Will accepting Palestinian 1967 “Border” Demand Make Peace More Likely?
Mideast Media Sampler 01/12/2014 – Palestinians are looking for concessions, not an agreement.
In June, 1999, shortly after Ehud Barak had defeated Benjamin Netanyahu to become Israel’s new prime minister, Charles Krauthammer wrote a column title, Clinton Should Have Targeted Arafat Instead.
Krauthammer noted that Arafat was going around the world to lobby support for accepting UN General Assembly resolution 181 as a basis for any peace deal.
What is that? An obsolete, defunct resolution passed by the General Assembly (unlike 242 and 338, not by the Security Council, and thus not even binding) . . . in 1947! It partitioned British Palestine into a Jewish state and an Arab state. At the time, every single Arab state and the Palestinian Arab Higher Committee totally rejected 181. In fact, they invaded the area given to the Jews with the express purpose of wiping it off the map.
They failed. And now 50 years later, the Palestinians are converts to 181.
What’s wrong with that?
In the course of that ’48-’49 war, Israel fought back. The armistice lines of 1949 ending it created the current internationally recognized (pre-’67) Israel–an area larger than that outlined in 181. Hence Arafat’s 181 ploy. Under 181, Israel would have to give up not just the ’67 conquests (all of the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza) but large chunks of pre-’67 Israel proper in the Galilee and the Negev. Indeed, 181 would take not only East Jerusalem away from Israel, but West Jerusalem–entirely Jewish and always under Israeli control–as well.
Arafat had, as Krauthammer put it, “moved the goal posts.” Krauthammer pointed out further that the Clinton administration was silent about this deal killer.
Nearly three years ago President Obama blindsided Netanyahu with a speech in which the President endorsed Israel’s 1967 borders as the starting point for negotiations. Charles Krauthammer wrote at the time:
Nor is this merely a theoretical proposition. Three times the Palestinians have been offered exactly that formula, 1967 plus swaps – at Camp David 2000, Taba 2001 and the 2008 Olmert-Abbas negotiations. Every time, the Palestinians said no and walked away.
And that remains their position today: The 1967 lines. Period. Indeed, in September the Palestinians are going to the UN to get the world to ratify precisely that – a Palestinian state on the ’67 lines. No swaps.
Note how Obama has undermined Israel’s negotiating position. He is demanding that Israel go into peace talks having already forfeited its claim to the territory won in the ’67 war – its only bargaining chip. Remember: That ’67 line runs right through Jerusalem. Thus the starting point of negotiations would be that the Western Wall and even Jerusalem’s Jewish Quarter are Palestinian – alien territory for which Israel must now bargain.
This time it was the United States moving the goal posts for the Palestinians. The New York Times reported that the speech marked a “subtle but significant shift” in American policy.
It’s also interesting to see how the Washington Post’s Glenn Kessler treated the speech. Kessler acknowledged that the American position had “evolved.” Here’s how he portrayed the starting point:
From an Israeli perspective, the de facto borders that existed before 1967 were not really borders, but an unsatisfactory, indefensible and temporary arrangement that even Arabs had not accepted. So Israeli officials do not want to be bound by those lines in any talks.
From a Palestinian perspective, the pre-1967 division was a border between Israel and neighboring states and thus must be the starting point for negotiations involving land swaps. This way, they believe, the size of a future Palestinian state would end up to be — to the square foot — the exact size of the non-Israeli territories before the 1967 conflict. Palestinians would argue that even this is a major concession, since they believe all of the current state of Israel should belong to the Palestinians.
Notice what the “Israeli perspective” is. Kessler’s taking what everyone believed after the Six Day War (and he even acknowledges this later) in the article and making it strictly Israel’s position. Furthermore he describes the Palestinian position in great detail crediting them with a “major concession” for even allowing Israel to exist.
In contrast, (though he wasn’t officially wearing his “fact checker” hat at the time) when Kessler earlier dealt with “settlements,” he treated a one time opinion by State Department bureaucrat as law.
Thirty years ago, the State Department legal adviser issued an opinion in response to an inquiry from Congress: The establishment of Israeli settlements in occupied Palestinian territories “is inconsistent with international law.”
The opinion cited Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which states that an occupying power “shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies.” Israel has insisted that the Geneva Convention does not apply to settlers and broadly contests assertions of the settlements’ illegality.
Despite the passage of time, the legal opinion, issued during the Carter administration, has never been revoked or revised. President Ronald Reagan said he disagreed with it — he called the settlements “not illegal” — but his State Department did not seek to issue a new opinion.
