The Israeli government uses the pretext of the two-state solution’s inevitability to justify building settlements on Palestinian land, all without ever earnestly seeking a two-state solution. Imagine that the Palestinian Authority announced that based on an offer made by Israel in past peace negotiations — and irrespective of the result of those negotiations — it was launching a program to send Palestinian refugees to resettle inside Israel proper. Indeed, there is documentation that former prime minister Ehud Olmert made a concrete offer to absorb 10,000 Palestinian refugees as part of a two-state agreement. The only problem, Israel points out, is that…Read More... | 41 Comments
A breakdown of recent statements by principal players in the Kerry-led peace process. The Israeli/Palestinian negotiations remind me of a volleyball court. With a lack of hard information available to the public, each player punts a ball into the air at regular intervals with identifying marks on it, to remind everyone that he or she is still there for ten seconds before the ball drops and another pops up. These blips sound like a standard shouting match on the surface. But their subtext can give a snapshot of the peace process at this moment – and reveal why it’s so…Read More... | 18 Comments
Dennis Ross presents a framework for renewing the peace process, which he apparently lifted directly from the Israeli PM's hard disk - including de facto recognition of permanent Israeli control over eight percent of the West Bank. Veteran U.S. diplomat Dennis Ross had a full page op-ed in The New York Times this weekend, in which he presents a 14-step program that is supposed to establish a framework for renewing the diplomatic process. The piece includes a lot of talk about peace, but the action items are lifted from Netanyahu’s policy book, demonstrating again why the Palestinians were right when they refused to meet Ross –…Read More... | 44 Comments
The idea that the tough choice about settlers can somehow be waved away through the magic wand of land swaps is a fantasy. Any solution that will leave most settlers in place (in one state, or two states) will be just a perpetuation of the conflict under another title. Following the uproar in the United States and Israel about his comments regarding 1967 borders, Obama, in his speech to AIPAC last week, stated … since my position has been misrepresented several times, let me reaffirm what “1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps” means. By definition, it means that the parties…Read More... | 16 Comments
Netanyahu’s response to Obama expose his, and the Israeli’s center-right, true face For years, Israeli politicians used to say their actions were intended to “expose the true face of the Palestinians”; this used to be a specialty of Ehud Barak. Senior pundits spent lakes of ink on the proposition that Israel should agree to peace proposals, or even present some of its own, even though they thought there was no point in them: Doing so would expose the “true face” of the Palestinians/Arabs as peace refuseniks. This game is over. The two days following Obama’s Middle East speech made it…Read More... | 4 Comments
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