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The best solution I've heard so far
February 26, 2002 9:30 AM   Subscribe

The best solution I've heard so far to end the mess in Israel. A Saudi Prince suggests plan that trades occupied land in return for the Arab world recognizing the Israeli state. Is it a viable plan? Will Barak have the courage to give it a shot? Could the Arab nations ever recognize a Jewish state? Could Palestine and Israel coexist peacefully next to each other?
posted by aacheson (28 comments total)

 
In answer to your questions: No, no, no and no.
posted by wfrgms at 9:32 AM on February 26, 2002


Barak may have had the courage, but he ain't PM no more. Sharon will give up nothing. He thinks he's winning.
posted by jpoulos at 9:43 AM on February 26, 2002


theoretically its all possible. Atleast the vibe is this. The Israelis thought this would just pass away but all of a sudden they have had to take notice and comment on this.

I think this is the opening stance for a new dialogue. It is very diplomatic in nature. Thats how new dialogues start.

Ofcourse the Israelis will have problems with going back to the original borders, and agreeing with the return of the refugee issue. As you will notice, the Prince's plan does not include the Jerusalem and Refugee issue. The Saudis say they have left it between Israel and Palestinians to handle.

On the other hand, the militant part of the arab world, will surely want to push harder. A peace deal harms their cause.

The situation is so tense, some thing has to give. Either peace or an all out war.

Hopefully peace. finally.
posted by adnanbwp at 9:43 AM on February 26, 2002


1) Not likely
2) No (you could argue that it's stupid, not courageous)
3) Sure. Would that recognition mean anything? Most likely not.
4) Not as long as it is the stated goal of "palestine" to destroy Isreal.

[Either peace or an all out war. ]

Palestine (and the rest of the Arab world) had better hope it isn't an "all out war" because Isreal has the upper hand.
posted by revbrian at 9:49 AM on February 26, 2002


It's important to remember that strategically, the Palestinians are not a real threat to Israeli existence. A larger threat is the fact that they are a tiny drop in a vast Arab and Middle East sea, including enemies such as Iran, Syria, and Iraq.

Israel's economy would be well served by peace with the Arab nations, and diplomatic relations make the threat of war far more distant, despite the rhetoric on both sides. Israel's prime concern is security, and in the long-run that is exactly what this plan delivers-- it neutralizes Palestinian terrorists as they will have a state, and it provides long-term security with Israel's many neighbors.

What is cool about this plan is that it basically tells both sides to put up or shut up. If Israel is serious about being a peaceful part of the middle east, giving up Palestine is nothing. If the Arabs are sincere that their gripes with Israel are about their treatment of the Palestinians, then they will be 100% mollified by the plan. A plan like this brings the war-mongers and racists on both sides into sharp relief.
posted by cell divide at 9:52 AM on February 26, 2002


cell divide, I like your take on this better than mine. Hope you're right.
posted by sheauga at 9:59 AM on February 26, 2002


Some follow-up reporting pieces on this idea are here and here. I couldn't find a link to Friedman's original NYTimes piece, but it is also republished here.
posted by mattpfeff at 9:59 AM on February 26, 2002


4) Not as long as it is the stated goal of "palestine" to destroy Isreal.

The 'stated goal,'? Why take the words of militants and extremists as representative? Only those who do not want to make peace spout this claim, which is rejected by the majority of Palestinians and their leadership. Of course there will always be rhetoric like this, I mean for God's sake these people were pushed off their land only 50 years ago! You hear the same things on the Israeli side about "eretz Israel," which could be put into terms "the stated Goal of Eretz Israel is to destroy Palestine"

Palestine (and the rest of the Arab world) had better hope it isn't an "all out war" because Isreal has the upper hand.

In theory, yes, but the only similar conflict has been the Israeli invasion of Lebanon, where they were forced to pull out after years of guerilla conflict.

Even in an "all out war," unless Israel engineers the second-largest genocide of all time, the Palestinians will still be living in Palestine, and Israel will be stuck with exactly the same problem.
posted by cell divide at 10:01 AM on February 26, 2002


[Why take the words of militants and extremists as representative? ]

It's not like they have a representative democracy and we can listen to their duly elected leaders is it? If we learned anything from 9/11 it is that we should pay attention to the noisemakers.

