Despite the problem that the media continues to report almost exclusively the Palestinian side of the Palestinian-Israeli standoff, any reasoning person would have to grant that the preconditions demanded by Mahmoud Abbas are so extreme that they can only be viewed as a means to avoid reentering negotiations with Israel. Nobody can actually believe with any sincerity that Israel must recognize the 1949 Armistice Lines as the starting point in border negotiations, releasing every Palestinian and terror prisoner, surrendering the entire Old City and Temple Mount of Jerusalem, relent any right to access to Joseph’s Tomb, Rachel’s Tomb, the Cave of the Patriarchs, or any of the numerous Jewish Holy Sites in Judea and Samaria (West Bank), allow the full repatriation of all the Palestinians claiming a “Right of Return” and allow for a fully militarized Palestinian State with the right to freely enter military alliances with whomever they choose allowing them to stage troops within the Palestinian State in order to begin negotiations. Mahmoud Abbas has made Israel granting the Palestinians there most extreme side of almost every final arbitration issues a requirement before they will meet to negotiate. About the only item not made part of the preconditions seems to be the order in which the final agreement will be signed. When one adds the statements made by Mahmoud Abbas in Arabic that he will never give up the struggle to liberate all of Palestine from the (Jordan) River to the (Mediterranean) Sea and any agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority is simply the establishment of the beachhead from which to launch the final assault and how could any Israeli leader agree to negotiate with this knowledge. So, what should Israel do to get past this seemingly impossible situation which has been instituted in order to avoid negotiations relying on the media to treat the unreasonable demands by the Palestinian leader Abbas as more evidence that Israel refuses to negotiate?
Our thoughts have leaned to thinking Israel should offer their own offer for negotiations with a different twist. Israel should call for negotiations where both sides recognize that once their states have been established with secure and final borders that each will recognize the other’s state as established for their people and that this agreement marks the finality and end of any claims or violence between the parties. Other than recognition and finality of the agreement there will be no other preconditions, both sides will concede to equal measures and not hold each other to make any further concessions without due negotiations being first established and reaching such positions through mutual agreements and respect. Israel should also set a date by which this offer should be good through, say August 16, 2012, just for an example. Stress that this is a final date and that should the Palestinian Authority and related Palestinian leaderships refuse to sit and negotiate honestly, then Israel will set and establish borders which meet Israeli needs and necessities while being sensitive to the needs of the Palestinians people to a contiguous state. After this, Israel should delineate exactly what they envision as final borders they would be willing to implement should the Palestinians refuse to negotiate. It should be stressed that this is an honest offer to implement the next and hopefully final round of negotiations allowing for the two sides to decide all final arbitrational issues. Should these negotiations be terminated by the Palestinians, then Israel would immediately implement the aforementioned borders and final solutions.
Let us suggest one possible vision of the final borders and solutions of outstanding issues which might be used in realizing a solution should negotiations prove no longer viable and a unilateral decision need to be implemented. The Palestinian State would be given borders that would include all of Area A, seventy-five percent of Area B excluding those areas within which Israeli citizens currently reside, and twenty-percent of Area C in order to include those areas within which Palestinians reside. All efforts will be implemented to assure that all areas of each side will have access to the main body of the country thus preserving a contiguous property. The Jordan Valley shall be secured by Israel and have shared rights where citizens from both countries may reside. Each community within the Jordan Valley will be allowed their own law enforcement personnel not to exceed twelve-percent of the community’s total population. Both nations shall retain rights to import items and goods across the Jordan River while Israel will retain sole control over all Jordan crossings. The Oslo Accords restrictions on police and military forces within the Palestinian State shall continue in place for the initial fifty years and may then be renegotiated. Should no agreement be reached in the final year of this restriction, the restriction will continue for the second half of the initial century after which these restrictions will be relented. All refugees seeking the “Right of Control” will be resettled within the Palestinian territories. Those who can meet set provisions for proof of loss of property will be allowed compensation for their loss of property as decided by a committee established to adjudicate such claims. All claims must have valid deeds of ownership from either the Ottoman Empire, the British or from Israel to be considered. I am sure there are items we have not considered, but this might be accepted as a starting point. The preferred method of resolving this conflict is and will remain through negotiations and mutual compromise, but something must be done to bring this entire ongoing insanity to a close if for no other reason than the world has sufficient other problems to continue to obsess over other than the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
Beyond the Cusp