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A Mideast Peace Plan That Still Could Be

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  • A Mideast Peace Plan That Still Could Be

    on page 1 of 5
    Yet amid this turmoil are opportunities, not the least of which is precisely the chance to end the Israeli occupation and found a Palestinian state. A viable plan exists: it is waiting to be forged from the far-reaching proposals that Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority made to each other in 2008.
    Yet the Israeli-Palestinian talks in 2007 and 2008 provide an invaluable template for a new, Obama-led push for peace. As unlikely as it might sound, now is the time. Obama’s hand in Israel has been strengthened by events in Tunisia, Egypt and Jordan.
    The leaders revealed in detail what was proposed, what was implicitly agreed, what the gaps were and what they suggested was susceptible to compromise.

    Each told me that if new violence breaks out in Palestine, as seems quite likely, historians will look back with a sense of pathos on how narrow and, in some key areas, trivial the gaps were. “We were very close,” Olmert told me, “more than ever in the past, to complete an agreement on principles that would have led to the end of the conflict between us and the Palestinians.”

    page 2
    Abbas further offered Olmert his choice of international forces to patrol the border with Jordan, and he even said that he had consulted the Americans, who agreed to participating in a NATO force as long as it was under American command. Jordan and Egypt, whose borders were implicated, made some conditions of their own: no Jordanian or Egyptian would participate in the force, and it would be based only on Palestine’s side. “The file on security was closed,” Abbas told me. “We do not claim it was an agreement, but the file was finalized.”
    Abbas opened the negotiations over land with a map showing how Israel could annex 1.9 percent of Palestine in return for tracts of land equal in size and quality; Olmert produced a map of 6.3 percent, suggesting that for the percentage of Palestine Israel would annex, it would compensate Palestine with 5.8 percent, plus a 25-mile tunnel that would run under Israel from the South Hebron Hills to Gaza.
    But so much talk of percentages can be misleadingly abstract. There could never have been an exchange of maps had there not been a mutual agreement on the definition of the “occupied territory.”

    page 3

    The really creative ideas were about the disposition of the Old City and holy places — the Islamic sites of the Haram Al-Sharif (or Temple Mount), the Western Wall, the Church of the Holy Sepulcher and so forth, which both sides agreed were indeed part of the “holy basin.” Olmert suggested that it be governed by a kind of custodial committee, made up of five countries: Palestine, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, the U.S. and Israel. (Abbas was under the impression that as many as seven trustees might be involved, including Egypt and the Vatican.)

    page 5
    OLMERT AND ABBAS conveyed the details of what they had achieved to both Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and George Mitchell, the Middle East envoy. Condoleezza Rice, Olmert said, prepared a confidential memo for the incoming administration. He could not understand why Obama “did not adopt these achievements as policy.”
    “There is a danger that the events in Egypt will mislead some to lose hope in peace,” Olmert told me pointedly in an e-mail. “I think the opposite, that there can be another way to challenge the events near us. This is the time to move forward, fast, take my peace initiative with the Palestinians and make a deal. This will be my advice to Prime Minister Netanyahu. Don’t wait. Move, lead and make history. This is the time. There will not be a better one.”
    so much to read in this article, read the whole thing, lots of info there I didn't know
    Last edited by Debbie W.; 02-07-2011, 03:59 PM.

  • #2
    Re: A Mideast Peace Plan That Still Could Be

    Debbie W: I think this is an important article. I cross posted it to the Ezekiel 36 thread and made a few brief comments there. HSB


    • #3
      Re: A Mideast Peace Plan That Still Could Be

      Thanks HSB, I'll have to keep an eye out on that thread.

      Mideast upheaval could be a second chance for Netanyahu

      Netanyahu and his court remained silent in the wake of the Al Jazeera revelations about the details of the Kadima government's negotiations with the Palestinians, and following the publication of excerpts from Ehud Olmert's memoirs, which revealed the map the former premier had presented Abbas. Maybe Netanyahu wants to entrench Olmert's narrative, which portrays Abbas as an evasive rejectionist. But by his silence, the prime minister is intimating that Kadima's offers are not "dangerous and irresponsible concessions" and that if the Palestinians try him, they will find there is something to talk about.


      • #4
        Re: A Mideast Peace Plan That Still Could Be

        From pages 4 and 5, some interesting words

        OLMERT KNEW THAT if he and Abbas — with an American thumb on the scale — produced a deal, he would then be facing something of a hard sell. That is why, he said, he made his comprehensive offer in September. He knew that the annual General Assembly of the United Nations was coming up. He wanted to prepare a world-historical diplomatic drama.

        “My idea was that, before presenting it to our own peoples, we first would go to the U.N. Security Council and get a unanimous vote for support,” Olmert told me. “Then we would ask the General Assembly to support us, and you can imagine that if we both would ask, only Iran or Syria might say no. Then we would go to a joint session of Congress, then to the European Parliament, then a big ceremony on the White House lawn with 25,000 people, with all the leaders of the region where we would initial it.”

        Olmert and Abbas would then return to the region, he said, and invite all the leaders of the world: “No one would be missing, I suppose. The Chinese, the Russians, the Japanese, the Europeans, all the Americans, Canada, Australia — you name it. And they would stand at that point connecting the west side of Jerusalem to the east side and declare their commitment to support the agreement in all its aspects. And then we would go to elections, with the accumulated impact of this process at our backs.”


        • #5
          Re: A Mideast Peace Plan That Still Could Be

          Very interesting Debbie, with tomorrow in mind!