Friday, November 27, 2009

Hillary's Thanksgiving present to Bibi - US accepting the remaining of large settlement blocks

"As part of a final peace settlement, Israel must have secure and recognized borders, which should emerge from negotiations between the parties in accordance with UNSC Resolutions 242 and 338. In light of new realities on the ground, including already existing major Israeli populations centers".(President George W. Bush - letter to PM Ariel Sharon 14 Apr 04)

"We believe that through good-faith negotiations the parties can mutually agree on an outcome which ends the conflict and reconciles the Palestinian goal of an independent and viable state based on the 1967 lines, with agreed swaps, and the Israeli goal of a Jewish state with secure and recognized borders that reflect subsequent developments and meet Israeli security requirements".(US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton - 25 Nov 09)

(Americanthinker).The Obama administration, following Netanyahu's unilateral announcement of a temporary settlement freeze, has agreed on a quid-pro-quo that builds on a similar precedent set by Ariel Sharon and George W. Bush in 2004. In exchange for Bibi's unprecedent move, the administration for the first time acknowledged specifically that Israel will be entiteled to retain lands captured in 1967 as part of any final peace agreement.

Five years ago, Israel's decision to unilaterally withdraw from Gaza in hopes of advancing the peace process was rewarded by a reciprocal Bush assurance to Sharon that the U.S. would, as part of any final peace deal, support "secure and recognized" borders for Israel and, that "in light of new realities on the ground, including existing major population centers, it is unrealistic to expect a full and complete return to the 1949 armistice line." Bush's letter also noted that "all previous efforts toward a two-state solution have reached the same conclusion," including the generous Clinton Barak initiative at Camp David in 2000.

Translated from diplomatic jargon, this meant that Israel could be expected to retain major population centers beyond the pre-1967 line like Maale Adumim and Gutsh Etzion. Significantly, Bush's assurances put the U.S. on Israel's side in rejecting insistence by the Palestinian Authority and Arab leaders on a complete Israeli withdrawal to the pre-1967 line, also known as the Green Line, also known, as spelled out by Bush, as the 1949 armistice line.

Now, five years later, Netanyahu takes a leaf from Sharon and unilaterally decides on a temporary 10-month construction freeze in West Bank settlements in hopes of reactivating peace negotiations.

And, at the same time, Hillary Clinton takes a leaf from George W. Bush and states on the record that the United States expects the Palestinians to agree to "land swaps" to modify the pre-1967 line and, even more importantly, expects Israel to end up with "secure and recognized borders that reflect subsequent developments and meet Israeli security security requirements."

Whichever way you cut it, Bibi got quite a bit of quo for his quid from Team Obama. Note also that Hillary's parameters for a final peace deal are totally silent about East Jerusalem, which the Palestinians demand as the capital of their future state, and fail to mention any "right of return" for Palestinian refugees -- even as they provide for the first time specific security commitments to Israel with regard to final borders.

But the specificity of Hillary's new statement about Israel's security requirements and final borders will not bend easily to any White House attempts to dilute the clear message from its secretary of state binding the U.S. to Israel's retention of built-up population centers beyond the Green Line.

Call it Hillary's Thanksgiving present to Bibi.