Bush distinguishes between “must” and “should”.

By Ted Belman

Of late I have taken the position that there is no half way house; either Israelis accept the Saudi Plan or reject Oslo. The Arab League have given an ultimatum, “take it or leave it.” Bush endorsed their position by acknowledging that the end result of negotiations have already been decided,

    “They must guarantee that a Palestinian state is viable and contiguous. And they must lead to a territorial settlement, with mutually agreed borders reflecting previous lines and current realities, and mutually agreed adjustments.”

I should point out the Bush in effect for the first time, endorsed the Saudi Plan requiring ’67 borders. The Roadmap is based on Resolution 242 which supports some land for peace and secure borders. This is a further erosion of Israel’s position. No one else has noticed this.

He also imposed demands on what the Palestinians must do.

    They must match their words denouncing terror with action to combat terror. The Palestinian government must arrest terrorists, dismantle their infrastructure, and confiscate illegal weapons — as the road map requires. They must work to stop attacks on Israel, and to free the Israeli soldier held hostage by extremists. And they must enforce the law without corruption, so they can earn the trust of their people, and of the world.

Even then he is not too confident,

    “And ultimately, it could lead to a final peace in the Middle East — a permanent end to the conflict, and an agreement on all the issues, including refugees and Jerusalem.”

Remember the Arab League is only offering “normalization” but will not discuss it or do it until after Israel has capitulated and satisfied their demands.

“Normalization” is not a peace agreement and is not recognition of borders. It is more like a hudna. Only the Palestinians, will accept the borders.

Bush set out what everyone “should” do.

    So unauthorized outposts should be removed and settlement expansion ended.

    Arab states have a pivotal role to play, as well. They should show strong support for President Abbas’s government and reject the violent extremism of Hamas. They should use their resources to provide much-needed assistance to the Palestinian people. Nations like Jordan and Egypt, which are natural gateways for Palestinian exports, should open up trade to create opportunities on both sides of the border.

    Arab nations should also take an active part in promoting peace negotiations. Re-launching the Arab League initiative was a welcome first step. Now Arab nations should build on this initiative — by ending the fiction that Israel does not exist, stopping the incitement of hatred in their official media, and sending cabinet-level visitors to Israel. With all these steps, today’s Arab leaders can show themselves to be the equals of peacemakers like Anwar Sadat and King Hussein of Jordan.

Thus this new initiative is expected to proceed regardless of whether everyone does what they should do. Saudi Arabia and Egypt have already said they won’t attend and they want Hamas included. I have no doubt that they will not do what Bush says they should do. Nor do I believe that the Palestinians will do what Bush says they must do.

The “extremists” will be doing all they can to prevent it and right now they have the upper hand and are on a roll.

Given this backdrop, why are Israeli elites, government included, prepared to accept this deal? For them, the “occupation” is the problem. As President Peres says, [Israel] must “get rid of the territories”. Their goal is to end with internationally recognized borders even if such borders are “Auschwitz borders”. For them, Judea and Samaria are not a birthright but an albatross. Also they recognize that giving up these lands will deliver a mortal blow to religious Zionism.

It is not that they don’t know that there are existential threats but they believe that Israel can better confront them with internationally recognized borders, rather than with control over Judea and Samaria.

The national camp, which I believe, includes a majority of Israelis, rejects further retreat. They are prepared to take their chances with rejecting Oslo entirely. No doubt, keeping Judea and Samaria, is a value they are prepared to fight for. They devalue international recognition or protection.

July 20, 2007 | 5 Comments »

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5 Comments / 5 Comments

  1. Israel has nukes but I am increasingly questioning whether she would use them, even under existential threat. In the scenario of a sovereign Palestine rooted in Gaza and the WB, the proximity of the territories makes WMD impracticable; Palestine would be able to attack Israel with advanced conventional weapons supplied by the US, Europe, Russia, or Iran (take your pick) with no fear of devastating retaliation. Israel has already demonstrated that she will allow her cities to be rocketed on a daily basis with only token reprisals in order to avoid confrontation and condemnation.

    Following any peace deal with the Palestinians, one can also expect there to be renewed calls for a “nuclear-free” middle East and international pressure on Israel to disarm. This will come during a latter phase of the Israel eradication project.

  2. I have made this comment before, but I will do so again for the sake of stressing its realistic appraisal of power and war between Israel and its neighbors.

    It is unrealistic to push Israel into an indefensible position, since the need to survive will result in the use of WMD against just the nations that the US needs to survive such as Iran and Saudi Arabia. Knowing this, places all this withdrawal fever in the lap of the Israeli government, which needs “to get rid of the territories” for internal political reasons.

  3. Bill

    I just added this paragraph

    I should point out the Bush in effect for the first time, endorsed the Saudi Plan requiring ‘67 borders. The Roadmap is based on Resolution 242 which supports some land for peace and secure borders. This is a further erosion of Israel’s position. No one else has noticed this.

  4. If one is to parse President Bush’s speech accurately, one must look to the history of American actions in the Middle East falling far short of words. That tells us that President Bush’s words “must” and “should” are non binding advisory words only, except when it comes to Israel, which America knows she can push around with impunity or courting any violent response.

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