Thursday, April 23, 2009

Israel must present its own Plan

Ted Belman

Now that Obama has indicated that Netanyahu will be invited to Washington for talks, Netanyahu is getting ready.

DEBKAfile’s exclusive Washington sources disclose,

the US president accepted the extended Arab peace plan initiated by Saudi Arabia and reaffirmed at a foreign ministers’ conference in Amman this month. He will present this formula to his three Middle East visitors as the starting point for the diplomatic process. Three major flies in Washington’s peacemaking ointment are,

1, the rival Palestinian Hamas and Fatah factions failed to achieve a power-sharing accord in the negotiations brokered in person by Gen. Suleiman. Mahmoud Abbas therefore represents only one Palestinian faction - and not necessarily the largest one. The rejectionist Hamas and the Gaza Strip would be left out of any peace equation and be well-placed to sabotage it.

2. Syria stands opposed to the Arab peace initiative.

3. The Israeli position will be clarified by Netanyahu when he meets the US president in Washington in about a month. Whatever concessions he may offer, they will not include acceptance of the 1948 Palestinian refugees or the renunciation of historic Jerusalem to the Palestinian state, both key Arab demands.

Why is Netanyahu silent on the issue of borders and uprooting Jews from the land?

At a minimum Netanyahu should take the position that his government will not offer as much as the former government.

In addition, he should say that

1. Israel Is entitled by Res 242 to secure borders otherwise known as defensible borders.

2. Israel does not recognize any obligation to retreat from all the land and therefore there is no justification for demanding mutual exchanges of land.

3. Israel will not offer more land to the new entity than the 93% already offered and such offer may be withdrawn at any time.

4. Israel will consider offereing Israeli land on which Arabs live in exchange for the settlements.

5. Israel must retain Maaleh Adumin and Ariel.

6. Israel is not obligated to connect Gaza to Judea and Samaria.

7. Israel will not abandon the Roadmap, requiring an end to violence and incitement, for the Arab Initiative. For Obama to embrace the Plan, is to prejudge the outcome.

8. The Arab Initiative has no standing in the peace process. It is just an offer.

Israel should set this all out in a Plan so that there will be two plans on the table. Israel should not agree to allow the Arab Initiative to frame the debate.

If the Arabs reject Israel’s plan out of hand then Israel should similarily reject their plan.

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