Friday, February 26, 2016

Ross & Makovsky's Leap-of-Disbelief

Two wise men, Dennis Ross and David Makovsky, in the Washington Post:

But, of course, Israel would have to adopt a policy on settlements that credibly ended building outside of the blocs. In addition to Israel stating publicly that it would no longer build beyond the security barrier, we would need several private understandings to be able to fulfill our side of the bargain: First, Israel would not add construction in places on the edge of the security barrier, such as Ariel, which has 20,000 settlers and is likely to be a difficult issue in final negotiations. Second, Israel would not build in Arab neighborhoods in East Jerusalem. Third, Israel would accept the principle of territorial exchanges or swaps.

They write that in order 

to preserve the possibility of a two-state outcome, particularly with the Palestinians entering a period of uncertain succession.

Of course, if uncertainty is in the succession, why should Israel take a risk now that would place itself in an awkward, no, a very threatening security situation?  Would an acceptance of territorial withdrawal lessen Hamas' influence and prohibit support for its terror campaign, or would, gioven the Gaza precedent, increase the possibility and probability of terror?

Are these gentlemen really wise or seeking to fulfill their own outlooks and forcing them on a reality that cannot at all assure not only Israel's existence but the stability of the region?

They do make a correct point:

The administration’s inability to differentiate between settlement activity within and outside of those blocs has actually bolstered the Israeli right, because most Israelis draw a distinction between the two. The Obama approach is seen as dismissing Israeli needs.

And they pursue it

A new U.S. approach would acknowledge that building within the blocs does not change the contours of the “peace map.” While not formally endorsing settlement activity, it would nonetheless seek to channel it into areas that will likely be part of Israel in any two-state outcome. In 2008, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas implicitly acknowledged the principle of settlement blocs remaining part of Israel, offering 1.9 percent of this territory during negotiations in return for land inside Israel.

Abbas is worthless and unsupported and won't be around soon.  And an offer of 1.9%?

Oh, they know that:

That does not mean that Abbas would embrace a U.S. approach that drew a distinction between settlement-building inside and outside the blocs.

And what is their next leap-of-disbelief?

The Obama administration could offer several things that would matter to Netanyahu.First, the president could promise to veto any resolution on settlements (or perceived to be anti-Israeli) at the U.N. Security Council. Second, he could agree not to present to the council a U.S. resolution on parameters for resolving the conflict. Third, he could commit to pressing our European and Arab partners to denounce Palestinian efforts against normalizing Israeli­-Palestinian contacts, emphasizing that the Palestinian effort to de­legitimize Israel is inconsistent with a two-state outcome. 

"Could"?  Obama could, would do that?

Are they serious?

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