Will Olmert’s negotiations lead anywhere?

Dr Aaron Lerner in his article Olmert team negotiating outline of flying elephant argues

Outlining the details of a viable, stable and peaceful Palestinian state is no more a realistic an exercise today than debating the configuration of wing inserts for an elephant. [..]

While it is certainly possible that the entire exercise ends up with nothing more than some photo ops to serve the interests of the participants in other venues it would be irresponsible to ignore the potential of this process to foist a flying Dumbo state on the Jewish People.

This is no time for complacency.

On the other hand, MJ Rosenberg, Director of the extreme left wing Israel Policy Forum advises in Hope Springs Eternal, that Barak has shifted to the right of Kadimah

[..] But now come reports from the region that Olmert and Abbas have made significant progress toward a declaration of principles of a permanent status arrangement that they intend to present at the international conference in Washington.

According to Shimon Shiffer, the influential Yediot Ahronot reporter, Olmert told a visiting Congressional delegation this week that

    “for months he has been discussing with Abu Mazen the core issues of the conflict with the intention of reaching agreed upon principles on the fundamental issues that will lead to the establishment of a Palestinian state alongside Israel: borders, Jerusalem, refugees, exchange of territories, passage between the West Bank and the Gaza Strip and the essence of relations between Israel and the Palestinian state.”

Substantial agreement has been reached and it appears the two sides could be fully in synch by November when the international conference is slated to take place. Best of all, the Saudis are pleased at the progress and are indicating that, if an agreement on principles is achieved, they will not only attend the international conference, they will bring along other Arab states which, until now, have refused to parley with Israel.

This is hopeful stuff. At last, Olmert and Abbas are talking about substance. Although it is very difficult imagining how any sort of deal would stick so long as the Israeli government and hard-liners in our Congress continue to insist that if Abbas dares to reach out to his brothers in Gaza, all negotiations and foreign assistance will end.

What he misses is that with Hamas in the government, there is no chance of agreement. He takes Olmert at his word. I don’t know why.

There are many reasons why an agreement will not even be reached let alone consented to by all involved.

August 18, 2007 | 1 Comment »

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1 Comment / 1 Comment

  1. Dr. Lerner’s comment suggests Olmert and Abbas are spinning their wheels and nothing can or will come out of their talks leading up to the planned November 2007 international conference in Washington. Rosenberg puts a more positive spin on how these discussions are proceeding, but even as a leftist, he too throws cold water on the notion that whatever kind of deal might be reached, that it could stick.

    That said, what is most worrisome is that even even if the process amounts to spinning wheels, Olmert might bind Israel to a future course that new Israeli leadership will not be able to change.

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