Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Vicious Bluster

The idea of the Palestinians unilaterally declaring independence and statehood terrifies extremists within Israel, as seen in the blustering response from Israeli Foreign Minister, unambiguous racist and advocate of ethnic cleansing Avigdor Lieberman:

JERUSALEM — Israel's hard-line foreign minister warned Palestinians on Tuesday against plans to unilaterally declare independence next year, saying such a move could prompt Israel to annex parts of the West Bank and annul past peace agreements.

The remarks by Avigdor Lieberman took aim at a Palestinian policy that has emerged as U.S. attempts to restart peace talks have stalled.

Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, whose Western-backed government has a limited governing role in the Israeli-controlled West Bank, has announced plans to unilaterally declare a Palestinian state, possibly as early as the summer of 2011 – even without a peace deal.

Fayyad has begun ambitious reforms of the government and security forces, building up Palestinian institutions and developing the economy in preparation for independence. The reforms were welcomed by the West but have raised Israeli fears that a unilateral Palestinian statehood declaration could win international recognition.

Lieberman warned that if Palestinians declared independence, Israel could revoke the 1990s peace agreements known as the Oslo accords, or even annex parts of the West Bank.

"Any unilateral decision will release us from all of our commitments and will allow us also to make unilateral decisions," Lieberman was quoted as saying by the Ynet news Web site. "For example, imposing Israeli sovereignty on certain areas, cutting off all kinds of ties and transfers of money and a string of benefits and agreements put into place since the Oslo accords."

The kind of response, in other words, that would instantly push countries all over the world off of the fence. The inconvenient question of why Israelis can passionately declare their statehood but Palestinians are forbidden to do so would surge to the fore.

I agree with Johann Hari, the Palestinians should declare and let the chips fall where they way. The declaration and Israeli response to the declaration will create a moment of clarity about the stakes and the issues.

The same question every time this comes up, the same question nobody can offer a reasonable response to:
Why is it incumbent on Palestinians to recognize the state of Israel if it isn't incumbent on Israelis to recognize the state of Palestine?

4 comments:

Vigilante said...

The Palestinians claim all of the West Bank and east Jerusalem – areas captured by Israel in the 1967 Mideast war – as part of their future state.

IMHO, the world needs a new line drawn in this historical knot. What do we call the line that separates what the Israelis captured during the 1967 war and what they have grabbed in settlements after? Has such a line been drawn and delineated? If not, why not? If so, what is it called?

Cliff said...

Most on both sides concede that some of the larger settlements illegally built on the occupied territories will need to remain with Israel in any 2 state solution - that just means equivalent Israeli territory - in size, value and water access will need to be traded for them.

Vigilante said...

So, your answer there is no line. It's hard for me to believe your answer about agreement 'on both sides on this matter', when the Palestinians are still calling for a 'right to return'. That's a total nonstarter.

Cliff said...

Right of return or equivalent compensation come to through negotiations for giving up that right, what's confusing about that?

If we were starting from a perfect justice scenario we should be talking about the 1948 line. We're not, were using the 1967 line. Since almost everyone concedes that some of the settlements on the wrong side of the '67 line will be staying with Israel no matter what, justice requires negotiated compensation in equivalent territory.

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