UPDATES 7 pm Israel time, Thursday, April 3 2014:
*John Kerry has been dissembling again. To listen to his description today of the all-night “talks” last night between U.S. intermediary Martin Indyk, Palestinian “negotiator” Saeb Erekat, and Israeli chief conceder Tzipi Livni, one would think that the effort yielded positive results.
Kerry indicated that the two sides had “made progress”, but that “there is still a gap and that gap needs to close fairly soon.”
According to people who were actually in the room, there was no agreement whatsoever, and Erekat and Livni quickly devolved into a shouting match with Erekat screaming that the Palestinians “would pursue the Israelis in all international forums and make sure they were branded as war criminals.” More than this, Erekat ranted that unless Israel releases 1000 “prisoners” and freezes construction in Jerusalem, Judea, and Samaria there will be no Palestinian return to “negotiations.”
In other words, unless Israel makes concession after concession, the Palestinians will not even agree to “talk” (which they never did anyway).
All Livni could retort (but at least she did so loudly!) was that if the Palestinians do not return to the Israel-concession table, then Israel would initiate “sanctions” against the Palestinians.
Finally, at 4:00 am, Indyk said “enough is enough” and pulled the plug on the meeting.
(israelstreet thanks Arutz Sheva for elements of the above report).
Your humble servant believes that the time has come to turn the discussion about “Palestine” on its head. Not that anyone will really listen, but he is sick of hearing about “occupation” and “the desire of Palestinians to have their own homeland.”
The fact is that the Palestinians do have a homeland. In fact, they have 2: one in Gaza, and the other in Areas A and B of Judea and Samaria.
Consider these bits of information:
1. The total number of Palestinians that the Palestinians say live in Gaza and Judea/Samaria is roughly 4.4 million:
—a Palestinian-estimated 1.8 million live in Gaza (the number is probably closer to 1.6 million)
—a Palestinian-estimated 2.6 million live in Judea and Samaria (this number is grossly inflated and is probably closer to 2.1 million–the World Bank estimates about 1.8 million)
2. By anyone’s definition, Gaza is a self-governing state. As Hamas leaders are fond of pointing out, there is no occupation of anything.
3. By common acknowledgment of Israel and the PLO, the PLO completely (administratively and security-wise) controls all of Area A of Judea and Samaria. This includes all of Shechem (Nablus), Jenin, Tulkarem, Qalqilya, Ramallah, Bethlehem, Jericho, and 80% of Hebron.
4. Area A includes 56% of the Palestinian population of Judea and Samaria. Based on the Palestinian-estimated Palestinian population of 2.6 million, this means that 1,456,000 million Palestinians live under total Palestinian control.
Are you following this so far?
3,256,000 Palestinians live under total and absolute Palestinian control. Their security is Palestinian-controlled as is every other facet of their lives. That is 3,256,000 Palestinians out of a total of 4,400,000 Palestinian-estimated Palestinians under no “occupation”.
But wait, there is more.
5. By common acknowledgement of Israel and the PLO, Area B of Judea and Samaria is under complete Palestinian administration and under Israeli security in conjunction with Palestinian security in the form of Palestinian police. Does this mean that Area B is “occupied”? Your humble leaves it for you to make the call.
6. Area B of Judea and Samaria contains another 42% of the Palestinian population of Judea and Samaria. This is another 1,092,000 Palestinians–by their own count.
So at the very least we have 4,348,000 out of 4,400,000 Palestinians in Gaza, Judea, and Samaria living in areas under complete Palestinian administrative control.
We return to where we started.
There is a de facto Palestinian state in Gaza. A Palestinian-estimated 1.8 million Palestinians live there.
There is another de facto Palestinian state in Area A of Judea and Samaria. A Palestinian-estimated 1,456,000 Palestinians live there.
As for Area B, your humble servant would argue that Area B should be combined with Area A, but for now, let’s leave it in a separate category.
But the time has come to stop talking about “occupation.” Most Palestinians are living in areas under their total civilian and security control.