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Bush plan for Palestinian state in the works
October 12, 2001 1:09 PM   Subscribe

Bush plan for Palestinian state in the works First he did not want to get involved. Now he needs Arab support. Might be nice though if he told all concnered (Israel and Arab states) at the same time and when and only when he had the plan made final rather than suggesting and hinting at what might be included. O am I old fashioned in this?
posted by Postroad (20 comments total)

 
I'll believe the plan when I see it. But for it to be anything remotely just or realistic, the U.S. will have to put a lot of pressure on Israel, which has made it quite clear that they will not budge on Jerusalem ("the eternal, undivided capital of the Jews") or the Occupied Territories.

But such pressure on Israel is also what is necessary for real peace to be achieved....Let's hope.
posted by mapalm at 2:51 PM on October 12, 2001


I wonder if there is any possible scenario in which a peace can be achieved. You can't divide up Jerusalem down the middle, can you? I agree with the notion that Israel should withdraw, but how is there a chance in hell the Israelis will see it that way? Maybe they can have New Jersey or something.

We can paint a line down the middle of the Dome Of The Rock...this is your half, this is mine...you stay over there!

Skipper! Little buddy!
posted by Kafkaesque at 2:56 PM on October 12, 2001


After the Gulf War, in order to follow through on promises made to his coalition, Bush Sr. started in motion the Oslo accords. Heralded with great fanfare, they brought hope to the region. However subsequent U.S. detachment in the form of allowing Israel to massively expand settlements, house demolitions, and land confiscation eventually led to the collapse of the process last year.

Now Bush Jr. will try. We can only hope he bases the proposals on international law and U.N. resolutions, and actually follows through and pressures the more powerful party to make real concessions that will enable peace for years to come, and not just false security for one country.
posted by cell divide at 3:11 PM on October 12, 2001


Hey, thanks for the info, cell divide.

Get me! I learned something on MeFi!
posted by Kafkaesque at 3:55 PM on October 12, 2001


allowing Israel to massively expand settlements, house demolitions, and land confiscation eventually led to the collapse of the process last year.

The issue is hardly as one-sided as you paint it. If I'm not mistaken, more than 260 Israelis' were killed in terrorist actions by the Palestinians in the first 5 and a half years of the Oslo Accords, compared to only 209 in the decade preceding the accords. That's a doubling of the violence in a time when Arafat had promised to reign in terrorism.

In addition, the Palestinians' expanded their police force far beyond the 24,000 personnel permitted by Oslo II. They also refused to extradite terrorists accused of murders on Israeli soil -- another violation of the Oslo accords.

If you're going to point out that Israel failed to keep some of it's promises, you should also mention that Arafat failed to keep some of his promises. Things are rarely black and white.

Get me! I learned something on MeFi!

Productive discussion on MetaFilter?!? About Israel, no less? That's not allowed!

Get 'em, boys!

*MeFi Mob(tm) takes Kafkaesque out back, shows him some "tough love"*
posted by gd779 at 4:46 PM on October 12, 2001


If you're going to point out that Israel failed to keep some its promises, you should note that that Rabin was going to follow through on those promises until an Israeli with political ideals more closely aligned with Sharon assassinated him.

Have we forgotten that?

The U.S. should lean on Israel, and lean hard, for being hypocritical in the past 5 years and betraying what would have been peace, if it wasn't for the act of one of its own.

And I don't know why the U.S, doesn't get more credit from the Arab world for shifting its attitude over the past 20 years from mananical support of Israel to wavering tolerance.

At least officially. The general populace of the U.S. thinks Israel is being stupid and backward, I think.
posted by rich at 5:15 PM on October 12, 2001


It seems to me that those who see Israel in a bad light are willfully forgetful of the reason the 'occupied territories' exist in the first place. Israel was willfully attacked by the neighboring Islamic nations not just once or twice, but many times. Finally in 1967, Israel began holding the territory that had been used to launch literally hundreds of attacks upon her land and citizens.

Why should Israel give the land back? Before 1967, Jordan, Syria, and Egypt controlled all the land that Israel now holds in her own defense, and it did nothing at all to bring peace to the region. The truth is that the Islamic nations that surround her deny Israel the fundamental right to exist in any form. Trade land for peace? The peace Israel had before 1967? That was no peace at all.

Israel does what it has to do to survive. If the Arab nations that surround Israel had won in 1948 or any of the four subsequent wars--not to mention the innumerable cross-border incursions into Israel's territory--what kind of mercy would they have shown to the Jews? Perhaps it is no longer convenient to remember that the Arabs promised that upon their victory they would drive every living Jew in Israel into the sea.

