Monday, May 23, 2011

"Contiguity"? No, "Integrity" - From Oslo to Obama

A good many good people are disturbed about President Obama's use of "contiguity".
Here on Thursday:

The Palestinian people must have the right to govern themselves, and reach their potential, in a sovereign and contiguous state.

And again at AIPAC:

The borders of Israel and Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps -- (applause) -- so that secure and recognized borders are established for both states. The Palestinian people must have the right to govern themselves, and reach their potential, in a sovereign and contiguous state...

There was this:

"The president didn't say that Israel has to go back to the '67 lines. He said with agreed swaps," Mitchell told Amanpour in the interview.  "Swaps means an exchange of land intended to accommodate major Israeli population centers to be incorporated into Israel and Israel's security needs. Agreed means through negotiations. Both parties must agree...That's not going to be a border unless Israel agrees to it and we know they won't agree unless their security needs are satisfied, as it should be," Mitchell said of the 1967 borders.

And someone thought out loud:

242 says the parties will negotiate borders (P's have replaced Jordan as a party). This was always US position. '1967 lines plus swaps' implies a presumption that anything east of the lines is 'Palestinian' by default, because Israel has to compensate them for anything that it keeps. That's a significant shift.

'Contiguity' of Palestine is new. Bush called for 'contiguity' only of the W. Bank.

Jackson Diehl of the Washington Post explained:

The basic question is this: By saying that a division of territory between Israel and Palestine should be “based on” the “1967 lines” between Israel and the West Bank, with agreed “swaps” of land, did Obama move beyond the previous U.S. position on the subject?

The short, technical answer to this question is: no. The longer, political response is that by stating the principle, Obama gave a boost to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who has tried to make Israeli acceptance of it a condition for peace talks, and a slap to Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, who has resisted it.

That Obama would do this on the eve of Netanyahu’s arrival in Washington for a White House meeting — and apparently without warning the Israeli leader — is a gaffe that has understandably angered Netanyahu and many of his U.S. supporters... Apparently at the last minute, Obama chose to include the 1967-lines idea in his speech. The result has been the draining of attention from the speech’s central discussion of Arab democracy, a cheap talking point for GOP opponents — and yet another pointless quarrel with Bibi Netanyahu

But they have forgotten that we all knew, or should know, - the language of the Oslo Accords on "integrity":-


Jurisdiction of the Council will cover West Bank and Gaza Strip territory, except for issues that will be negotiated in the permanent status negotiations. The two sides view the West Bank and the Gaza Strip as a single territorial unit, whose integrity will be preserved during the interim period.

That's one reason that agreement was so deadly - it let the Pals. presume they had all the ground they wanted from the beginning. Thank you Rabin, Perers, Beilin, et al.


No comments: