Fair Policy, Fair Discussion

December 17, 2009

Olmert’s “Palestinian state” plan– and the US role

Filed under: Israeli settlements,Washington's diplomacy,West Bank — Helena Cobban @ 10:15 am

Aluf Benn has a good scoop in today’s Haaretz: Many details of the “plan” that Olmert claims he presented to Mahmoud Abbas in September 2008, along with a map (PDF here) of the borders he proposed for the Palestinian state.

Benn writes,

Olmert’s office said in response to the disclosure of the plan: “On September 16, 2008, [Olmert] presented Palestinian Authority President Abu Mazen [Mahmoud Abbas] a map that had been prepared based upon dozens of conversations that the two held… after the Annapolis summit… Giving Abu Mazen the map was conditioned upon signing a comprehensive and final agreement with the Palestinians so it would not be used as an ‘opening position’ in future negotiations the Palestinians sought to conduct. Ultimately, when Abu Mazen did not give his consent to a final and complete agreement, the map was not given to him.”

A glance at the map shows that it would leave many large Israeli settlements in place in the West Bank, while the (designated for Israel) roads linking the settlements in the north of the West Bank would lace their way in an extremely disruptive way between the Palestinian towns and villages of that area, which is the most fertile and heavily populated portion of the West Bank.

Also of key importance: Olmert was proposing that Israel hang onto the entire area within the present municipal boundaries of occupied East Jerusalem, and also annex a further huge chunk extending east to Maale Adumim.

One can immediately understand why Abu Mazen was not prepared to see this as a politically sustainable “final” boundary line between the two states.

The best actual negotiation between Israelis and Palestinians that has been conducted over final-status issues including the border line has been that conducted by the non-official Geneva Initiative. The border line the GI produced is considerably less generous to Israel’s settlers.  And in Jerusalem, the GI map allotted the Palestinians significant (though not really contiguous) areas of occupied East Jerusalem, including, crucially, around three-fourths of the Old City.

One important question to ask about Olmert’s proposal and map is, of course, What was the American position on all this?  This question is  especially important for two reasons:

  1. The US was the principal sponsor of the post-Annapolis negotiations, as of all the Arab-Israeli negotiations since 1973; and
  2. The US has continued to funnel huge amounts of military, financial, and political aid to Israel despite the latter’s numerous continued violations of international law in the occupied territories. (So the US is not a neutral party in this dispute.)

But in response to the question above, the US position was, of course, quite absent.  There was no US “bridging proposal”, no active US mediation of any kind, no commitment of the instruments of US national power to securing a fair and sustainable outcome, and no US reference to the requirements of international law in this matter.

That makes four US “noes”.

And all four of those “noes” need to change if the US is to retain any credible and legitimate role at all as principal sponsor of this peacemaking task that is so crucial for world peace and for the wellbeing and survival of US troops deployed in tense and distant lands.



  1. So now we know what was behind Olmert’s “most generous offer ever.” As usual, pure BS! Nonetheless Omert’s statement was given wide press, so it served its hasbara goals–to repair Olmert’s disastrous legacy, enhance Israeli’s image as being interested in peace and the Palestinians as

    It’s revelation echoed of the Godfather–it was “an offer they couldn’t refuse,” which was “deal now or we’ll continue to steal your patrimony now instead of later.”

    Comment by JohnH — December 17, 2009 @ 12:04 pm | Reply

  2. But in response to the question above, the US position was, of course, quite absent.

    Firstly, US is not trusted peace partner in all this case not before and not now and not in future, this fact proven by 60 yera of history only the blind and deaf make denial of it.

    Secondly the matter of US absent or not, the is just HOT AIR, NO, US not absent, US hided behind Olmert’s “most generous offer ever.”.


    With all respect, could give us more details what you state been “Olmert’s “most generous offer ever.””?

    What the “generous” things we can not see in his offer ?

    Comment by Salah — December 17, 2009 @ 3:32 pm | Reply

  3. The US has never been a neutral mediator in this process. The successive US governments have always – with a few minor exceptions like Carter and the real George Bush – supported grossly excessive Israeli positions and worked hard to provide diplomatic cover for these unreasonable positions, Obama is no exception. The US has no credibility and Israel refuses to be involved with any country or group which is not subservient to its wishes and demands like the US is. There will be no peace settlement because Israel is satisfied with the status quo and the policy of slow ethnic cleansing.

