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View Diary: Without Arafat, Whither Palestine? (264 comments)

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  •  Re: Re: Inquiring Minds Want To Know (none)
    "And, assuming territorial contiguity within the West Bank, why isn't a 100% withdrawal from Gaza, a 97% withdrawal from the West Bank, and compensating land from pre-1967 Israel good enough?"

    Along with something approaching eventual full soverignity for the Palestinian state, I think that is indeed good enough.  And I think Arafat would have accepted such an offer.  But that is not anything like what was offered at Taba.

    • There was no territorial contiguity within the West Bank.
    • The land swap was dramatically inequal in both land size and land desirability.
    • Water rights were not divided fairly.
    • Eventual Palestinian soverignity was outrageously limited by the Taba offer.

    "Doubtless the problem is my poor ability at map reading, but I am unable to make any use of it."

    Do you really find it that complex?  Take a look at the settlements peppered throughout the West Bank.  Take a look at the Israeli "security" roads.

    "As for Robert Drake's post, I find it extremely tendentious."

    I'll repeat the part directly about the outrageous Taba provisions:

    "The peace agreement guaranteed Israel would control access to the River Jordan; the borders with Egypt and Jordan; access to the sea... The new Palestinian nation would be intersected by many miles of Israeli roads dissecting the country into cantons designated as zones A, B, and C, with varying degrees of autonomy for each. The agreement allowed Israeli settlers de facto immunity from Palestinian legislation. Maintained most of the settlements. Legitimized diversion of 80% of the water supply for the use of the settlements. Allowed Israeli incursions into Palestinian airspace. Guaranteed only Palestinian rights expressly granted by the Knesset. Gave Israeli courts the authority to veto any Palestinian legislation that might jeopardize major Israeli interests."

    •  Re: Re: Inquiring Minds Want To Know (none)
      As I've written before, I'm not in the business of defending (or attacking) Taba, which in any case came much too late, after Clinton had left office and when Barak's upcoming overwhelming electoral defeat was clear.  Moreover, the participants themselves dispute what exactly was offered, accepted, or rejected at Taba.

      That said, the map that Gush Shalom says Israel submitted at Tabba -- [http://www.gush-shalom.org/generous/taba/index.html] -- does not seem to suffer from the defects you allege.  This is not to say that I want to defend all or any part of the map.  As I've said elsewhere, I'm against the settlements altogether.  But arriving at a reasonably just peace is more important to me than getting rid of all of the settlements.

      •  Re: Re: Re: Inquiring Minds Want To Know (none)
        "This is not to say that I want to defend all or any part of the map.  As I've said elsewhere, I'm against the settlements altogether.  But arriving at a reasonably just peace is more important to me than getting rid of all of the settlements."

        For someone who constantly protests about not wanting to defend different aspects of Israeli policies, you spend a lot of time defending different aspects of Israeli policies.

        Why?

        You seem more interested in a peace all political sides in Israel can endorse than you do in a reasonably just peace.

        A reasonably just peace will involve compromises that will be unpalatable to major portions of Israeli political society.  I'm no longer willing to give special consideration to the needs of Israeli political society over the needs of Palestinian political society.

        I'm no longer willing to consider the Israeli people more of a friend than I do the Palestinian people.

        After 25 years of ever expanding settlements, presided over by both Israeli parties, I say "enough is enough".  It's time for an authentically even-handed American foreign policy.

        The settlements are wrong on every level, and America is complicit.  No more.

        •  Please enlighten us (none)
          FullDisclosure writes:

          For someone who constantly protests about not wanting to defend different aspects of Israeli policies, you spend a lot of time defending different aspects of Israeli policies.

          Why?

          Having reviewed my several posts in this thread, I do not find a single Israeli policy that I have defended.  What I do find are posts that, among other things:

          • defend the general policy framework of the Clinton Administration, including, as a general framework, the Clinton Parameters
          • criticize Arafat for failing either (a) to accept the Clinton Parameters as a basis for negotiation or (b) to propose a serious alternative
          • note my opposition to the settlements
          • record my agreement with condemnation of Begin for invading Lebanon
          • discuss the historical record showing that Israel came to control the Occupied Territories as the result of a defensive war, while expressly stating: Of course, that does not make lawful all of its conduct as the Occupying Power.

