After Amman, Whither the Peace Process?
Barak Ravid has written up (as the Israelis tell it) the direction of the most recent round of talks between the Israelis and Palestinians regarding the two-state solution. This particular round was attended principally by Isaac Molho, envoy for Benjamin Netanyahu, and Saeb Erekat, chief negotiator for the Palestinians. The talks, which took place in Amman under the patronage of King Abdullah II of Jordan and at the behest of the Quartet, ended as with all those that have occurred under Sharon, Olmert, and Netanyahu in collapse and mutual blame. These are the take-out moments for Ravid’s report:
1. The Palestinian position was outlined in the first meeting, and is described by Ravid as “not surprising”:
On the topic of borders, the Palestinians called for a return to 1967 borders with an acceptance of land-swaps of 1.9% of the West Bank. On the topic of security, the Palestinians agreed to a demilitarized state (devoid of heavy weaponry), and the stationing of an international force on the border between Israel and Jordan, with no presence of Israeli soldiers.
2. During the first meeting, the Israelis claim that the Palestinians “immediately demanded a freeze on settlement building and freeing prisoners” and emphasised that “from their point of view, the talks would end on January 26”. Molho was said to have retracted, “We had just begun and you are already threatening to end the talks”. Two further meetings were in fact agreed to.
3. At the second meeting, Head of the Strategic Planning Division in the IDF Planning Directorate, Brigadier-General Assaf Orion was invited “in order to summarize Israel’s position on security arrangements”. The Israelis insist that the Palestinians “were not willing to hear the Israeli general”, and delayed the meeting by an hour-and-a-half.
Mideast Media Roundup: July 1, 2011
- al-Jazeera: Deaths reported as huge protests grip Syria
- Guardian: Clinton demands urgent reforms as Syrian forces kill protesters
- Washington Post: France sent arms to Libyan rebels
- Guardian: Gaddafi’s son claims NATO wants deal with Libya
- Guardian: Muammar Gaddafi threatens European ‘homes, officies, families’
- Haaretz: Greece blocks departure of all Gaza-bound ships
- Jerusalem Post: Noam Shalit: Government hasn’t pressured Hamas in 5 years
- al-Jazeera: Hundreds of thousands rally across Yemen
- Independent: UN blames Hezbollah for Hariri bomb murder
- Jerusalem Post: Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah “less inclined to enter a new conflict with Israel”
- al-Jazeera: Morocco votes on revised constitution
MIDEAST MEDIA ROUNDUP: June 3, 2011
- al-Jazeera: Yemen president ‘alive and well after attack’
- Guardian: Yemen: attack on president keeps observers guessing
- Washington Post: Elite Yemeni families at centre of clashes
- BBC: Yemeni youth protest ‘overshadowed’ by tribal conflict
- New York Times: Chaos in Yemen drives economy to edge of ruin
- Independent: US envoy embarks on mission to halt Yemen sliding into civil war
- al-Jazeera: ‘Dozens killed’ in fresh Syria protests
- Haaretz: IDF sources: Assad regime will eventually succumb to Syria protests
- New York Times: Syria continues attacks on protesters while calling for dialogue
- al-Jazeera: NATO jets target Libyan capital
- Guardian: Bodies of 150 African refugees found off Tunisian coast
- CNN: Qatari expulsion of alleged Libyan rape victim upsets US
- Haaretz: Palestinians cancel Naksa Day march to Israel-Lebanon border (AP)
- Haaretz: French peace plan would require Palestinian recognition of Jewish state
- Guardian: Israel government ‘reckless and irresponsible’ says ex-Mossad chief
- al-Jazeera: Bahrain police ‘suppress protest’
- BBC: FIA approves return of Bahrain Grand Prix to Formula One calendar
- Guardian: Bahrain grand prix decision not about money, says Bernie Ecclestone
- Washington Post: At least 17 killed when bomb levels mosque in Tikrit
- New York Times: Iraq arrests seen as effort to squelch more protests
- Haaretz: Jordan protesters step up calls for PM to resign (AP)
ronbarak asked: Re "Netanyahu's Bizarre Response to Obama's Palestinian Proposal" The adjustmets to the 1967 borders that would make Israel defence feasible is having the Eastern Israeli border on the West bank of the Jordan river, instead of 15 KM from Netanya. This means that the proposed Palesinian state would not have a border with the Hashemite kingdom of Jordan, and thus could not be armed directly from Iran, Iraq or Syria.
My apologies, but I am not sure as to what you are proposing exactly, but would like to hear more about this idea. To have the eastern Israeli border on the west bank of the Jordan river at the point of Netanya would mean to wipe the Palestinian state off the map, and I’m not sure that is what you intended to say.
You may be referring to this idea proposed by Netanyahu of the need for an Israeli army division to patrol and maintain the border between the West Bank (Palestine) and Jordan (in order to prevent said border turning into the sorry condition of the perimeter between Egypt and Gaza (though I don’t believe this would happen)).
