The Barak, Meretz, Dershowitz, And Morris Plans For Israeli-Palestinian Peace


UPDATE 9 am Israel time Thursday:

There is an unconfirmed report of a stabbing early this morning around 2 am at the Jaffa Gate entrance into the Old City of Jerusalem. At 11:53 pm last night in the Lachish region of southern Israel, there were sirens warning of incoming rockets. Palestinian terrorists threw 7 Molotov cocktails at IDF troops and Border Guards overnight at Har Gilo and Shuafat.

TODAY’S BLOG:

The confluence of possible elections in Israel in January or February, the opening of the U.N. General Assembly, and the impending bankruptcy of the PLO/PA has produced an outpouring of  four “new” peace plans for Israel and the Palestinians in recent weeks: the Barak plan, the Meretz Plan, the Dershowitz Formula, and the Benny Morris Plan.

Your humble servant, with your indulgence, would like to briefly outline and evaluate each of these.

Plan 1: The Barak Plan.

Suddenly worried that upcoming Israeli elections may leave his Independence Party without a seat in the Knesset, Ehud Barak has begun the process of distinguishing himself from the “crowd”. This week,  Barak trotted out his old plan from 2000 that Yasser Arafat and the Palestinians dramatically rejected:

*a border based on the “pre-1967 lines” with land swaps for large “settlement blocs” and “neighborhoods” in Jerusalem.

*the “holy area” of Jerusalem to be under governance of the Palestinians, international bodies, and Israel.

*security arrangements including a permanent Israeli military presence along the Jordan River to help monitor the border and the “demilitarized” Palestinian state.

*settlement of all Palestinian refugees in the new Palestinian state.

*recognition of Israel as a “Jewish” country and Palestine as the nation of the “Palestinian Arabs”.

*the unilateral forced withdrawal of at least 20% “settlers” from Judea and Samaria who live in “outlying areas” of Area C and/or any settler remaining in Palestinian territory would have the option to be compensated for leaving or could remain in Palestine for 5 years.

Evaluation:

As already noted, the Palestinians rejected the Barak plan twelve years ago–and an even more generous Olmert plan five years ago. No settlement of Palestinian refugees in Israel? A consortium governing Jerusalem? A demilitarized Palestinian state? 80% of all Jews (480,000) remaining in Judea and Samaria?  These are all non-starters for the Palestinians.

Virtually every Israeli this week has also quickly rejected the Barak plan outright–the left for not giving the Palestinians enough, the right because of the utterly failed formula of unilateral Israeli withdrawals, and abandonment of Jerusalem. Think back to Barak’s unilateral withdrawal of Israeli troops from southern Lebanon in 2000 that led to the Hezbollah disaster on Israel’s northern border and to Sharon’s unilateral withdrawal from Gaza (also urged by Barak) that led to the Hamas disaster on Israel’s southern border. What is more, the forced expulsion of  20% of Jews means that 120,000 Jews would have to be removed by the Israeli Army.

Plan 2: The Meretz Plan

Not wanting to be outflanked by Barak on the left, Meretz leader Zehava Gal-On quickly came up with her own peace plan several days ago:

*Israel to agree to a “state of Palestine” at the United Nations and be the first country to recognize it.

*The “occupation” to end by Israel returning to “pre-1967 lines” with 1:1 land swaps.

*Jerusalem to be divided according to Bill Clinton’s plan: Jewish neighborhoods to Israel, Palestinian neighborhoods to Palestine, and “special status” for the “Holy Basin of Jerusalem.”

*Israel to immediately freeze all “settlement activity”.

*Israel to adopt the main points of the Arab (Saudi) Peace Initiative.

*Israel to return the Golan Heights to Syria.

Evaluation:

The Meretz Plan can be summarized in one sentence: Give everything to the Palestinians that they want, and expect nothing in return. The dual lunacies of adopting the Saudi plan which calls for the return of Palestinian refugees to Israel and returning the Golan Heights to Syria would mark the end of Israel. Hence the reason Meretz and the Israeli “left” have disappeared into nonexistence.

Plan 3: The Dershowitz Formula

The Dershowitz plan, first posed back in June in a Wall Street Journal op-ed by Alan Dershowitz is more of a plan to get the sides talking again than a plan for peace.  The process would begin by Israel offering Mahmoud Abbas exactly what he has been demanding–an immediate conditional freeze in return for the PLO coming to the negotiating table.

