeli withdrawal from more than 97 percent of the West Bank and a land swap for the remaining 2-3 percent; (2) a Palestinian state with a “strong security force” but no army, with a multinational force to ensure security; (3) Palestinian sovereignty over land, water, and airspace, but an Israeli right to use the airspace for training purposes and to maintain two West Bank early-warning stations for 15 years; (4) a capital in East Jerusalem and sovereignty over Arab neighborhoods and the Old City (other than the Jewish Quarter and the “Wailing Wall”); and (5) a “right of return” for refugees to the new state and compensation for their “refugeehood” and loss of property.

The package was opposed by 58 percent of the Palestinians, with only 40 percent favoring it.

It was not a case of one or more individual elements in the package causing a problem. Each of the five elements was polled separately; not one of them commanded majority support.
May 2010:
 'Everyone knows' that as part of a 'peace agreement' with the 'Palestinians,' Jerusalem will serve as the capital of two states, with Jewish neighborhoods belonging to Israel, Arab neighborhoods belonging to the 'Palestinians' and 'some sort of arrangement' to share sovereignty over the Holy Basin (the area that includes the Temple Mount). Right? Well, it seems that someone forgot to tell the 'Palestinians' what 'everyone knows' already.
According to a poll by An-Najah University, 67% of the Arab residents of Judea, Samaria and Gaza are opposed to the creation of a PA state within the 1967 borders with some land exchange as part of a solution to the current impasse with Israel.

In addition the poll found that 77% reject making Jerusalem the capital of both an eventual PA state and Israel.
April 2010:
Among the many things that 'everyone knows' about the Israeli - 'Palestinian' dispute is that majorities on both sides accept the need for a two-state solution, with Israel and 'Palestine' living side by side in 'peace and security.' But does 'everyone knows' it make that correct? Maybe not, according to Noah Pollak.
Where does Weisberg get this information? He of course doesn’t say. There’s no need to be coy — lots of opinion polling is done in the Palestinian territories. Indeed, a new survey, conducted by An-Najah University in Nablus, has just been released.
Do you accept the creation of a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders with some land exchange as a final solution for the Palestinian problem?
Yes 28.3
No 66.7
No opinion/I do not know 5.0

Do you support or reject making Jerusalem a capital for two states: Palestine and Israel?
I support 20.8
I reject 77.4
No opinion/I do not know 1.8
 But hey - Matt Hill knows better. It's simple, right?

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At 6:33 PM, Blogger Rondo said...

The elephant in the room is Islam.

Not radical islam but Islam itself.


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