[It's important to remember that strategically, the Palestinians are not a real threat to Israeli existence. ]

Perhaps not it's very existence. Certainly though blowing up a couple every few days affects the quality of life, eh?
posted by revbrian at 10:06 AM on February 26, 2002


A problem with this plan: it is not new at all and had been earlier rejected. What is new and interesting: first time Saudi Arabia willing to recognize the right of Israel to exist.
Unsolved prlems noted: Right of Return and status of Jerusalem.
The 'entire Arab League ought to vote unaimpously in favor of reocngizing the State of Israel, else what does it matter if Syria continues to occupy Lebanon and alolow Iran financed Hizbollah to use terror on Gaza ? And solving Palestine/Israeli problem still leaves issue of Gaza and Syrian.
Overall: it is a move and the U.S. ought ot move swiftly to try to make it work. Bujt Israel will say (and rightfull) they will not come to terms while under threats by continuing terror attacks...this is blackmail. So both sides must show good will to work it out.
posted by Postroad at 10:10 AM on February 26, 2002


Whoops, I meant "Will Sharon have the courage.." not Barak. My mistake.
Personally, I don't think that Sharon will have the courage. He is too bellicose and extremist to accept anything that is offered. He is also ham-strung by the orthodox and violent Jewish extremists. I think that the Arab world is more likely to accept such an agreement (as well as Arafat) than Sharon and his government are.
I hope it leads to something good. That whole area gives me the willies and something has to be done. We have no cred there, so it has to come from someone who is respected, and Saudi Arabia is pretty well respected in the Arab world.
posted by aacheson at 10:27 AM on February 26, 2002


There's a contingent within the israeli military that's been pushing for abandoning Palestine and pulling back to the "green line". Argument is basically that it's too expensive and dangerous to continue treating it as an occupied territory, and that if it were ever to become a real part of Israel, the jews would no longer be the democratic majority (short of forced deportation or genocide.) A no-win situation, in other words.

Unfortunately, in the current terms of the debate, that would be "giving in to terrorism," and therefore unthinkable. Sharon is emphatically not a supporter of this idea, and those who are are apparently being dismissed from their posts (if this very one-sided article can be trusted.)

It would be marvelous if he were; he might use this gesture by the Saudis as political cover... but there are always a lot of would-be's and if's when it comes to israeli politics.
posted by ook at 10:59 AM on February 26, 2002


Speaking of which:
Cabinet secretary Gideon Sa'ar today... said Israel's positive reactions to the plan do "not mean that we agree to the demand for a return to the 1967 borders. It's clear that we won't agree to this," he told Army Radio.
posted by ook at 11:12 AM on February 26, 2002


The issue is, and has always been, East Jerusalem,which will NEVER be relinquished and defensible borders from land in the West Bank. Nothing has changed with this proposal; it's just that the media don't have any other story at the moment.
posted by ParisParamus at 11:49 AM on February 26, 2002


The other problem is that Israel needs a new Palestinian State to be unmilitarized, which, well...
posted by ParisParamus at 11:50 AM on February 26, 2002


The interview with Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud in Time magazine is pretty interesting.
posted by revbrian at 12:53 PM on February 26, 2002


We're sending youse guys two new peace envoys -- Mr. Rodney King & Mr. Fred Rogers! Y'all deserve it. ;)
posted by sheauga at 1:04 PM on February 26, 2002


Darned, too late! The American people have lost patience with this endless bickering, and are demanding that all communications in a certain part of the world be jammed with 24/7 broadcasts of "Barney the Dinosaur," dubbed in the local languages.

Good luck.
posted by sheauga at 1:12 PM on February 26, 2002


ParisParamus, why on earth would Palestine need to be unmilitarized??? What nation in its' right mind would be like that-especially in the Middle East? Every nation needs its' own army to protect itself. It's unreasonable to even request it. If I had a country like Israel next door, I wouldn't agree to be without a military. Just as one wouldn't expect Israel to exist without a military with Palestine next door.

