by Barry Rubin
In a one-paragraph statement welcoming
Here is the statement in full:
"Today's announcement by the Government of Israel helps move forward toward resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. We believe that through good-faith negotiations the parties can mutually agree on an outcome which ends the conflict and reconciles the Palestinian goal of an independent and viable state based on the 1967 lines, with agreed swaps, and the Israeli goal of a Jewish state with secure and recognized borders that reflect subsequent developments and meet Israeli security requirements."
Clearly, this approach builds on the 2000
These 77 words are worth analyzing in great detail. First, there is what the
"The Palestinian goal of an independent and viable state based on the 1967 lines, with agreed swaps…"
One should first ask, which Palestinians? Hamas and Islamic Jihad don't favor this approach and Hamas still runs the Gaza Strip. To pretend that
The second issue is that what
The word "based" in the phrase, "based on the 1967 lines" is carefully chosen to imply flexibility as to where the exact border would be drawn. In fact, the PA has always said that it must get the 1967 boundaries completely, never mentioning the word "swaps." Therefore, when
It tells a great deal that the idea of "swapping land" so that the PA gets the equivalent of the same number of square miles as
Hence, by whittling down the demands she is making the typical negotiators' error of putting forward a false stance and then finding out the negotiation fail. But at the same time, however,
There is also
"The Israeli goal of a Jewish state with secure and recognized borders that reflect subsequent developments and meet Israeli security requirements."
This incorporates several Israeli demands:
--"An outcome which ends the conflict":
-- "Jewish state":
--"With secure and recognized borders":
--"That reflect subsequent developments": This is a fascinating and new phrase. What can it mean other than this: Since so many Jews have moved into settlements, this new factor must be taken into account in shifting the borders. This is the Obama Administration's version of its predecessor's idea that
--"And meets Israeli security requirements": Another and stronger reference to security guarantees.
How will this statement be received in
The more I think about this point, the more it makes sense to me that the position is a gesture toward
It also offers the Palestinians, or at least the PA, what it says it wants. Well, not exactly but in a way that Americans think is reasonably close. Unfortunately, that's not the way the PA thinks. For more than thirty years the United States has been trying to formulate plans on the basis of what it thinks will satisfy Palestinian goals—the first Camp David meeting, the Reagan plan, the second Camp David meeting, and a thousand plans, conferences, statements, and initiatives in between.
Each time they fail because they aren't addressing what the Palestinian leadership really wants. And today that is further complicated by there being two Palestinian leaderships.
ps: (in response to a reader's question asking if this means the
IT DOES NOT SAY THE 1967 BORDERS.
COMPARE THIS STATEMENT TO THE ISRAELI GOVERNMENT'S OWN PROGRAM AS WELL AS TO ISRAEL'S POSITION IN THE 2000 CAMP DAVID MEETING AND THE SUBSEQUENT [BILL] CLINTON PLAN IN DECEMBER 2000. IT IS QUITE COMPARABLE. IT INCLUDES RECOGNITION OF THE JEWISH STATE, SECURITY ARRANGEMENTS SATISFACTORY TO
AS I SAID, THIS IS NOT A STATEMENT ENDORSING EVERYTHING
Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal.
Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.