Sunday, June 7, 2009

Except Common Sense Doesn't Trump Reality

Haaretz postulates that the Americans may try to resolve the settlement issue by unraveling its complexity.
Senior U.S. officials, including President Barack Obama's Mideast envoy
George Mitchell, say they might propose immediate talks on setting Israel's
border along the West Bank. The move comes in light of Israel's opposition to a
freeze on settlement construction and would determine which settlements will
remain in Israel in a final deal that would see the emergence of a Palestinian
state. The American proposal was raised in recent weeks following Israeli
suggestions that there is no reason to cease construction in the large
settlement blocs. Such construction would accommodate natural growth. The
Israelis say that since those blocs will remain in Israel under a final-status
agreement, there is no point in preventing construction.

The Israeli position was mainly directed at the blocs of Gush Etzion, Alfei
Menashe, Ariel, Ma'aleh Adumim and certain areas adjoining Jerusalem. The
American officials countered by suggesting that they initiate immediate
negotiations on the border between Israel and a future Palestinian state. This,
the Americans insisted, would make it easier for everyone to decide where
settlement construction could take place.

A fine, sensible suggestion. Figure out which settlements will stay in Israel and allow construction in them, and which won't, and don't build in them. Of course, it's hard to see how this could be done. Jerusalem lies at the heart of the conflict, is probably unresolvable, and is of course part of the settlement equation. Leaving in place large settlements that are near the Green line will probably require land swaps, which then raises the question of what Israel will offer for Har Adar or Beitar, a matter the Israeli public won't discuss before knowing that it will result in full peace. Perhaps some of the swappped land should have Israeli Palestinians on it, in an attempt to partion according to ethnic lines? The Palestinians will never even discuss ths so long as they demand a right of return for the descendants of refugees. Which means it can't be agreed before there's a full agreement on all points.

Nice try, folks.


Anonymous said...

I actually would be hopeful that the negotiation of the border could lead to something, if I could be convinced that the negotiators would work their way through the entanglements Millimeter by Millimeter and agree on progress Millimeter by Millimeter -
but this is not going to happen because not least it does not communicate itself well in news conferences and everything else will lead only to new displacements, new grievances etc. etc. and will in no way be better than the nowadays much maligned way of the British using just a ruler. You can come to an agreement of give and take only between reliable partners and the best you can get with unreliable partners is keep the maneuvering going.

4infidels said...

Without the Palestinians making any concessions on "refugees," eliminating incitement and stopping all attacks on Israel, there is no chance of a workable "land-for-peace" deal. To tell Israelis in settlements that might be removed in the event of a "peace agreement" that they are essentially living in their homes on borrowed time, that seems cruel and unnecessarily demoralizing given the strong reality that there is no "two-state solution" on the way. I can't see any Palestinian Arab state not being a threat to Israel and a base for continuing their war to destroy Israel. Hamas and Fatah both talk openly of the day when Israel no longer exists, both support terror and both incite their population to hate Jews in the most vile fashion imaginable in their media, schools and mosques.

Let me make this clear: I would not be opposed to Israel trading land to the Palestinians if it would end the conflict. But the Arab-Muslim world shows no signs that it can accept Israel as a Jewish State or will honor agreements. Unless the Palestinians can go a week without anti-Israel and anti-Semitic incitement, Israel should not even talk about which settlements would be removed in the event of peace agreement. For now, and perhaps for many decades in the future, Israel needs the West Bank for its security.

Anonymous said...

Off-topic: Yaacov, I would be interested to hear your take on this video (and the accompanying commentary, across various sites), which is being received gleefully by the anti-Israel left:

Anonymous said...

Jeffrey Goldberg has commented on the video:

Philo-Semite said...

Blumenthal is a clown, publishing drivel as news despite facts which show him either ignorant of statistics or ignorant of journalistic ethics:

1. His sample is non-random.
2. His sample has not been show representatve.
3. His sample is far too small to draw any valid conclusion.