The position of the Palestinian leadership has been stated many times: "No peace with Israel, No negotiations with Israel and No recognition of Israel" When Arafat sits down before the world to 'negotiate', what offers toward compromise does he make? None! He will not share Jerusalem. He will not share the Temple Mount. He will not budge on the Palestinian "right of return" to the territory they fled in 1948 as the neighboring Islamic nations did their best to kill Israel in her infancy. (They had originally been hoping to return within a few weeks after all the Jews had been killed or driven out. Thank G-d that they have been waiting almost 50 years!)

The main obstacle to peace is NOT Israel. The people of Israel are not obstinate--they are paranoid! Wouldn't you be? Instead of talking about how Israel is bad and such things, why not focus on the real problem that prevents peace: rampant anti-semitism and a stunning lack of religious tolerance within the Arab nations coupled with a denial of Israel's right to exist in any form.
posted by CalvinTheBold at 7:03 PM on October 12, 2001


Probably the saddest thing about this is that the Palestinian "citizens" of Israel, as fucked over as they have been, actually have more rights and freedoms than the citizens of many Arabic countries. Also interesting is the fact that the only Arabic country that allows the immigration of Palestinians is Jordan.

My source for this was an article in the current Newsweek, sorry I wasn't able to link to it.
posted by groundhog at 7:48 PM on October 12, 2001


oh, wow. same old israel/palestine argument that I've seen on MeFi since...well, since I started coming here, anyway.

I was interested in Postroad's posting/question.

I too find it weird that Bush (et al) are making up this 'plan' - apparently w/out consulting with any of the parties involved. (he mentioned something about it, coyly, in the press conference last night.) nor, as Postroad suggested, are they only coming forward when they actually have a whole plan.

jeez, you'd think they could do one or the other - either talk to everybody (see peace processes, past) or make up a grand plan & keep it mum until they're done.

GWB seemed sort of sheepish about it, in the press conference - very "aw shucks." I wonder if they actually have a plan, or if they're just making it up as they go. (I vote for option b.)

I do not have, nor will I express, any opinion about what actually ought to be done.

(please feel free to continue beating the dead horse.)
posted by epersonae at 8:22 PM on October 12, 2001


It seems to me that those who see Israel in a bad light are willfully forgetful of the reason the 'occupied territories' exist in the first place.

It seems to me that those who see Israel in a good light are willfully forgetful of the manner in which Israel came to exist in the first place. You mention Palestinians fleeing in 1948, and I suppose you believe they were fleeing a figment of their imagination rather than a well-documented ethnic cleansing campaign? Your romantic version is no longer credible among honest Israeli historians.

Probably the saddest thing about this is that the Palestinian "citizens" of Israel, as fucked over as they have been, actually have more rights and freedoms than the citizens of many Arabic countries.

Oh, yeah, they have it just great. Too bad they're not legally equal to Jews with respect to land ownership law or many other things...

The good news: Palestinians are desperate enough to let Israel keep the land in its pre-1967 borders, without a meaningful right to return for the millions made refugees by the nascent Israeli state. Enough of the propaganda about pacific Israel waiting for the rest of the world to see the light. If September 11 makes the U.S. government less beholden to the purveyors of that kind of bullshit, who are not representative of American Jews, then something good may have happened after all.
posted by Zurishaddai at 12:05 AM on October 13, 2001


The position of the Palestinian leadership has been stated many times: "No peace with Israel, No negotiations with Israel and No recognition of Israel".

Please, get your facts right. In 1988, in Algiers, the PLO gave up its demand to regain all of historical Palestine and settled for the demand to found a Palestinian state in the in 1967 Occupied Territories. In effect, the PLO (which represented at that time a much bigger part of the Palestinian nation than the PA does now) recognized Israel. They did so again in 1991 (Madrid) and 1993 (Oslo). When you hear Palestinian officials stating that there will be no peace or no negotiations with Israel, thats just rhetorical bullshit, comparable to similar statements by Israeli leaders and officials (like Sharon, Netanyahu). It doesn't change their official position: that requires much more than just populist language.

About the Oslo agreements: from the beginning it was clear that those agreements were far from a strong base to build peace on. The core problems of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict were postponed to so-called "final status negotiations", and there was no plan whatsoever on how to tackle those core problems in the "final status phase". (Core problems: Palestinian state on in 1967 occupied territory, Palestinian refugees, Jerusalem, borders, water.) In practice, the Israeli governments treated the Oslo-agreements just like they treat the Mitchell-report right now: first demand an end to all resistance / violence, and thus asking every Palestinian to swallow his frustration, and only then talk about a possible solution to the problems that cause this frustration. It's like telling a patient that he will get his medicine, but that he has to get better first.
posted by igor.boog at 1:38 AM on October 13, 2001


The place could thrive, but only if both sides wanted the entire place to thrive: they need to be integrated, not separated. They need to share walls and roofs and corridors and roads and utilities and stores and businesses and schools and parks and government. For each street, for each apartment building, they should toss a coin to decide who gets odd addresses, who gets even ones.