The first negotiations would theoretically divide Judea and Samaria into three areas:

“Israel’s Area”–areas certain to remain in Israel such as Ma’ale Adumim, Gilo, other areas close to Jerusalem

“Palestine’s Area”–areas certain to remain in Palestine such as Ramallah, Jericho, Jenin and other heavily populated areas

“Disputed areas”–areas subject to land swaps such as Ariel

Once these areas are established to everyone’s satisfaction, then unlimited Israeli building would be allowed to take place in the “Israel areas”, no Israeli building would be allowed to take place in the “Palestine areas”, and a conditional freeze would continue in the “disputed areas” until it was decided what would remain in Israel and what in Palestine.

According to news reports from the U.N., PLO head Mahmoud Abbas has signed on to this formula and agreed “to link Judaism to Israel” in his speech to the U.N. today. It remains to be seen if this is really true.

Evaluation:

This is another non-starter. There is no way under the sun that the PLO/PA will agree to a tripartite division of “the West Bank”–no matter what Mahmoud Abbas says at the U.N. today. And why should Israel make yet another concession, freezing construction again,  to get the PLO/PA back to the negotiating table? 

Plan 4: The Benny Morris Plan

Benny Morris, as you may or may not know, is one of Israel’s pre-eminent historians who has written nine books about the Arab-Israeli conflict. Perceived as a “leftist” many years ago, Morris’ perspective has radically changed.

In an interview published in Ha’aretz this week, Morris proposed a confederation between those parts of the West Bank that are Palestinian with Jordan. It is an old idea, often discarded, but I’ll let Morris speak for himself with excerpts from his interview:

“The decades of studying the conflict, which led to nine books, left me with a feeling of deep despair . . .  I’ve written enough about a conflict that has no solution, mainly due to the Palestinians’ consistent rejection of a solution of two states for two peoples.”

“My aim [in my recent book] is to open readers’ eyes to the truth. The objective is to expose the goals of the Palestinian national movement to extinguish the Jewish national project and to inherit all of Palestine for the Arabs and Islam.”

“The Palestinian national movement has remained unchanged, throughout the different periods of the struggle, whether under the leadership of Hajj Amin al-Husayni or his successor, Yasser Arafat. It did not even change during the years of the Oslo process. In the end, both sides of the Palestinian movement − the fundamentalists led by Hamas and the secular bloc led by Fatah − are interested in Muslim rule over all of Palestine, with no Jewish state and no partition.”

“It’s true there’s a difference between the extremists, who say directly that they want to wipe out the State of Israel, and the secular nationalists, who outwardly say they’re ready for a compromise accord. But actually, both of them, if you read their words very carefully, want all of Palestine. The secular leaders − if you can call them that − like Yasser Arafat and President Mahmoud Abbas, are not prepared to accept a formula of two states for two peoples. So as not to scare the goyim, they project a vagueness about it, but they think in terms of expulsion and elimination.”

“The realization of the right of return essentially requires the destruction of the Jewish state. For the same reason, Abbas currently refuses to hold negotiations with the Israelis. Because negotiations could lead to a resolution to the conflict. He has no desire or intention of reaching a solution of two states for two peoples.”

“I say that the compromise proposals that have been continually put forward since ‘67, that are based on a Jewish state on about 80 percent of the territory of Mandatory Palestine and a Palestinian state on about 20 percent of the territory, are not realistic. The Palestinian leadership and people will not be satisfied with 20 percent of the territory of Palestine. A state composed of Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem will not satisfy them. They will want to expand − to Jordan, to Israel, to Sinai, or in all three directions at once. In order to satisfy the need for growth and territorial expansion, a merging of the West Bank, Gaza and Transjordan might satisfy the Palestinian urge for more territory and constitute a more reasonable and durable accord.”

“Jordan-Palestine could be the basis for an accord that will last, even if it cannot be achieved in our time. For now it is impractical and unrealistic. So the message is certainly pessimistic.”

Evaluation:

Correct. Correct. And Correct. Of the four plans,  the Morris plan is the only one that is rational–yet, as he says, it is completely impractical and unrealistic. The truth of the matter is that a two state solution (2SS)–with a Jewish and Palestinian state both on the west side of the Jordan River–is dead and everyone knows it. It never was a real solution. More about that tomorrow.

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