American Post Mortem (Israel-Palestine Negotiations) (Nahum Barnea)


Veteran political correspondent Nahum Barnea, writing for Yediot Acharanot, got the scoop from high ranking American State Department people close to the failed Israel-Palestine negotiations. This is what the official position is going to look like. The settlements constituted a major stumbling block, but I think it goes deeper. You can read the entire article here, but this to me was the highlight:

Using advanced software, the Americans drew a border outline in the West Bank that gives Israel sovereignty over some 80 percent of the settlers that live there today. The remaining 20 percent were meant to evacuate. In Jerusalem, the proposed border is based on Bill Clinton’s plan – Jewish neighborhoods to Israel, Arab neighborhoods to the Palestinians.

The Israeli government made no response to the American plan, and avoided drawing its own border outline.

The criticism against the Israeli government is presented in terms of wounds inflicted by a friend who could still be trusted: Israel is very dear to them, but the wounds are deep.

In contrast to previous rounds of negotiations in which proposals were proposed and the Palestinian side failed to offer a counter-proposal, this time it was Israel that dropped the ball.

These are self-inflicted wounds. If Israel is unwilling and unable to define its border, then the Palestinian leadership should go to international bodies and to European Union, Israel’s largest trading partner, to press their case for national independence. Or they should simply dismantle the Palestinian Authority and demand the right to vote for the Knesset. Under the current government, there is no Israeli partner for a negotiated settlement.

This to me is the end of the line. Is Israel even a nation state? A nation state should be able to define its border, which Israel seems unable to do.

About zjb

Zachary Braiterman is Professor of Religion in the Department of Religion at Syracuse University. His specialization is modern Jewish thought and philosophical aesthetics.
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