Start with Jerusalem.
posted by pracowity at 4:11 AM on October 13, 2001


Just for the record.
posted by swift at 7:55 AM on October 13, 2001


Please, get your facts right.

You need to get you facts straight on this one. The official position of the PLO is laid out in the PLO charter, which hasn't been changed despite agreements to do so in the Oslo summits.

It doesn't change their official position: that requires much more than just populist language.

To change their official position (article 15 of the PLO charter) requires a two-thirds vote of the National Congress (per article 33); Arafat's conciliatory rhetoric aside, perhaps he doesn't have the PLO support to change their official position.

first demand an end to all resistance / violence, and thus asking every Palestinian to swallow his frustration

If the Palestinians are too frustrated to abide by their pre-peace agreements, then what will a peace agreement be worth? It's never been an on/off switch, but the incidence of terrorist attacks has increased since the Oslo summits. If one party is making baby steps in the right direction, and one is making baby steps in the wrong direction, there will never be a meeting point.
posted by boaz at 9:24 AM on October 13, 2001


You mention Palestinians fleeing in 1948, and I suppose you believe they were fleeing a figment of their imagination rather than a well-documented ethnic cleansing campaign?

Not true. Take a few hours and read what the newspapers and publications in 1948 had to say about this, rather than believing the revisions and perversions perpetuated by a 50-year Arab propaganda war. Israel was attacked out of pure reckless hate.

The leaders of the nascent Israeli state pleaded for the Arab population of Israel to remain. They promised that they would not be harmed or persecuted. To this day Israeli Arabs are full citizens with every right to vote and participate in Israeli society, even to the extent that they are allowed to protest Israeli policies with which they disagree just like every other citizen. You should hear some of the things the Arab MKs have been allowed to say (without criminal repercussion) lately. If an American Senator were to spout anti-USA rhetoric similar to what these Arab MKs have said about Israel, he would be on trial for treason the same day.

The people and government of Israel have nothing at all to gain from crushing the Arab populace. Think about the truth of that. If the Arabs were to compromise on Israel's right to exist, Jerusalem and the Temple mount, there would be peace in the region that very day.

If you don't believe that , just think about what Arafat's first stated reason was for the current violence: Sharon, a Jew, had the nerve to set foot upon the Temple Mount. Why do you think the Palestinians call the current uprising the 'Aksa Intefada'?

"When you hear Palestinian officials stating that there will be no peace or no negotiations with Israel, thats just rhetorical bullshit..."

You are deceived. In English, Arafat talks about peace. In Arabic he talks about destroying Israel. His goals have not changed. Hamas and Islamic Jihad know perfectly well that Arafat is still on their side, fighting for the destruction of Israel. How many attacks within Israel have been made by Arafat's Tanzim in the last 12 months? Hundreds! And those troops are directly under Arafat's control. Anyone who thinks Arafat is a partner for peace is greatly mistaken.

The kind of "rhetorical bullshit" that comes from Arafat's newspapers and TV stations is the direct fomenting of hate that creates the suicide bombers that attack women and children in Israel almost every day. He is directly responsible for the last 12 months of bloodshed.

Before you criticize Israel, try to imagine what it is like to have Palestinians throw rocks at you while you are praying at the Western Wall, the only remnants we Jews have of our holiest place in history. Try to imagine what it is like to be sitting in a restaurant or standing in line for a disco when a Palestinian youth blows himself to bits, killing all around him. Perhaps then you will see how disgusting it is for the world to practice moral equivocation about how the Palestinians are merely "resisting an occupier."

It is reckless hate, and it is caused by men like Arafat.
posted by CalvinTheBold at 9:43 AM on October 13, 2001


Uh, Mr. TheBold, there's more whitewash than paint being used in your picture. Israeli Arabs are discriminated against in education, land use, employment, etc., the Arab populace of the Occupied Territories is being crushed, Israeli MK's will not invite Arab MKs into coalitions and Sharon's trip to the Temple Mount was deliberately provocative (not to mention that even electing Sharon is a pretty stupidly provocative act), to name a few.
posted by boaz at 10:56 AM on October 13, 2001


boaz:
Thanks for bringing up the PLO Charter. I had to dig in my memory and archive for that one. In April 1996 and again in December 1998 the Palestinian National Council voted to amend the charter to make it consistent with the Oslo agreements (and thus recognize Israel). In 1996 not all Council members were present, but in 1998 the vote was almost unanimous. Have a look on the website of the Israeli Foreign Ministry. Or at this CNN article.