          You seem more interested in a peace all political sides in Israel can endorse than you do in a reasonably just peace.

          If "all political sides in Israel can endorse" a peace agreement with the Palestinians based upon creation of a Palestinian state alongside Israel and including complete withdrawal from Gaza, withdrawal from c. 97% of the West Bank (with compensation to the Palestinian state from land currently within Israel), territorial contiguity of the West Bank portion of the Palestinian state, and the Palestinian state's capital in Jerusalem, then I plead guilty as charged.

          Since, unfortunately, a substantial segment -- I believe a minority -- will not endorse such a peace agreement, I think you have some explaining to do.

          A reasonably just peace will involve compromises that will be unpalatable to major portions of Israeli political society.  I'm no longer willing to give special consideration to the needs of Israeli political society over the needs of Palestinian political society.

          I think I've shown my support for compromises "unpalatable to major portions of Israeli political society."  I wonder, though, what, if anything, you are willing to support either to secure what you would concede to be legitimate Israeli interests or to obtain majority Israeli support for a peace agreement?  Specifically, and only by way of example:

          Do you endorse a two-state peace agreement that, whatever other provisions Israel and the Palestinians may agree, provides that Palestinian refugees will not have a right to return to Israel?

          •  Re: Please enlighten us (none)
            "Do you endorse a two-state peace agreement that, whatever other provisions Israel and the Palestinians may agree, provides that Palestinian refugees will not have a right to return to Israel?"

            Of course.

            Any deal is going to trade the Palestinian right of return for an end to the Israeli occupation.  That's the grand bargain.

            I see a willingness on the Palestinian side to make that bargain, but I see no willingness on the Israeli side.  The far left of Israeli mainstream politics is barely willing to accept something on the lines of Taba.

            -----

            "Having reviewed my several posts in this thread, I do not find a single Israeli policy that I have defended."

            Well, that's why I asked my question.

            You don't want to defend Taba, not neither are you willing to look closely at the details to see how outrageous and unbalanced the offer was.

            You slag Arafat for his negotiating response to the Taba offer, but you don't criticize Barak for his negotiating tactic of presenting such a one-sided offer.

            At what point do you say "no" to an Israel that isn't willing to end the occupation without a victor's peace?  At what point do you say "no" to extensive American support that enables Israel's expansionist poliicy choices?

            I've been sympathetic to the Israeli cause for a long time, and I've reached my limit.  

            If Israel were really to offer a peace along the lines of the way you present the principles of Taba, they would regain my support.  But without some sea change in the domestic Israeli political outlook, I don't see that as likely.

            •  You're kidding of course (none)
              FullDisclosure says: "I've been sympathetic to the Israeli cause for a long time, and I've reached my limit. "

              I find your language very unusual for someone who makes your claim. Indeed, in looking back at what you've said on this subject, I womder exactly what your claim is based on. As far I can see, you plain don't like Israel and Israeli, and would prefer them penned in say, the 1949 partition lines. No problem. If that's what you think is best, maybe it is.

              Let's assume the Israelis agree with the idea that they need to make the first moves. They get rid of the settlements -- a fine idea -- and withdraw from Jerusalem. They desecrate the area in front of the Wailing Wail so it looks just as it was pre-1967. They make very sure no Jew ever gets near the Wailing Wall. That's Arab land, and allowing Jews there is not permissable,

              Then the 40% or so of the Palestinians who never have accepted any UN resolution in regard to the Jews (that's exactly the term they use) resume the Intifada on a much larger scale.

              What's the next step? Ask for UN help? Darfur? Rwanda?
              Ask for US help? No US administration would or could send even moderate numbers of combat forces (besides they're all fighting in Iraq still) to help a Jewish state. Think what you want about the power of the Jewish lobby in the US. Lots of Americans feel exactly the way lots of French and Palestinians and posters to this diary feel about Jews.

              Final question: if and when Israel/Palestine become a majority Arab state, where do the Jews go. No Arab state has ever tolerated more than a very few well controlled Jews. You think there's some place for four million plus survivors to go?

