Every prez since Carter has had a ‘plan’ for the cessation of hostilities in the Middle East….and so far ALL have been about as successful as me looking like Brad Pitt…..but that has not stopped them from naming some plan or another…I remember the biggest farce was the “Road To Peace”….that ‘road’ was a cul-de-sac……went absolutely NOWHERE just like so many other plans from our not so distant past……
I bring all this up because….guess what?……(wait for it)…….Kerry has a…..you guessed it….a plan.
Here is how it will deal with some of the most contentious issues. The agreement would permit between 75 and 80 percent of Israeli settlers in the West Bank through land swaps. What settlements would remain, and what Israel would cede was not discussed in the briefings, but it’s likely that large settlements like Maale Adumim, where the controversial Soda Stream is produced, will become part of Israel under the agreement.
A security zone would be established along the Jordan River. That’s different from a security zone inside the Jordan Valley. A security zone along the river could be a mile or two wide, and would consist of electrified fences and unmanned aerial vehicles of some kind. The Israel Defense Force would be part of the armed forces policing this zone, but only for a specified time. Abbas has mentioned three years. The Israelis have talked about ten years.
Palestinian refugees would receive some kind of compensation, but so would Jewish refugees who fled, and in many cases were forced to flee, places like Iraq Syria, and Egypt after 1947. (Estimates are that about 500,000 of these refugees settled in Israel between 1947 and 1972.) That provision, one of the Jewish leaders commented, was meant as a “sweetener” to the Israelis. The Palestinians would recognize Israel as the nation of the Jewish people, and the Israelis would recognize Palestine as the nation of the Palestinian people. But one critical issue was left vague and unresolved. The framework will not propose a way of dealing with the future of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and Palestine. “That’s the biggie,” one person involved in the calls commented.
Actually, from my point of view the security zone sounds good……the compensation thing sounds good but I see this being a problem…a problem that could not be insurmountable…just difficult….and then there is the one sticking point…settlements. This will most likely be the killing field on which this agreement would die……..for one there seems to be NO way to get Israel to stop building these on Palestinian land…..and two, the settlers……most of whom would kill every Palestinian they encountered….
And then there is the Negev, the desert in southern Israel……I have often written that if you want settlers let them go there to build…..but then there is a section in the Kerry plan on this spot……
The “Kerry Plan” on a framework for Israel-Palestinian peace continues to morph in some surprising directions, with the latest idea from the US reportedly to compensate Palestine for annexed West Bank settlements with parts of the Negev.
The Negev, the mostly desert southern half of Israel, includes a lot of empty territory, and a lot of the development in the region has centered around it being a dumping ground for minorities in Israel.
The plan is to offer part of the Negev, presumably bordering the Gaza Strip, and let the Palestinians use that as a place for Palestinian refugees abroad to return in return for giving up the claim of a right of return to Israel.
What can I say…..this plan has more realistic sections than most of the plans from the past……as with all negotiations there will be stumbling blocks but a good plan….as good if not a bit better than most……it will be an interesting negotiation…….
And then there is a statement made by the Israeli PM……..a statement he made in front of some of his most ardent supporters…the extreme right wing…..Zionists if you will……
Speaking to members of the Likud-Beytenu Knesset faction, Netanyahu said that PA chief Mahmoud Abbas “knows full well” that without such recognition there could be no agreement.
Such recognition would be a major price for the PA to pay, and Netanyahu does not believe the PA is willing to pay it.
“If they do not make this concession there cannot be an agreement,” Netanyahu said, adding that he did not believe the PA would be willing to make it.
Israel, Netanyahu said, would not surrender on this key demand, because otherwise there would be no guarantee that the PA would stop making more demands for territorial concessions, even after the agreement.
As much as I hate to agree with this person…..he may be right…..I realize that it is a sticky point of contention but without recognition Israel will only bog the negotiations down to a halt……
Here is a thought of mine…maybe if they could find a way to curb the killing of so many civilians there might be a chance for a statement in the near future that they would like…..just my thought on that….
I will be watching.