Israel Palestine Infos
January 1, 2011
“I HAVE three answers,” the Jew told the rabbi when his neighbor sued him for not returning a borrowed jar.
“First, I never borrowed a jar from him. Second, the jar was broken. Third, I returned it to him long ago.”
Avigdor Lieberman’s Peace Plan shows a similar kind of logic.
PEACE PLAN? Lieberman? Oh yes. Contrary to everything you thought, Lieberman wants peace, indeed is yearning for peace. So much so that he has spent days and nights working out an entire Peace Plan of his own.
This week he summoned
But first of all,
Lieberman settled accounts with the Turks. They demand an apology from
“There is no limit to their Chutzpah,” Lieberman thundered. Everybody knows that the Turks themselves attacked our soldiers who abseiled innocently from their helicopters and were compelled to shoot in self-defense.
Lieberman knew, of
course, that Netanyahu was negotiating with the Turks in order to put an end to
the conflict. The Minister of Defense, Ehud Barak, and the army chiefs were
putting pressure on him to reestablish good relations with
Lieberman has put an end to this appeasement. Netanyahu cannot afford to look like a wimp next to his macho Foreign Minister. So he declared that he would never ever apologize.
For Lieberman, that was a major victory. Netanyahu capitulated. Barak was humiliated. The Turks remain enemies. What more can a Foreign Minister hope for?
BUT LIEBERMAN does not rest on his laurels for a moment. At the same meeting with the select 170 he laid out his great plan, Plan B.
Just a moment. If this is Plan B, what is Plan A?
Netanyahu, of course, has no peace plan. His declared position is that the Palestinians must return to direct negotiations without prior conditions, but only after they officially recognize Israel as “the state of the Jewish people” (or, in another version, as a “Jewish and democratic state”.) It is clear that the Palestinians cannot be expected to agree to any such prior condition.
So what “Plan A” does
Lieberman allude to? Not to Netanyahu’s, but to Barack Obama’s. The American
president speaks about two states with the border between them based on the 1967
lines and a Palestinian capital in
On no account, says Lieberman. And, like the Jew who was sued for the jar, he also has his three reasons:
First, we have no partner for peace.
Second, the Israeli government cannot make peace.
Third, peace is no good for us.
WE HAVE no partner for
peace, because the Palestinians don’t want peace. Lieberman, the immigrant from
Moldavia, knows the Palestinians much better than they know themselves.
Therefore he states categorically: “Even if we offer the Palestinians Tel Aviv
and a withdrawal to the 1947 borders, they will find a reason not to sign a
peace treaty.” (The 1947 borders, fixed by the United Nations, gave
True, this matter could
be settled easily:
Lieberman, so it seems, did not overlook such a possibility, and so he has prepared an alternative argument: we cannot negotiate with the Palestinians because they have no legitimate leadership.
Why not legitimate? Here
Lieberman is revealed as the principled democrat he is. Mahmoud Abbas’ term of
office has expired. The Palestinian Authority has held no new elections. Can one
Clearly, that is
True, the great majority of the Palestinian people agree that Abbas should conduct the negotiations. Even Hamas recently declared (not for the first time) that if Abbas reaches a peace agreement, and if this is confirmed by the Palestinian people in a referendum, Hamas would accept it, even though this would be contrary to its principles.
But this does not interest Lieberman. He will not compromise himself by negotiating with an administration whose democratic credentials are in doubt.
THIS IS NOT so important,
because, according to
Quite simply, “there are sharp differences of opinion within the coalition”. As he puts it: “I don’t think that it is possible to achieve a common denominator between Eli Yishai and Ehud Barak, or between me and Dan Meridor, or even in Likud between Benny Begin and Michael Eitan (Meridor, Begin and Eitan are all ministers without portfolio)…In the present political circumstances, it is impossible for us to present a plan for a permanent settlement, because the coalition would simply not survive.”
For Lieberman, as for Netanyahu, the continued existence of the present coalition is clearly more important than reaching a “permanent settlement”. True, one could easily set up an alternative coalition, based on Likud, Kadima and Labor, but for Lieberman – and, so it seems, for Netanyahu, too – this possibility is not worth considering.
THE CONCLUSION, according to Lieberman: peace is not possible, not now, not for the coming decades.
But, fortunately, he has an alternative that is much better than a final peace agreement.
It is called “Long-Term Interim Agreement”.
This week, Lieberman leaked its basics: “A significant increase in cooperation with the Palestinian Authority in the areas of security and the economy…The aim of the Plan is to stabilize even more the situation in the West Bank and increase the security cooperation with the Palestinian Authority in order to give the Palestinians more security responsibilities for what’s happening on the ground.”
So, it is possible after
all to cooperate with the illegitimate regime of Mahmoud Abbas, if he continues
to collaborate with the
Meaning: in payment for
the services of the Palestinian Authority for
The Plan also fixes
targets: the Palestinian GNP pro capita must reach about 20 thousand
dollars (more than ten times its present level). “When the economic situation
within the Palestinian Authority is similar to that in
In other words: the
occupation will continue until one of the following happens: either the
Palestinian standard of living will reach that of
IS THIS the plan of Lieberman only, or of Netanyahu, too?
When asked about the speech of his Foreign Minister, Netanyahu gave an evasive answer. Any minister has the right to say whatever he wants, he said, but only the government’s official policy counts.
Well, first of all, the Foreign Minister is not just “any minister”. The political musings of the deputy Minister of Transportation (if any) may be unimportant, but the Foreign Minister is the international spokesman of the state, the representative of the government abroad.
But Netanyahu continued that if negotiations are resumed and these come up against a brick wall, it is very possible that there will be no choice but to conclude an interim agreement.
In practice, it is
Netanyahu himself who is holding up the negotiations, because he refuses to
freeze the settlements and he demands that the Palestinians recognize
So what remains? Interim forever!