              •  Re: You're kidding of course (none)
                "I find your language very unusual for someone who makes your claim. Indeed, in looking back at what you've said on this subject, I womder exactly what your claim is based on. As far I can see, you plain don't like Israel and Israeli(s)"

                I spoke out against Serbian expansionism in the 90's.  Was this because I plain didn't like Serbia or Sebs?  I don't think so.

                You know nothing of my personal affinities or allegiances.

                "Lots of Americans feel exactly the way lots of French and Palestinians and posters to this diary feel about Jews."

                I have so little patience for intellectually chanllenged folks who equate deep disapproval with Israel's actions with bad feeling toward Jews.

                •  Re: You're kidding of course (none)
                  Your consistent use of almost true "facts" about Israel says something.It seems to me you read your opinions as facts amd then react with real anger when others don't agree. I say that not as as a comment on your "real" personality or allegiances which I neither know nor care to know. I only know what you've posted here.

                  What you said or did about Serbia is irrelevant. It's a red herring.

                  Writing conveys tone, and to some degree emotions or feelings. Yours clearly does that. Now you may just be a bad writer, but I do not think that is the case at all. Your posts seem to be the work of an intelligent, thoughtful and angry person.

                  Don't take the Jews comment as meant about you. There is at least one poster on this thread who seems to me clearly anti-Semitic, although most are not. But do read the Palestinian websites and see the language they use, particularly in their educational materials. They're anti-Israeli as policy and anti-Jewish as a bedrock principle. In a one-state solution, they'd allow zero Jews. That seems perfectly clear.

                  •  Re: Re: You're kidding of course (none)
                    "What you said or did about Serbia is irrelevant. It's a red herring."

                    Irrevelant to you, but an analagous situation to me.

                    "Your posts seem to be the work of an intelligent, thoughtful and angry person."

                    On this topic, I am indeed angry.  I'm angry at the sneering in the news media when they show pictures of the sick Arafat.  I'm angry of the contortions lefties here are willing to go through to defend Israel, right or wrong.

                    "In a one-state solution, they'd allow zero Jews. That seems perfectly clear."

                    There are, of course, Israeli extremists who sit in the Knesset who believe in a one-state solution that would allow zero Palestinians.

                    I don't judge either side by their extremists.

                    ---

                    "Your consistent use of almost true "facts" about Israel says something.It seems to me you read your opinions as facts amd then react with real anger when others don't agree."

                    The fact it takes you time and effort to disentangle disapproval for Israel from dislike for Jews says something about you.

                    And which of my facts are almost true, but not really true?

            •  Re: Please enlighten u (none)
              Any deal is going to trade the Palestinian right of return for an end to the Israeli occupation.  That's the grand bargain.

              I see a willingness on the Palestinian side to make that bargain, but I see no willingness on the Israeli side.  The far left of Israeli mainstream politics is barely willing to accept something on the lines of Taba.

              Perhaps it's a matter of where you're looking.

              In his autobiography(p. 943), President Clinton wrote of his meeting with Arafat, on January 1, 2001:

              Arafat was also trying to wriggle out of giving up the right of return.  He knew he had to but was afraid of the criticism he would get. . . . Besides, the agreement had to be approved by the Israeli citizens in a referendum.  The right of return was a deal breaker.  I wouldn't think of asking the Israelis to vote for it.  On the other hand, I thought the Israelis would vote for a final settlement within the parametersI had laid out. . . .

              Describing the potential deal Arafat rejected, President Clinton wrote (p. 944):

              When he left, I still had no idea what Arafat was going to do.  His body language said no, but the deal was so good I couldn't believe anyone would be foolish enough to let it go. . . . In December, the parties had met at Bolling Air Force Base for talks that didn't succeed because Arafat wouldn't accept the parameters that were hard form him.

              President Clinton also wrote (pp. 944-45):

              Right before I left office, Arafat, in one of our last conversations, thanked me for all my efforts and told me what a great man I was.  "Mr. Chairman," I replied.  "I am not a great man.  I am a failure, and you have made me one."  I warned Arafat that he was single-handedly electing Sharon and that he would reap the whirlwind.

              . . . Nearly a year after I left office, Arafat said he was ready to negotiate on the basis of the parameters I had presented.  Apparently, Arafat had thought that the time to decide, five minutes to midnight, had finally come.  His watch had been broken for a long time.

              Arafat's rejection of my proposal after Barak had accepted it was an error of historic proportions. . . .

