Tuesday, September 14, 2010

There Went Democracy?

I skimmed the remarks of Special Envoy George Mitchell on Meetings with Middle East Leaders at the meeting today with Israeli, Palestinian, and Egyptian Leaders at Sharm el-Sheik, Egypt and found a difference of definitions.

First, Mitchell repeats the mantra of two states for two peoples (but that is actually three states for two peoples - Israel, Jordan and a "Palestine"):

Today, the parties have begun a serious discussion on core issues. President Abbas and Prime Minister Netanyahu also reiterated their intent to approach these negotiations in good faith and with a seriousness of purpose. They repeated their condemnation of all forms of violence that target innocent civilians and pledged to work together to maintain security. All of us reaffirmed our commitment to reaching a shared goal of a just, lasting, and secure peace. Our common goal remains two states for two peoples.

And he defines their character:

And we are committed to a solution to the conflict that resolves all issues for the state of Israel and a sovereign, independent, and viable state of Palestine living side by side in peace and security.

and, in an answer to a question, he continues to clarify in a manner which, for me, is troubling:

We have said many times that our vision is for a two-state solution that includes a Jewish, democratic state of Israel living side by side in peace and security with a viable, independent, sovereign, and contiguous state of Palestine. But of course, this is one of many sensitive issues that the parties will need to resolve themselves, and that is the point of negotiations. The parties will reach agreement on all major issues.

So, this "Palestine", it does not have to be democratic?

And that "contiguity", does it mean opening the door to Hamas taking over in Judea and Samaria? Does that mean that Israel's territorial integrity is assured versus the Arab demands for ethnic autonomy?

What is the US planning for Israel?

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