The problem is that the PLO doesn't really exist anymore. It's all great dictator Arafat now, and most groups that worked together under the PLO umbrella, now distance themselves from Arafat. Many PN Council members are representing the refugees in Syria, Lebanon, Jordan. They are afraid (and rightly so) that Arafat will trade away the rights of the refugees. The Palestinians are clearly not united on many important issues, and Arafat is mainly to blame for that problem.

Then you say that the Palestinians don't agree with pre-peace agreements. Who does? Can you give me an example of an Israeli proposal that respects UN res. 242 and 338?

CalvinTheBold: I respect the feelings of fear of the Israeli's at the Western Wall and in disco's and restaurants. Did you try to imagine what it is like to lose the land you were born on and live as refugees for over 50 years? As for the rest of your post, I can only say: read something by Maxime Rodinson, for example. 50-year Arab propaganda war? Yes, but also a 50-year Israeli propaganda war. The leaders of the nascent Israeli state wanted Palestinians to stay? Read the memoires of Moshe Dayan, David Ben Gurion and other leaders, and see how the Zionists were stil thinking like Herzl, but were not very "discreet and circumspect". Theodor Herzl in 1895 (Diaries): “We shall have to spirit the penniless population across the border by procuring employment for it in the transit countries, while denying it any employment in our own country. Both the process of expropriation and the removal of the poor must be carried out discreetly and circumspectly.”
posted by igor.boog at 2:24 AM on October 14, 2001


From the amendment:Assigns its legal committee with the task of redrafting the Palestinian National Charter in order to present it to the first session of the Palestinian central council.

The problem is that this step has never happened, nor are the amendments attached to the Charter US Constitution style. So, they are using the same charter while claiming to use a different one. You can see this for yourself by doing a Google Search on PLO charter.

Then you say that the Palestinians don't agree with pre-peace agreements.

No, I said they don't 'abide by' pre-peace agreements that they did 'agree to' (regardles of what they 'agree with'). Whatever your moral feelings, you have to admit that's not a good tactic for extracting further agreements.

Can you give me an example of an Israeli proposal that respects UN res. 242 and 338?

Thanks to Resolution 3379, Israelis are pretty much convinced that UN resolutions vis-a-vis Israel are neither worth agreeing to nor abiding by.
posted by boaz at 7:17 AM on October 14, 2001


boaz:
You're right on the charter, but it's a bit more complicated than it seems. The Central Council also voted (81 to 7, I think also in 1998) to amend the charter. Problem is that the process of redrafting was meant to be part of the Wye River agreement, and both parties failed to live up to that agreement. Since then it has been getting more difficult for Arafat to keep the various Palestinian factions together on this and other issues.

But: the Israelis appear to be content with the letters of Arafat and the votes in the PNC. Netanyahu, Barak and Sharon haven't (as far as I know - correct me if I'm wrong) stressed the charter problem anymore since dec 98.

I agree with you that "not abiding by agreements" is not a good tactic for extracting further agreements. But both parties are equally guilty of this.

Thanks to Resolution 3379, Israelis are pretty much convinced that UN resolutions vis-a-vis Israel are neither worth agreeing to nor abiding by.

Yes, many Israelis feel that way because they are angry and afraid and feel threatened. But it's too simplistic to say that because of resolution 3379 Israeli leaders should not take UN resolutions seriously any longer. If you don't take resolutions like for example 242, 338 and 425 seriously, what can you do? Israel is still a member of the UN, no? Oh well, I don't want to repeat the discussion about the functioning of the UN here. Let's say we have to be pragmatic, and I guess using 242 and 338 as a basis for agreements (and you can forget they are formulated by the UN, let's see them as proposals) is maybe the best way on the road to a peace settlement...
posted by igor.boog at 8:14 AM on October 14, 2001


Problem is that the process of redrafting was meant to be part of the Wye River agreement,

That's an after the fact rationalization. The only reason it was part of the Wye River agreement was that it wasn't done after Oslo. In effect, he made the same concession twice, and didn't abide by it either time. The fact that he had an excuse the 2nd time is hardly comforting.

Netanyahu, Barak and Sharon haven't (as far as I know - correct me if I'm wrong) stressed the charter problem anymore since dec 98

It was a campaign issue used by Sharon against Barak, that he wasn't 'holding Arafat to his promises'; anything that helps Sharon become PM is a bad thing in my book.

I agree with you that "not abiding by agreements" is not a good tactic for extracting further agreements. But both parties are equally guilty of this.

Guilty, yes; equally guilty, no. It should be pointed out that the Israelis did in good faith implement the early timetables of the Oslo accords, while Arafat, as I've already demonstrated above, did not.

As for the UN, it is not pragmatic to discuss their resolutions without discussing their [mal]functioning, nor to consider their 'proposals' as pragmatic while ignoring the lack of pragmatism of the institution.
posted by boaz at 8:53 AM on October 14, 2001


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