One of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s now world infamous preconditions is the insistence that Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu deliver a map showing what the Israeli leaders foresees as the borders between Israel and Palestine. Abbas claims that until he is able to actually visualize the borders which Netanyahu is suggesting he will be unable to determine whether or not it would be worthwhile for him to meet and restart negotiations. Abbas is using this ploy so he can continue to reject one map after another claiming that Netanyahu is not serious about making peace as the map does not come anywhere near the minimal area which Abbas feels is required for the Palestinian State. By having Prime Minister Netanyahu draw such a map Abbas excuses him from having to make any demands or claims as to what he would accept leaving him to simply reject any map proposed without stating what would be acceptable. So, perhaps in all fairness Prime Minister Netanyahu should offer to exchange maps with Abbas thus having both men draw up their idea of what would make a fair border from which to begin the final border negotiations. Of course Mahmoud Abbas will refuse to exchange maps while continuing to demand that Netanyahu must submit a map to Abbas.
There is no doubts as to why Palestinian President Abbas will refuse to present a map of the final borders he envisions as acceptable to the Palestinians for the establishing of a final solution to the question of borders. His reason is simply as such a map already exists and is available for anybody to see. All one need do is look at the maps of Palestine in the Palestinian schoolbooks or the map behind Abbas’s desk in his office and the map of Palestine that they consider their minimal requirements are there for anybody to see. These maps all depict all of Gaza, Judea, Samaria (West Bank) and Israel as the borders for their state of Palestine. That is correct; everything from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea is their envisioned state with no Israel whatsoever. That is the reason that Abbas would reject any request for him to also present a map of his vision for final borders and also why no matter what map Netanyahu might present, as long as it depicted any of the land as belonging to Israel as a Jewish State would be unacceptable to Abbas. Along with offering to present Abbas with a map if and only if Abbas returns the favor and presents his ideal map in a mutual exchange, why not also do similar offers on some of the other preconditions which Mahmoud Abbas is currently hiding behind using them as a means to avoid negotiations.
Where Mahmoud Abbas demands that Israel accept the Right of Return for as many as five to six million refugees, Israel could demand that Abbas admit to how many Jews who own lands in Judea and Samaria will be allowed to remain on their lands after a settlement has been reached. It is unlikely that Abbas would surprise the world and admit that the Palestinians intend to dispossess the Jews who are living or own land beyond the Green Line and refuse to allow even a single Jew to remain and become a citizen of the Palestinian State. Once Abbas has made the situation clear that there will be no Jews allowed to remain within Palestine then the Israelis can hardly be condemned for not accepting the refugees, especially all five to six million, within Israel and demanding that they only be allowed to settle in Palestine. In all truth, Israel actually holds the moral high ground on this issue as there are already sizeable Arab sectors within the Israeli population who have full rights and are found throughout Israeli society. There are Arab doctors and nurses working right next to Jewish doctors and nurses in every Israeli hospital, Arab members in the Knesset even to include some who act more for the Palestinians than they do the Israeli Arabs who elected them. There are Arab judges, Police, and soldiers in the IDF, though the Arab Israelis are not required to serve in the IDF as Israeli Jews and Druze are required to serve. You cannot find a single Jews even allowed to reside in Area A of the West Bank or within any of the Arab villages under Palestinian Authority rule.
While President Abbas has demanded that Israel issue a building freeze once again in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, perhaps in exchange Abbas will freeze all Palestinian building within East Jerusalem, the Jordan Valley, and Areas B and C of the West Bank in a gesture of equality and fairness. Just as the Israelis would still be entitled to build within the Green line and only cease building in the contested lands, the Palestinian would continue to build in Area C and they would also not build within the contested lands. As for the Abbas demand that Israel agree to utilize the 1967 Lines as a reference for final borders, these are actually the Armistice Lines from 1949 which the Arabs demanded could never be used to denote a border, that the Israelis could demand that Abbas recognize that the original British Mandate was presumably for the establishment of a Jewish State and that all the lands east of the Jordan River were already ceded by the Jews to the Palestinian Arabs when they forfeited those lands for the establishment of Jordan. Should that be too difficult a pill for Abbas to swallow then there is always the compromise position that at the establishment of United Nations Security Council Resolution 242 Israel possessed the Golan Heights, the Sinai Peninsula, Gaza, Judea and Samaria and as required by Resolution 242 Israel had surrendered territories by returning the Sinai Peninsula to Egypt and the disengagement from Gaza thus Israel is not technically or legally required to surrender any further lands except by mutual agreement and should Israel wish to fully exhaust their rights they could annex all of Judea and Samaria and still have satisfied all legal international requirements. There has to be a point where the truth is stated and a requirement that the actual International legal requirements are made obvious and that Israel has technically met every International requirement proposed by the United Nations and accepted by International bodies.
Proposing that for every precondition which Israel is requested to meet to jumpstart the peace process the Palestinians also meet a like precondition would be simply an equalizing and fairness measure. The examples above are simply that, samples, suggestions. It would be up to Israeli leadership to present proposals which they would deem as evenhanded. There are other preconditions such as the releasing of large numbers of Palestinian terrorists from Israeli prisons, including some of those who have committed the most grievous crimes, is one demand for which I am unable to find anything which would balance such out to pose in return. The other problem with this idea is that I have little doubt that Mahmoud Abbas would not simply keep adding more preconditions to the list while ignoring the Israeli answer of preconditions of their own. Still, by proposing such return preconditions they would add into the discussion a review of what are the demands and positions on each subject the Palestinians hold. Any turning of the tables that potentially reveals the truth of the Palestinians refusal to negotiate works in Israel’s favor. Trying to tell the world that these preconditions are merely excuses not to negotiate is not accepted and will not be accepted unless Israel actually gave in on them and the Palestinians still refused to negotiate. The problem is once Israel surrenders on any point there will be no backtracking away from the conceded point. For example, if Israel commits to a building freeze for a period, say six months, in order to allow for negotiations we all know exactly what would be the response as we already danced this dance. Abbas would simply ask about another set of preconditions such as agreement on the 1967 lines for borders and the acceptance of the Right of Return for all five to six million Palestinian refugees and the prisoner release. Israel would have allowed the building freeze to be established as something that Israel is obliged to commit to in order for negotiations just as it has been pushed ever since it was introduced and forced down Israel’s throat by United States President Obama. We also need to remember that the concept of the building freeze and using the 1967 lines as the starting point for borders were both brilliant ideas introduced and proposed by President Obama, not Mahmoud Abbas. Ever since their introduction they have stuck and Abbas realizes that these two gifts from the American President are in his pocket ad infinitum. As these preconditions will never depart the scene on their own, Israel has to find some tactic to turn them back on the Palestinians and use them to reveal the duplicity behind these demands being used deceptively by the Palestinians. Turnabout is only fair as all’s fair in love and war, and if this is not one it must be the other.
Beyond the Cusp