Tuesday, January 10, 2017

The Paris Conference and Its Echo from the Past

Everyone is getting very worried about next week's Paris Conference and the plan they might adopt.

According to a draft, its elements include

both sides to restate their commitment to the two-state solution, and to disavow official voices on their side that reject this solution;

each side to independently demonstrate, through policies and actions, a genuine commitment to the two-state solution and refrain from unilateral steps 

restate the validity of the Arab Peace Initiative 

reaffirm that they will not recognize any changes to the 4 June 1967 lines, including with regard to Jerusalem, other than those agreed by the parties through negotiations; also reaffirm that they will distinguish, in their relevant dealings, between the territory of the State of Israel and the territories occupied since 1967;

welcome the prospect of closer cooperation between the Quartet and Arab League members to further the objectives of this Declaration and enhance, if necessary, existing mechanisms;

Rafael Medoff lists 10 previous "plans" that have been proposed by outsiders.

And I found an old echo of all this from 62 years ago, the Alpha Plan.

An early (evidently first) British version of the plan was drafted by Evelyn Shuckburgh—who was in charge of Middle East policy in the Foreign Office—following the conclusion of the treaty with Egypt at the end of 1954. The purpose was to work out an Arab-Israeli settlement...The main principles of the plan were: close co-operation with the United States; ‘visible concessions’ by Israel (territory and refugees [resettlement in Israel of 75,000 Palestinian refugees]); ‘guarantees of security’ by the major powers; an understanding worked out mainly with Egypt; and the definition of the objective as ‘an overall settlement’, not ‘peace’.

The essential elements included these details:

linking Egypt to Jordan by ceding to them two triangles in the Negev without cutting Israel's link to Eilat; ceding to Jordan some 400 square miles of land owned by villages on the Jordanian side of the border; ceding to Jordan certain problematic areas like Mt. Scopus and the Semakh triangle; ceding to Jordan an equivalent area south and west of Hebron should the Gaza Strip be given to Israel; dividing the demilitarized zones between Israel and its neighbours; the repatriation of a considerable number of refugees, to be agreed upon between Israel and the two Western powers; compensation for the rest, financed with international help; an agreement on the distribution of the Jordan waters as well as on Jerusalem; terminating the economic boycott which was based on a state of war; and Western guarantees for the new frontiers. Economic assistance was planned to increase incentives for the acceptance of the plan.

Anthony Eden's Guildhall speech added the pressure. 

Israel, and Egypt, rejected the plan.

A lesson learned.


1 comment:

Shtrudel said...

Obviously the lesson was NOT learned!...