Monday, October 08, 2007

Discussing Concessions

I'm skeptical about Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's ability to get a peace proposal acceptable to the Palestinians through the Knesset, the ongoing debate in Israel can only be constructive. Yesterday, left-wing Kadima member Haim Ramon indicated that the summit planned for November would include discussion of Jerusalem's status. Plans to do so, however, were sharply criticized within Kadima, with some members favoring a unilateral demarcation of Israel's borders. To me, however, unilateralism in the West Bank doesn't sound like a viable option. Unless the Palestinians recognize whatever borders emerge, the territory from which Israel withdrawals will simply serve as a base from which they will try to liberate the rest, ensuring the conflict will continue.

Meanwhile, Charles Levinson notes that Yisrael Beiteinu leader Avigdor Lieberman favors withdrawing from Jerusalem's outer Arab neighborhoods. I don't know if that contradicts earlier statements, but it is in line with his broader proposals for handing over Arab areas of Israel to a Palestinian state as part of a separation of peoples. The right is going ballistic, which is predictable but still irritates me simply because most Arab neighborhoods in Jerusalem only became part of the city when they were annexed to it in the immediate aftermath of the Six Day War. In any case, the real question is whether Lieberman is willing to move on his current stance regarding the Old City. If he does, then he could probably bring his party with him, which might be enough for Olmert to squeak something through after all.

(Crossposted to American Footprints)



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