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Friday, August 31, 2007

It's official: Olmert will re-divide Jerusalem, give most of Judea and Samaria to 'Palestinians'

Based on reports in Arab media, respected scholar Dr. Guy Bechor (who is definitely NOT a right winger, as will become evident when you read this post) reports on his website (link in Hebrew) that Prime Minister Ehud K. Olmert has proposed in writing to the 'Palestinians' to re-divide Jerusalem and to give the 'Palestinians' nearly all of Judea and Samaria. Bechor terms this a 'defeat in the diplomatic plane that is similar to last summer's military defeat in Lebanon.' I have translated this article from the Hebrew for those who don't read Hebrew:
It is amazing and serious that such existential matters are negotiated in complete secrecy between Prime Minister Olmert and Palestinian Chairman Abu Mazen, none of us knows anything about it and almost no one is interested. These are the same tactics as Oslo: not to report anything and then to explode a fait accomplis in the media, to present the matter as finished and to open an international process over which one has no control. And maybe this is a reflection of the the material exhaustion in Israel, of the collapse of all ideologies, and with this material exhaustion no one cares. And since the Israeli side doesn't tell us what's going on, we must learn from leaks on the Palestinian side and they are important.

It is definitively known that in the last few days, Israel has delivered at least one draft of a dramatic "Agreement of Principles" to Abu Mazen, pursuant to which a Palestinian state will be created based upon the June 1967 borders alongside a "Jewish state." The Palestinian state will be demilitarized and will include 6250 square kilometers, which is equal to the area of Judea, Samaria and Gaza. But there will be some border adjustments, such that most of the settlements will be dismantled and what remains will be concentrated in narrow, secure areas, and in return the Palestinians will receive alternative land in Israel. I do not know what this alternative land is. A passageway will be constructed between Judea and Samaria and Gaza, whose nature is not yet clear, that will be under Israeli sovereignty and Palestinian management.

Israel is ready to divide Jerusalem, with the Arab neighborhoods being under Palestinian control, and the Jewish neighborhoods under Israeli control, except that there is a mention of some sort of "religious" sovereignty that is not yet clear to me over the Holy places. Each side will recognize the other side's religious needs in Jerusalem.

The subject of refugees is not mentioned at all in the draft, and this is the most difficult point of contention between Israel and the Palestinians. Abu Mazen is not yielding on the matter, and is demanding the refugees' return at least in principle.

Abu Mazen and his advisers reviewed the Israeli draft and they are not pleased (Of course. They know how to conduct negotiations. One should never open with one's final position as Israel does). Before knowing the details, Abu Mazen announced that he is opposed to the idea of a declaration of principles, as there was in Oslo, because in his opinion, experience has shown that its use to the Palestinians is only verbal. Two days ago, in a telephone interview with Palestinian television, Abu Mazen said that the declaration of principles is a "waste of time" and that it is "useless." What the Palestinian side wants now is a clear framework of actions with clear dates: to establish a state, for Israel to withdraw, for the settlements to be dismantled and for the refugees' return.

They know that the closer November and the international conference get, the more pressure there will be on Israel.

The closer we get to November, the more diplomatic pressure will be exerted by the Palestinians on Israel. We've already been in this game.

There is doubt on both sides whether the parties can reach an agreement, especially with the two limping partners, Abbas and Olmert, with Abbas indisputably not in control of Gaza. Former minister Mustapha Barghouti, a close friend of Abu Mazen, said yesterday: "The November meeting will be a disappointment, because in any event, it is just surprise package. No one knows what is in the bag and what will come out of it. It's not a conference, but a meeting, to which not all of the Arab parties have been invited, and those who have been invited are under American pressure to recognize Israel, to normalize relations with it, and to fight what they call 'terror.'" According to him, the entire meeting idea is an Israeli trap, from which nothing will come out for the Palestinian side. Saeb Erekat added that from his perspective, in any event, the serious discussions are continuing between Abu Mazen and Olmert.

What can be learned from these first details which are clear and serious? That what happened a year ago in Lebanon on the military plane is now happening on the diplomatic plane. A group of amateurs, none of whom have any experience negotiating with the Palestinians (it can be assumed that Ehud Barak is excluded from the negotiations, but his experience is also quite pathetic) or any diplomatic experience, is trying reach an imaginary solution just as the release of the prisoners a year ago was a known illusion from the start. In these negotiations, they don't consult experts or professionals in the field, and they don't learn from their predecessors' experience. The name of the game is compartmentalization, improvisation, instinctive reactions and binding governments that may follow it. The public is not aware of what is going on in secret, it is hidden from it, but it will feel the disastrous result now just as then.

And another point.

A number of years ago, at the height of the intifadeh, I participated one night in the radio program "Situational Assessment" on the second network, as I have been doing for more than ten years. The program was held in Israel Radio's Jerusalem studios.

One of the people interviewed (by telephone) was Ehud Olmert, who was Mayor of Jerusalem then if I am not mistaken. I suggested my approach to him, as I suggested here, that Israel must give up most of the Arab neighborhoods in Jerusalem with their residents, since in any event they will become part of the Palestinian entity to be established. The way he attacked me for that idea.... How could I even dare to think of something like that?

I have to admit that I was offended, and I thought about it most of the way home. And today, Ehud Olmert has passed me in his eagerness to "divide" Jerusalem without any public debate and without consulting with anyone. Does he still remember what he said just a few years ago?
The writing is on the wall. Is anyone else awake?

2 Comments:

At 9:25 PM, Blogger Red Tulips said...

Carl,

I have a love of Israel in my heart, but when I see crap like this, I honestly feel like I have zero desire to live in Israel. I would go mad if I lived in a state which engages in such wholesale capitulation that, on a daily basis, results in dead Jews. Wake me up when real Zionists are in power. Wake me up when this lunacy ends.

 
At 9:33 PM, Blogger Carl in Jerusalem said...

Red Tulips,

If no one wakes up now, the lunacy is going to win.

 

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