That kind of unreasonable request is exactly why the peace process continues to fail. It's exactly the kind of thing that Sharon is going to demand happen, knowing full well that no one will ever agree to it. So he looks like he wants peace, but in reality, he doesn't.
posted by aacheson at 2:00 PM on February 26, 2002


Aacheson, it's actually a point of agreement between Israel and Palestine that a Palestinian state will not be a militarized one. There would be small arms and other minor weapons, but nothing more. This was agreed upon in principal at both the Taba and Oslo talks.
posted by cell divide at 2:31 PM on February 26, 2002


My proposal: Evacuate everyone -- Jews, Muslims, Christians, etc -- from the "Holy Land." Give the land to Disney and turn it loose to do it's magic and turn it into the "Holy Land" Theme Park. Charge admission. Everyone gets to visit their favorite holy site/shrine/temple/mosque/whatever for a nominal fee. Rides, games, long lines, etc, just like other theme parks. A portion of the profits would be used to fund new "homelands" for the displaced.

Hey -- don't I get points for original thinking? I don't see any breakthoughs in the last 50+ years coming out of professional politicians & statesmen.
posted by davidmsc at 3:31 PM on February 26, 2002


revbrian and cell divide: You two need to understand the stated goal of Palestine IS the destruction of Israel. It's not extremism, it's in The Palestinian National Charter: Resolutions of the Palestine National Council July 1-17, 1968.

Of particular interest are:
Articles 15, 22, 26, and 29.
posted by jacobw at 6:20 PM on February 26, 2002


The Palestinian National Charter is extreme. In regards to cell divide, though, that was the Palestinian leadership speaking in that charter. I doubt they're representative of the majority of Palestinians, but I believe the document stands as in that link, without changes to this day...if they wanted peace so bad, why wouldn't they eliminate this from the charter like Israel was originally asking?
posted by jacobw at 6:24 PM on February 26, 2002


revbrian and cell divide: You two need to understand the stated goal of Palestine IS the destruction of Israel. It's not extremism, it's in The Palestinian National Charter: Resolutions of the Palestine National Council July 1-17, 1968.

The key part of this is the year. 1968. 20 years after the Palestinians were forced off their land, 1 year after the '67 war, and 20 years before the start of the peace process.

The Olso agreements and what led up to them are what formed the basis for the current national Palestinian leadership and its stated goals which are very explicit: a two-state solution alongside Israel inside the borders of 1967, in accordance with UN resolution 242. The current Palestine National Charter was changed after Oslo and reflects this.
posted by cell divide at 6:57 PM on February 26, 2002


jacobw,

My bad, you were right. While the amendments have been approved by the leadership, they have never been voted on (at least that's what I found from some research).

My apologies, I last studied intently the inner workings of the Middle East Peace Process right after Oslo, and at that time the word was that the charter had been changed. Sadly, it has not.
posted by cell divide at 7:11 PM on February 26, 2002


Actually cell divide and jacobw, it's even more complicated than that. Here's another piece of the puzzle. What really happened was that on December 14, 1998, with President Clinton in attendance, the PLO National Congress, minus some hard-liners, did indeed vote to revoke the sections in question. The only catch is that they have never subsquently released a new version of their charter with the sections removed or even with the amendments explicitly added, which explains why any copy of the PLO charter you look at will still contain the disputed passages. Some saying about trying to have your cake and eat it too springs to mind.
posted by boaz at 8:27 PM on February 26, 2002


Nice try, cell divide. Now let's start over again.

The Saudis have made a gesture to indicate that some sort of peaceful coexistence may be possible. Can the Israelis come up with their own graceful gestures to confirm that they also believe some sort of peaceful coexistence may be possible? Not a commitment, not a firm plan, but just a few simple gestures of acknowledgment, with an ongoing expression of sincere wishes for better days to come? This would be a noble response in a difficult situation.
posted by sheauga at 9:24 PM on February 26, 2002


PS: This "plan" is simply a prelude to eliminating Israel. It will go NOWHERE. Thankfully.
posted by ParisParamus at 11:25 AM on February 27, 2002


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