    Comment by Jack — December 17, 2009 @ 5:59 pm | Reply

  4. A comprehensive peace deal can be reached between Israel and the Palestinians within six months if Israel completely freezes its settlement construction, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said in an interview published on Wednesday.

    17 December 2009, Thursday, AP JERUSALEM

    Comment by Salah — December 17, 2009 @ 6:02 pm | Reply

  5. Salah–“the Israeli government under Prime Minister Ehud Olmert offered the Palestinian Authority more than any other government in Israel’s history had been willing to give. So said Olmert himself on Thursday, in a speech given at the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya.” Helena’s post reveals the vacuity and mendacity of Olmert’s boast. Nonetheless the Western press ate it up.

    As Virgil might have said if he lived today, “beware of Israelis bearing gifts.” Or of Godfathers making offers you can’t refuse.

    Comment by JohnH — December 17, 2009 @ 8:58 pm | Reply

  6. There is no mystery about the US position: it is the position put forward by Israel.It is about time that what looks like the most obvious answer,(namely that the US and Israel are, as each constantly protests, inseparable) be recognised as being the case.
    The fact that there seems to be no logical reason for the United States to commit its Middle Easst policy into the hands of sons (and daughters) of Jabotinsky, is irrelevant: states act irrationally, just as men do.
    The United States has grown so used to underpinning its foreign policies by employing death squads and torturers that, having wiped out the socialist critics of corporatist capitalism, it now, for no particular reason, except to show its brutality, aims at muslims with misgivings about the ‘American Way.’
    In this bloody nihilism it has many eager assistants. Not surprisingly Israel, which for decades has been politically dominated by fascists, is the one which is ready to kill Arabs regardless of their religious beliefs.
    When a nation sets up as a slaughterhouse its stockyards require constant replenishment.

    Comment by bevin — December 17, 2009 @ 10:11 pm | Reply

  7. Example of “western democracy” when its comes to war criminals against Palestinian specially for Gaza war crimes!!

    The court’s behaviour was “insufferable”, foreign secretary David Miliband declared. The Times called it “repugnant”. Gordon Brown yesterday assured Livni that action would be taken to ensure no such thing ever happens again.

    The Guardian, Thursday 17 December 2009

    Comment by Salah — December 18, 2009 @ 1:47 am | Reply

  8. Golda Meir statement to the Sunday Times, 15 June, 1969.

    “There is no such thing as a Palestinian people… It is not as if we came and threw them out and took their country. They didn’t exist.”

    The Israeli newspaper Yediot Aharonot interviewing Israeli foreign Minister Shimon Peres (Oct. 5, 2001):

    Y.A.: “I was wondering, would [the Palestinian] dreams about Jaffa and Haifa suddenly disappear?” Peres: “On this issue I recommend to kill and annihilate.”

    Universal Declaration on Human Rights, Article 13

    Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own and return, to his country.”

    Yitzhak Rabin, the future Prime Minister and Noble Prize winner, wrote in his diary soon after Lydda’s and Ramla’s occupation:

    After attacking Lydda and then Ramla…What would they do with the 50,000 civilians living in the two cities…Not even Ben-Gurion could offer a solution…and during the discussion at operation headquarters, he [Ben-Gurion] remained silent, as was his habit in such situations. Clearly, we could not leave hostile and armed populace in our rear, where it could endanger the supply route [to the troops who were] advancing eastward…Ben-Gurion would repeat the question: “What is to be done with the population?,” waving his hand in a gesture which said: “Drive them out!.” ‘Driving out’ is a term with a harsh ring… Psychologically, this was one of the most difficult actions we undertook.2

    Palestinian Refugees Right to Return and Repatriation

    Comment by Salah — December 18, 2009 @ 2:09 am | Reply

  9. Another drama here..by trouble maker

    Iranian troops take control on oil well in southern Iraq??

    Comment by Salah — December 18, 2009 @ 6:17 pm | Reply

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