Following the elections, Mideast peace negotiations should resume
I was invited to meet with President Abbas of the Palestinian Authority just before he spoke to the General Assembly of the United Nations. I came to the meeting with an agenda: to persuade him to sit down with the Israelis and resume negotiations without first requiring the Israelis to accept a total settlement freeze. I knew the Israelis would not—indeed could not—agree to a settlement freeze as a prior condition to beginning negotiations, since they had previously agreed to a nine month freeze and the Palestinians refused to come to the bargaining table until just before the freeze expired, and then demanded that the freeze be extended. Prime Minister Netanyahu had invited the Palestinians to begin negotiations with no prior conditions—an invitation that the Palestinians had rejected because the Israelis refused first to impose a freeze.
My proposal to President Abbas was to have the Palestinian Authority agree to sit down and begin negotiations before any freeze began, if the Israelis would agree to begin a freeze only after the negotiations commenced in good faith. In that way, the Israelis would get what they wanted: negotiations beginning with no prior actions on their part. And the Palestinians would get what they wanted: a settlement freeze while the negotiations continued in good faith.
My plan further required the parties to immediately agree to divide the disputed territories into three areas (that were roughly equivalent to areas already agreed to in other contexts). The first would be those parts of the West Bank that will never become part of Israel, such as Ramallah, Jericho, Jenin and other heavily populated Palestinian places. Israel would agree to freeze all building in that area. The second would be those parts of the West Bank that will definitely remain part of Israel after any peace agreement, such as Ma'ale Adumim, Gilo and other areas contiguous to greater Jerusalem. The Palestinians would agree not to oppose building within that area. The third would be those parts of the West Bank that are subject to reasonable disagreement as to whether they will become part of a Palestinian state or remain part of Israel subject to land swaps. These include Ariel, the Etzion Bloc and other settlements fairly close to the Green Line. The Israelis would agree to a temporary settlement freeze in that area so long as negotiations continued in good faith. If the negotiations allocated some of that land to Israel, building could continue on that land.
I had written an op ed layi-g out my plan, and I brought a copy of it to my meeting with President Abbas. When I showed it to him, he said, "This looks good," and he passed it on to Saeb Erekat, his close advisor. Erekat read it closely and gave it back to President Abbas, who circled the operative paragraph and signed it, "Abu Mazzen." He asked me to show it to Prime Minister Netanyahu with whom I would be meeting several days later.
Between the time I met with President Abbas and the time I met with Prime Minister Netanyahu, both delivered their speeches to the General Assembly. Netanyahu reiterated his invitation to sit down and negotiate a peaceful resolution, while Abbas made a belligerent speech accusing Israel of ethnic cleansing and other crimes. He expressed no real interest in negotiating peace. So when I told Prime Minister Netanyahu about President Abbas' apparent acceptance of my proposal, he was understandably skeptical. But he took a copy of the signed article and put it in his pocket, saying he would certainly give it careful consideration.
Since that time, Abbas has indicated that he might be willing to sit down and negotiate without a settlement freeze, but only after the United Nations votes on upgrading the status of Palestine. Netanyahu, during his recent visit to France, reiterated a desire to sit down and negotiate with no preconditions.
It seems clear that nothing will happen until after both the American presidential election and the Israeli parliamentary elections early next year. When those elections are over, I intend to press both sides to consider my proposal.
There are no real downsides for either the Palestinians or the Israelis in resuming negotiations. Everyone knows roughly what a negotiated peace would look like. There would be some mutually agreed upon territorial changes to the 1967 borders, a demilitarized Palestinian state, some military presence along the Jordan River to assure Israel's security, a realistic resolution of the Jerusalem issue and an abandonment of the so-called Right of Return. There would be no immediate resolution of the Gaza issue, so long as Hamas remained opposed to Israel's right to exist.
Peace between Israel and the Palestinian Authority is long overdue. The parties have come close on several occasions. Following the two elections, the time will be right for moving in the direction of peace. I hope my proposal will help to facilitate renewed negotiations.
