Monday, January 27, 2014

Is There A Difference Between "Lines" and "Borders"?

"The United States believes that negotiations should result in two states, with permanent Palestinian borders with Israel, Jordan, and Egypt, and permanent Israeli borders with Palestine," Obama said in the concluding section of his 45-minute address...

"We believe the borders of Israel and Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps, so that secure and recognized borders are established for both states," Obama continued.

The question remains: even if the 1967 lines, or, more correctly, the 1949 Armistice Demarcation Lines (see III, 2), were not intended to possess any "political advantage" (II, 2) and were "dictated exclusively by military consideration" (II, 1), is somehow Obama bestowing on those lines a status they did not have?

Whether or not he does, and whatever the position this current government is taking in the current round of negotiations, I myself am pessimistic on this issue based on the Oslo Accords:

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.

A good case could be made that since the issue of the permanent borders needs to still be negotiated, the territorial aspect of Oslo does not apply since that space is to be preserved only during the interim period.  Theoretically, it could be enlarged or decreased in size.  That is what the language indicates.

The only line that Obama respects, I suspect, is the one which disadvantages Israel.

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