Olive Branch or White Flag?
by Rebekah Maxwell
The Palestinian State slouches toward Jerusalem to be born…and the last lion in Judah says, ‘let’s make a deal.’
Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has agreed to peace talks with the Palestinians, using pre-1967 borders as “a baseline” for the final treaty.
After gaining attention of the world (and no small admiration in some circles) for all but laughing in President Obama’s face over the pre-1967 limitation, Netanyahu is now extending a perceived olive branch, the one that Palestinians (or Israel’s Muslim Arabs, as they are culturally and linguistically specified) have long shoved forward as the minimum they will accept.
Some strategists say it’s a good move. Now Israel’s agreeing to play ball by the other team’s rules, so they come off looking sincere, forcing their opponent to stay at the negotiating table. I can’t say I agree, since the strongest move has already been played: a complete refusal to acknowledge claims on your nation’s sovereignty from your closest enemy, and denying any attempt from outside forces to impose arbitrary limits on your nation’s borders.
By all accounts, Netanyahu has been facing pressure in recent days, as the wave of Muslim-led protests in the Middle-East has been slamming his administration as well. This latest move could be an effort to gain control in the face of Palestinian threats to obtain UN recognition as a sovereign state next month.
This solution has technically been tried before: Israel has offered almost all the land up to the pre-1967 borders as a possible territory agreement…but it’s been on their own terms. The reason Israel has not openly accepted those borders for bargaining (until now) is that it grants the other side (and outside meddlers) their argument, and requires Israel to give up claims to Judea and Samaria.
What do they gain in this deal? Netanyahu’s administration says the proposal is a package that would recognize Palestinian statehood, but requires Palestinians to likewise recognize Israel as a Jewish state…something the Muslim leadership has fervently refused to do.
Don’t know much about geopolitical diplomacy, but if I were trusting in the honesty and integrity of the PLO…I’d hope I had an ace up my sleeve.