Reader comments on this item
|Dershowitz is fooled. [225 words]||Phillip Slepian||Nov 6, 2012 09:14|
|Trusting Abbas [52 words]||David Salinger||Nov 5, 2012 13:46|
|"Everyone knows roughly what a negotiated peace would look like." ...Not really. [161 words]||Elihu||Nov 5, 2012 13:15|
|Sensible and well meaning [68 words]||Micha||Nov 5, 2012 09:09|
|And what do they convey in Arabic news outlets and in their schools? [196 words]||David Bedein, Center for Near East Policy Research||Nov 5, 2012 04:09|
|Peace between Israelis and Palestinians is an ABSURD notion. [82 words]||Veet Vivarto||Nov 5, 2012 02:27|
|Alan, please! [139 words]||Ehud||Nov 4, 2012 22:42|
|The true meaning of what took place when Mr. Dershowitz met Abbas [297 words]||John||Nov 4, 2012 16:51|
|Middle East peace negotiations with Dershowitz [7 words]||Ronnie||Nov 4, 2012 15:53|
|Dershowitz still does not get it. [188 words]||Lily Steiner||Nov 4, 2012 14:06|
|The veracity of Lucy Van Pelt [42 words]||Stephen L. Dugas||Nov 4, 2012 08:25|
|Mideast negotiations [64 words]||Avi Keslinger||Nov 4, 2012 01:00|
|Following the elections... [96 words]||Kenneth Mathews||Nov 3, 2012 23:23|
|The Arabs do NOT want a Palestinian state alongside Israel. [107 words]||Artcohn||Nov 3, 2012 22:35|
|I am sorry, but Dershowitz is naive. [277 words]||Dr Frank J. Leavitt (Yeruham)||Nov 3, 2012 21:37|
|Get Real, Alan D. [244 words]||Dick Roberts||Nov 3, 2012 20:37|
|Following the Election Peace Negotiations Should Resume (not) [212 words]||Andy Halmay||Nov 3, 2012 20:21|
|↔ "Life for Peace" [9 words]||Phil Slepian||Nov 9, 2012 09:23|
|Alan is Wrong [98 words]||Dale Debber||Nov 3, 2012 20:07|
|Will he never learn? [62 words]||Ethan P.||Nov 3, 2012 19:30|
Comment on this item
by Denis MacEoin
Will radical Muslims line up to be deprogrammed and end up teaching kindergarten or devising a twelve-step program for their younger siblings? Since the start of deradicalization programs, the number of radicalized Muslims has risen.
Why is there no Muslim Peace Movement campaigning for an end to violence in Muslim countries? Why do Muslims -- and others -- take to the streets to condemn democratic Israel, yet never march to protest Hamas's use of Palestinians as human shields, or the violence of al-Qaeda, Boko Haram or any other jihadi group? Why not be angry at the way violent Muslims drag the image of non-violent Muslims in the mud? Many Muslims, however, complain about "Islamophobia" while ignoring the primary causes of hostility to themselves.
Muslims... are trapped, because the Qur'an and the Hadith, which make up the holy writ, all condone or command jihad and hatred for non-believers, and they do so abundantly. But commentators and politicians still wonder where the fighters of the Islamic State... or the killers of Theo van Gogh get their inspiration. A young man who sees the world through such a lens will easily turn to this to justify his desire to wage jihad.
It is still risky for anyone one in any Muslim country to call for a new approach to the most sacred texts.
by Veli Sirin
A historical process is now threatened with failure: the reconciliation of the Turkish State with the Kurds living in Turkey.
Turkish guns point in every direction but that of Kobani, and the Turkish air force continues bombing the Kurdish PKK, not ISIS. Many Kurds believe that the Turkish state considers it acceptable for the "Islamic State" to murder Kurds, and would rather bomb the Kurds than help them against ISIS.
by Burak Bekdil
Where Turkey stands today is a perfect example of how, when Islamists -- mild or otherwise -- rule a county, even the most basic liberties are systematically suppressed.
"A climate of fear has emerged in Turkey." — Hasam Kilic, President, Turkey's Constitutional Court.
The prosecutor demanded a heavier penalty for the victim than for her torturers.
The European Commission identified government interference in the judiciary and bans imposed on social media as the major sources of concern regarding Turkey's candidacy for full membership.
by Khaled Abu Toameh
To understand what drives a young Palestinian to carry out such a deadly attack, one needs to look at the statements of Palestinian Authority leaders during the past few weeks.
The anti-Israel campaign of incitement reached its peak with Abbas's speech at the UN a few weeks ago, when he accused Israel of waging a "war of genocide" in the Gaza Strip. Abbas made no reference to Hamas's crimes against both Israelis and Palestinians.
Whatever his motives, it is clear that the man who carried out the most recent attack, was influenced by the messages that Abbas and the Palestinian Authority leadership have been sending their people.
by Richard Kemp
Would General Allen -- or any other general today -- recommend contracting out his country's defenses if it were his country at stake? Of course not.
The Iranian regime remains dedicated to undermining and ultimately destroying the State of Israel. The Islamic State also has Israel in its sights and would certainly use the West Bank as a point from which to attack, if it were open to them.
There can be no two-state solution and no sovereign Palestinian Arab state west of the Jordan, however desirable those things might be. The stark military reality is that Israel cannot withdraw its forces from the West Bank.
Fatah leaders ally themselves with the terrorists of Hamas, and, like Hamas, they continue to reject the every existence of the State of Israel.
If Western leaders actually want to help, they should use all diplomatic and economic means to make it clear to the Palestinians that they will never achieve an independent and sovereign state while they remain set on the destruction of the State of Israel.