              Moving beyond President Clinton's evidence, may I remind you of the polling data I've previously cited from the (Palestinian) Jerusalem Media & Communications Centre, namely, that, as of it's most recently published poll, a plurality -- 45.3% -- of Palestinians believe the aim of the intifada is to "liberate all of historic Palestine."  (Interestingly, 44.5% also profess to support a two-state solution.)

              That same poll showed that 63.1% of Palestinians support "suicide bombing operations against Israeli civilians."

              •  Re: Re: Please enlighten u (none)
                "Perhaps it's a matter of where you're looking."

                Indeed.  Clinton is not an uninterested or reliable witness about Taba.

                Arafat was correct not to give up the right of return for the Taba deal.  But a reasonable reading of the history of the 90's shows that Arafat was willing to give up the right of return in exchange for a fair deal.  You don't seem to be willing to deal with that.

                And thanks for the troll rating.  I'd thought we were having a polite discussion.

                •  Re: Please enlighten us (none)
                  I quoted President Clinton regarding his dealings with Arafat, not Taba.

                  Was Clinton wrong in saying that a year later, i.e., under the hostile Sharon Administration and uninterested Bush Administration, Arafat was ready to negotiate on the basis of what you say he was right to rejected when Clinton and Barak were in office?

                  Regarding our conversation: Yes, it has been polite and I hope it continues so.  I'm curious, however.  I've tried to provide evidence and reasons for my opinions.  You tend to state your opinions, for example, your negative opinion of (what you call) Taba, without trying to back them up.  That style does not encourage a continuing conversation.

                  The troll rating was for a single post outside our conversation in which you called someone else a "scumbag."  I thought the (impolite) comment unwarranted and deserving of a "1" rating.

                  •  Re: Re: Please enlighten us (none)
                    "I've tried to provide evidence and reasons for my opinions.  You tend to state your opinions, for example, your negative opinion of (what you call) Taba, without trying to back them up."

                    I believe I've been quite clear and specific upthread in response to you about why I think the Israeli offer at Taba was outrageous.

                    ---

                    The core of your criticism of Arafat seems to be that he didn't respond the way you (and Bill Clinton) would have liked him to at Taba.

                    Here are some possible readings of what actually happened there:

                    1. The Israelis weren't interested in a reasonable agreement.
                    2. The Palestinians weren't interested in a reasonable agreement.
                    3. The Israelis were interested in a reasonable agreement, but negotiated disasterously.
                    4. The Palestinians were interested in a reasonable agreement, but negotiated disasterously.

                    To me, it seems clear that option #1 is the best representation of the actual events, although #3 is a also a possible representation.

                    Arafat's negotiating stance was to (correctly, IMHO) regard the Israeli offer as a non-starter, and see if the Israelis were willing to take a more responsible negotiating stance.  One can question Arafat's tactics, but they're not as absurd as you paint them out to be.

                    The right of return is the Palestinians' only real negotiating card, and it should not be handed over lightly.  A fair deal is necessary to resolve this conflict, not a deal based on Israel's miltary triumphs.  Arafat certainly was right not to have given away outrageous permanent concessions solely in order to help Labor win an election.

                    ---

                    "The troll rating was for a single post outside our conversation in which you called someone else a "scumbag."  I thought the (impolite) comment unwarranted and deserving of a "1" rating."

                    No problem.  In the true spirit of Israeli military "proportional response", I troll-rated 3 of your comments.

                    •  Good-bye (none)
                      Although my posts invariably have been both substantive and polite, you troll rated three of my posts because I did so to a post in which you called someone a "scumbag."  Since that is how you choose to behave, I see no point further conversation with you and will treat your ratings as a badge of honor.
                      •  Re: Good-bye (none)
                        "Although my posts invariably have been both substantive and polite, you troll rated three of my posts because I did so to a post.."

                        Like I said, I was just trying to follow the Israeli military doctrine of "proportional response".

                        "I see no point further conversation with you..."

                        Cheers.  I hope you someday see clearly the meaning of the Israeli intrasigence over the occupation.

                        You claim not to defend the settlements.  You claim not to defend the Israeli stance at Taba.  I hope you see someday what the policies you claim not to defend all add up to.

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