Kessler treats the 1979 opinion by Herbert Hansel as authoritative even though Morris Abram, who helped draft the Fourth Geneva Protocol stated that the intent was strictly to prevent the sort of brutal policies that the Nazis carried out.
I bring up Kessler as an example of a mindset in the media and the diplomatic corps which treats most Palestinian claims as valid and most Israeli claims as something only Israel believes.
Israelis and Palestinians have signed on to U.S.-sponsored frameworks before, most recently the “road map” of George W. Bush. But Kerry’s aim is to produce one that would cover more substance. Most likely it would include Palestinian recognition of Israel as a Jewish state, the stationing of Israeli troops near the Jordanian border and language that excludes a mass “return” of Palestinian refugees to Israel. In exchange, Netanyahu would be expected to swallow the principles that the territory of Palestine would be based on Israel’s 1967 borders and that its capital would be in Jerusalem.
Again, in exchange for “givens” – acknowledging Israel as a Jewish state shouldn’t be negotiable, but the Palestinians never accepted it, the right of return would end Israel as a Jewish state and the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza and the Philadelphi corridor demonstrated the need for Israel to remain in the Jordan valley – Israel is expected to agree to the Palestinians’ terms. Remember too, as has been observed above, the 1967 borders are really the 1949 armistice lines.
If accepting the Palestinian view of the 1967 borders would ensure that Israel could make peace with the Palestinian Authority (PA), that might be understandable.
But in a recent paper, No End to Palestinian Claims: How Israel and the Palestinians View Borders, Pinchas Inbari shows that it is uncertain that such a concession would impel the Palestinians to make a deal. While Inbari doesn’t discount the possibility “there could be surprisingly favorable developments,” he still takes a cautionary approach based on the publicly expressed positions of the PA.
In particular, Inbari writes:
The question, though, is whether the ratification of the 1967 border would entail the end of the dispute. Hopefully, the answer would be yes, with the United States putting its full weight behind the finality of the agreement.20 Yet we cannot ignore certain Palestinian positions which, if they do not change, are likely to generate crises even after an agreement is reached. For example, in an article posted prominently on Fatah’s website, the author discussed – uncharacteristically – the issue of the Jewish refugees. Zionism, according to this author, deliberately sowed terror in Iraq so as to frighten the Jews there and, eventually, settle them in Palestinian areas that were emptied of their residents, who then became refugees. Thus, the right of return is actually the right to return to lands that the United Nations allocated to the Arab state in the partition plan.21
What this means is that, from the Palestinians’ standpoint, the negotiations being held today are about the results of the 1967 war. The Palestinian state to be established along the 1967 lines is not intended to absorb the refugees from the 1948 lands; their proper place will be within the partition-plan borders. After “closing the file” on the 1967 borders, then, the “refugee file” will be opened, and the Palestinians will demand their return to the Arab state postulated by the partition plan. In other words, the real, intended border is not one along the 1967 lines, but the one of 1947.
The Palestinian peace effort so far has been a combination of failing to abide by previous agreements (Arafat committed to stopping incitement against Israel, a phenomenon that continues until today); impose new terms on Israel (prisoner releases were meant to apply only to non-violent prisoners and was a confidence building measure not a requirement); and ensure that grievances remain (claiming that Israel “occupies” their territory when over 90% of Palestinians have lived under the PA since the end of 1995.)
The record suggests that accepting the Palestinian demand for a return to the 1949 armistice lines won’t bring Israel any closer to peace. The Palestinians are looking for concessions, not an agreement.
[Photo: JerusalemCenter / YouTube ]
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“Will accepting Palestinian 1967 “Border” Demand Make Peace More Likely?”
NO, not just no, but H3LL NO!
Israel gave away 77% of its land for peace in 1922 and has been giving up land ever since then to try to make peace with Islamists.
It’s time to go back to the pre-1967 borders, but all the way back to 1922.
There HAS been a legal two State solution since 1922 agreed upon by the international community.
Here are the legal borders of Israel (Jewish Palestine) and Jordan (Arab Palestine).
These are the only pre-1967 borders to which Israel should agree and should demand a return.
The Arabs have continually aggressed upon that two state solution and are occupying rightful Jewish land.
It is the Arab/Muslims who are illegally occupying the Jewish homeland.
No one should listen to anything Obama endorses. His every action since 2009 has been spectacularly unsuccessful and detrimental to peace, economy, jobs, morale, human life.
