Israel is flirting with the self-destruct button

By Ted Belman

A month ago Zalman Shoval wrote a piece in YNET, The Israel liquidation sale

    “Contrary to the past, Israel is currently willing to discuss all the “core issues” – including Jerusalem, borders, settlements, and refugees. Ostensibly, we should be praising this, as Israel is indeed interested in a real peace treaty. Yet in practice we are not talking about a peace agreement or even mutual compromise, but rather, a full endorsement of all Palestinian demands, coupled with the renunciation of major Israeli demands in the realm of security, diplomacy and Jewish life.

    “Based on various reports, the Palestinian “partner” is not even willing to pledge that in exchange for the Israeli liquidation sale it will declare an end to the conflict between the two peoples.”

So what are these concessions?

Today, the NY Sun carries his article, Switching To Annapolis
in which he expands

    Also, Israel will relinquish its sovereignty over the Temple Mount and will agree to see the vulnerable pre-67 Green Line as the main parameter for the future border.

    In exchange for three settlement blocks, Maale Adumim, Gush Etzion, Ariel, which will remain Israel’s, Israel will cede to the Palestinians stretches of land west of the Green Line. Prime Minister Sharon spoke about five settlement blocks, including the strategically important Jordan valley.

    Other settlements, including some strategic ones, will be evacuated. Israel purportedly will agree to a Palestinian controlled “safe passage” from Gaza to the West Bank. Another possible major Israeli concession refers to the question of Palestinian refugees. According to press reports the Israeli negotiators have consented to make do with something less than a final and formal Palestinian renunciation of the so-called “right of return,” while agreeing to the entry of 1,000 families to Israel.

    True, nothing is carved in stone at this point, and the growing opposition to those proposals inside Mr. Olmert’s own Kadima party may still bring about real or cosmetic changes, and even Mr. Olmert himself may have second thoughts.

    In any case, nobody even faintly acquainted with reality genuinely believes that the international get-together in November will produce anything resembling real peace. What it might do, however, mostly to the detriment of Israel, is create new terms of reference for any future negotiations. Terms which will trade the heretofore generally accepted U.N. Security Council Resolution 242 which makes possible withdrawals contingent on security considerations for a formula more or less equivalent to the “Arab Peace Plan.”

    Barak and Netanyahu

    While Mr. Barak apparently made it clear that though he supported her efforts, he didn’t believe that Mr. Abbas was capable of implementing any agreement. He also specified that Israeli road blocks and other security measures would not be dismantled anytime soon.

    The talk with the leader of Israel’s opposition covered a wider range of subjects, including Saudi Arabia, Iran, and matters relating to the broader Middle East. On the Israeli-Palestinian issue, Mr. Netanyahu made it clear that a Likud-led government would put peace at the top of its agenda, but not according to the Arabs’ “all or nothing” approach.

    He reminded the Ms. Rice of the commitment made by President Bush in his letter to Prime Minister Sharon to support Israel’s right to security — related borders which are not to be identical with the former Green Line — a commitment which followed similar statements by, among others, President Reagan.

    He also pointed out the folly of dividing Jerusalem, a plan which if carried out would bring Al Qaeda and Hamas to the walls of Old Jerusalem and to the Temple Mount. Summing up, he told Ms. Rice that Palestinian statehood shouldn’t be a rush-job.

    First there must be institution-building, economic reform, and concrete proof of Mr. Abbas’s capability and willingness to deal with terrorism. Furthermore, there must be no more unilateral concessions.

Thus Olmert and Barak are trying to negotiate better terms for surrender while Bibi is holding to past understandings.

The writer is a former Israel ambassador to Washington and member of the Israeli delegation at the Madrid Conference

October 5, 2007 | 6 Comments »

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