Sunday, May 22, 2011

Middle East peace can't be won by all take and no give

I despair of Benedict Brogan. He claims today in the Telegraph that President Obama's new stance on the Middle East peace process constitutes a "giveaway" to the Palestinians that would leave Israel "where it was before the Arab world tried to drive the Jews into the sea". But let's look at what Obama is and isn't actually saying. He suggests that a Palestinian state should be broadly based on the pre-1967 boundaries, but with land-swaps to square the circle of the enormous, illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank. He excludes the question of East Jerusalem altogether, even though it has an overwhelmingly Palestinian population, and like the West Bank was ruled by Jordan before 1967. He also leaves open the possibility that the Palestinian refugees from the 1948 war will have to give up the right of return to their homes in what is now Israel. So if all that constitutes a "giveaway", it rather begs the question of what on earth Brogan would see as a just peace. A Palestinian state consisting of just Gaza, and the rump of the West Bank that will be left once the prime swathes of land confiscated by Israeli settlers are ripped out? That wouldn't be so much a "giveaway", as a legitimisation of Israel's slow-motion "takeaway" over the last few decades.

Not even the most moderate of Palestinian negotiators would ever accept such a settlement, so what Brogan is offering is a prescription for ongoing conflict. How that will assist Israel's long-term security is something of a mystery.

1 comment:

  1. And Mr Brogan wonders why the bloodshed continues?