Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The Peace Agreement that Almost Was (or Wasn't)

Bernard Avishai has been talking to the relevant people, and thinks he has pieced together the outlines of the peace agreement the Israelis and the Palestinians were close to reaching. Set aside Bernard's own politics and read his article: his description sounds plausible.

The problem, to my mind, isn't if Abbas and Olmert could have reached an agreement. Perhaps they could have, the fact is they didn't. The problems are if both leaders would have been able to deliver their people, the two nations; and even if so, if the Arab/Muslim world would have been willing to live with a Jewish state, especially one which has been significantly weakened militarily and is open to infiltration, especially in the open city of Jerusalem.

The story of Egypt - the next chapter of which we don't yet know - indicates the danger. More than 30 years after Israel and Egypt signed a peace agreement, the one thing some people on all sides of the current Egyptian events agree on is that Israel is the ultimate evil. Now take that and multiply it by open borders between Israel and Palestine. Egypt, mind you, not Iran. I don't see any scenario in which that gamble can be negotiated away, and I don't see why it's worth taking.

Though I do think Israel should dismantle Ariel.

(h/t Saul)


Silke said...

Though I do think Israel should dismantle Ariel.


I ask because I recently heard a talk about hostage negotiations and that former FBI Hostage Negotiator emphasised again and again and again that you never give something unless you get something in return.

What would you get in return?

"they" would claim another victory and get their ego boosted plus whatever stones or plumbing you'd leave behind, what would "you" get in return?

NormanF said...

What would you get in return Ya'acov, in return for dismantling a city mentioned in the Hebrew Bible? Peace? I don't think so!

Would you be willing to move out of YOUR own home voluntarily for peace? And if you aren't, what gives you the moral right to deprive the people of Ariel of their future?

The truth is the Palestinian Arabs do not want peace with Israel. They want Israel's destruction. They will happily pocket whatever concessions Israel might make but they will NEVER budge on their extreme demands.

The Arabs are honest about what they want and sad to say, some Israeli Jews are still living in denial. We are not going to see peace happen in the Middle East in our lifetime.

Saul Lieberman said...

Even if you set aside Avishai’s politics, it is a pretty nasty article for the NY Times.

Settlers are described as “often violent” and "fanatical, armed and contemptuous of Israeli democracy." (Avishai has no problem with Olmert’s contempt for democracy: a lame duck PM under criminal investigation promoting a secretive plan to be brought to his own people only after he could galvanize foreign nations to threaten Israel if the plan was not accepted.)

Oh, and Kiryat Arba is "ultrafanatical." I searched the NY Times website. "Ultra fanatical" was used only 2 other times since 1851.

Y. Ben-David said...

I am not able to set Avishai's policies aside. If you listen to his Vanderbilt University speech which is available on his blog site, you see he is an extremist who is out of touch with reality. He says there, for example, that "Arab world is ready for peace with Israel" and his proof of this is that a couple of Libyan grad students came up to him and said so. He maintains that Haredim, settlers and others whom he doesn't approve of are not "real Israelis" but are "Judeans". I am impressed that he was able to get the New York Times to throw out their journalistic ethics and use his own favorite prejudicial terms.

Having read this piece, I am now convinced like many others, that they were never near an agreement. Avishai implies that the difference between the return of 15,000 refugees and 1 million is viewed as a minor matter splitting the difference. Finding "international guarantees" and "international forces" who are prepared to use force to guarantee Jewish access to Jewish holy places under Arab control are dismissed as minor technical matters. Throwing out tens of thousands of Jews from their homes in Ariel, Har Homa and other places is "merely the difference in 1 percent of territory on the map".
If they really were so close to a deal:
(1) Why did Olmert decide to go to war with HAMAS right at the critical time in the negotiations?
(2) Why didn't Abbas and KADIMA come forward in the election campaign of 2009 and tell the public that they had pretty much reached an agreement and that a vote for KADIMA was a vote for peace right now?
(3) If the deal is so good and already closed, why the hell didn't Obama and his trusty aides adopt it instead of going on their wild goose chase of getting a settlement freeze.

The only conclusion I can come to is that this is one big fraud, meant to keep the "peace process" and the associated money flowing into the PA's pockets but to keep peace itself far away.
It is truly frightening to think that someone like Olmert could be in a position to tear this country apart like that.

Saul Lieberman said...

what should we make of the fact that Livni is not quoted in the article?

Barry Meislin said...