Probably intentionally. His administration could be called the ‘revenge of the blacks and muslims.’ It has been a criminal administration, built of criminals who have shipped (redistributed) Boatloads of money to crooks, communists and cronies and passed unconstitutional laws right and left (fundamental transformation).
STDS have dramatically increased as well, due to Obamas promotion of promiscuity and unhealthy lifestyles.
No hope, but lots of change – for the worse.
Obama is the bad news boyfriend your mama and daddy said ‘stay away from’, but you eloped with anyway and he ran through your Daddy’s money and left you with four children, depression, homeless and HIV.
You said it, Uncle! Personally, I like the Old Testament borders.
Are they only demanding the 1967 cease fire line because Ahmed Tibi, an Israeli Arab politician, in a Jpost article says,
“Israel should agree to Partition Plan of ’47 “!
Question for David Gerstman. What evidence is there that Germany forcibly transferred by force of law and force of arms German citizens to areas militarily occupied by the Third Reich? I’ve looked around and I can’t find a single word about whether these were volunteers or people frog-marched at gunpoint, although I did read that some went through purity tests to see if they were good Aryans.
Ordinarily I wouldn’t care but the rebuttal to Mr. Kessler hinges on a view that when parties wrote “transferred” in the Geneva Convention, they meant “forcibly transferred” and since the settlers are volunteers they’re A-OK. Personally, I have no ill will towards the settlers but I have my doubts the victimized nations of WWII much cared whether the Germans settling were volunteers or not, and would not have sought to ban such practices with such a gaping and obvious loophole.
Here’s a novel idea: Why can’t the international community tell the Palestinians to behave for a minimum period of, say, six months? One Year? Two Years? If they behave, then maybe they can be trusted to be serious about peace.
(Never will happen. Why you ask? Because they are not interested in peace with Israel in any form. The Palestinians are only interested in the destruction of Israel.)
Redneck Law – Excellent point. I’ve often wondered the same thing myself.
I found the sniper attack from Gaza that killed a laborer on the separation wall back in late December to be a pretty dismaying event. It’s as if someone’s trying to prove that any compromise will be assaulted.
Because most of the international community would not impose a condition on the Palestinians that they know the Palestinians would not keep. They have no interest in portraying the Palestinians in a negative light.
Apartheid in Israel? Pop Quiz in today’s LA Times.
Put that in your ASA hash pipe and smoke it.
Why would anyone consider negotiating with people who have broken every agreement they have ever made?
Obama will cuz that’s how he also operates,
The PA certainly does not seem to be interested in any lasting agreement. I truly believe that they are simply trying for as many concessions as possible to molify certain people within their ranks until an allied, large scale attack against Israel can be organized.
Of course who these allies could be is a real question. The collapse of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, the Syrian Civil War, Lebanon’s increasing instability, plus Iran and Saudi Arabia’s increasing tensions all make for an interesting web to navigate in the Middle East.
In the meantime the PA just continually demands concessions and have found a friend/fellow Israel-hater in Obama.
When does this nonsense about “the 1967 fence line” end? It was never a legal border, it was the armistice line where the Jordanian military stopped pushing past the Jordan River, their original legal border. Just when were the San Remo Accords, as amended in 1922, revised to make Samaria and Judea anything but part of the Homeland for the Jewish People? What you say? A bunch of politicians got together in the UN and re-wrote only Israel’s borders while every single other country from the mandates remains as mandated? Dang, we even fought a war to free one of them from a neighbor.
When you base a concept on a lie, it will remain a lie and center of strife. Only fools think peace would result.
Please, I beg you, stop harming Israel by using the word “borders” even if in quotes — the more it’s used, the more it’s used, and very soon the false narrative will be cemented. It’s not even necessary, there’s a perfectly accurate word: lines. Just stop. Unlike the misdefined then redefined word “Palestinian,” the battle over this (1967 lines semantics) is still worth fighting for, as is the battle against inaccurate use of the word “occupation.”
What are you talking about? Now you presume to realign the semantics of the terminology. You are the one with a false narrative, because the “borders” of Israel are properly defined as those of the San Remo Accord as amended in 1922 following the absurd formation of “Trans-Jordan” under a minority Hasheemite principality from Saudi Arabia. None the less, the borders of Israel today are as they stand today, distinct and reflecting the San Remo Accord A-1922. Your quibbling is what endangers it. No further narrative is necessary because every single other Arab nation in the regions is defined by those same accords. Israel is the National Hopme for the Jews are defined then, and now.