I do not believe this would be an acceptable solution for two reasons. First of all, it would mean a maintain by proxy of the occupation of the West Bank by Israeli forces, which we already recognise to be unsustainable. Second, having the IDF control access to and from the new Palestinian state would undermine its sovereignty and independence.
The notion of a force on the Jordanian/Palestinian/Israeli border is not without merit. However, it would need to be an independent international force (such as the UN, or the EU, or the Quartet or whatever) or a multinational Israeli/Arab unit made up of Jordanians, Egyptians, Palestinians and Israelis. The IDF on the Jordan river is not the answer.
THE EGYPT FILES
“Hosni Mubarak announced tonight that he had sacked the government, except himself, and will appoint another. (I am sure, however, that he would prefer to follow the advice of Brecht, and dissolve the people instead.) This moment will hopefully be the tipping point, past which there can be no return. Mubarak must and will go, and I support the Egyptian protest movement wholeheartedly in their endeavours.”
“I cannot help but draw historical parallels to the fall of the Berlin Wall. …The main difference though between the Velvet Revolutions of Eastern Europe, and today’s demonstrations in the Arab world, is both the speed of development and the use of violence. In East Germany, a month elapsed between their cabinet reshuffle and the government’s demise. In Egypt, we seem to be talking about days.”
“Reports from Al Jazeera and CNN state that Mubarak may be welcome to a stay in exile at the Egyptian embassy in Tel Aviv, after being rejected by the Saudis. Such a move would be suicidal for the Israelis: not only would it hand the Islamist movement ready-made propaganda material, but it would undermine relations with any future democratic Egyptian government.”
“Statements of internal solidarity shall do much to stabilise conditions on the ground, creating a sense that out of this chaos, order shall be returned. More importantly perhaps, the Muslim Brotherhood’s demonstration of support for the Nobel Laureate ElBaradei should do much to provide reassurance to the West, and to Israel in particular, that this democratic revolution will not be hijacked by Islamic fundamentalists, as was the case in Iran after the Shah’s deposition.”
“Media has been quick to declare the similarity between Egypt 2011 and Iran in 1979: a populist uprising throwing off the shackles of oppression, disposing and deporting their leader in the process. But, what if the Egyptian Revolt turn into not the Iranian Revolution of 1979, but the aborted Green Revolution of 2009? …Then, as now, the United States failed to throw the full might of its political strength behind the people.”
“A new government is inevitable: it would do Israel the world of good to stop enabling Mubarak now. There was little need, for example, for the Netanyahu administration to allow Egypt to move troops into the Sinai – a demilitarised zone since 1979. …Israel needs to embody the principles the State was founded on: of a democratic homeland for a disenfranchised and subjugated people. This would require moving away from Mubarak. Netanyahu: Make it so.”
“If totalitarianism is a cliché, then Bashir al-Assad comes straight out of central casting. His black-mustachio’ed face does indeed gaze down at you from every street corner. The al-Assad’s have done nothing for the people of Syria, save keeping the state insular, away from the world’s glare. …Opposition has been, up until this moment, non-existent. …Now, a tiny lotus flower grows in the mud.”
“And the world falls into place. …Ynet News today reports a change in policy, since Benjamin Netanyahu now argues that Israel will “encourage the promotion of values of freedom and democracy in the Middle East.” This comes with a necessary caveat: a warning with regard to the dangers of Islamism. …Netanyahu did ‘make it so’.”
“Everybody, particular Media, has been guilty over the past few days of being caught up in the glorious mania of mass revolt - what some have termed ‘revolution porn’. On reflection, it would perhaps be best of Egypt, for Israel and for the region as a whole, if the move from autocracy to democracy were handled with grace.”
All Change, Please: Israel/Jordan (Part 2)
And the world falls into place. Yesterday, I wrote that, since a new government in Egypt is inevitable, it would do Israel a world of good to stop enabling Hosni Mubarak. “Israel needs to embody the principles the State was founded on: of a democratic homeland for a disenfranchised and subjugated people. This would require moving away from Mubarak. Netanyahu: Make it so.”
Ynet News today reports a change in policy, since Benjamin Netanyahu now argues that Israel will “encourage the promotion of values of freedom and democracy in the Middle East.” This comes with a necessary caveat: a warning with regard to the dangers of Islamism. But critically this is the first time the Israeli government has publically distanced itself from Mubarak. Netanyahu did ‘make it so’.
On Saturday, in an extensive commentary on Jordan, I proposed that the best situation for Jordan would be “a grand transfer of power from King Abdullah and his puppet parliament to the citizenry.” This would be a transition to democracy under the hand of monarchy, as opposed to a full-scale, bloody revolution: “The Hashemites have been good friends to the West, and it would not be in our best interest to see them removed from the scene altogether.”
And behold: “King Abdullah II of Jordan sacked his government on Tuesday as he sought to appease street protests and avoid his country becoming the next Egypt or Tunisia.” The Hashemites are wise to heed the demand of the Arab street, and hopefully the sacking of Samir Rifai and “a pledge to embark on an immediate programme of democratic reform” will be more than enough to keep Jordan a stable nation with a Western face.