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Benzion Netanyahu, the Arab League, and Peace

The anniversary of Bibi’s father’s passing and an old peace initiative

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One year ago today, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s vitally influential father Benzion Netanyahu passed away at age 102. This left many a pundit to wonder aloud whether the absence of Bibi’s father–a scholar on anti-Semitism and an opponent (to put it too mildly) of the peace process–would yield an opportunity for peace.

Unfortunately, the year that followed didn’t do much for the opportunities: sustained rocket fire from Gaza begot another Gaza war. The scapegoating and eventual departure of Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad stripped the Palestinian leadership of its first technocrat and state-builder. Even as Prime Minister Netanyahu’s focus on Iran’s nuclear program came too strongly expense of openness on the peace front, the past year made clear that the path to peace isn’t (and has never been) solely squared on the shoulders of Benjamin Netanyahu or any Israeli leader. During President Obama’s groundbreaking visit to Israel last month, he made the too-rare acknowledgment that repeated Israeli peace efforts across the years had been rebuffed or ignored.

One notable exception is the Arab Peace Initiative of 2002, which eleven years, three wars, an Arab Spring, and an Intifada later, is having something of a comeback this week. In fact, yesterday, the core principles of the proposal were reiterated during meetings between Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of State John Kerry and the Arab League yesterday.

Qatari Prime Minister Sheik Hamad Bin Jassem Al Thani, speaking on behalf of the Arab League, said Monday during a visit to Washington that the Arab countries favor a peace deal based on the 1967 borders, but would agree to “comparable” and “minor” land swaps on which the two sides agree.

Today, Tzipi Livni and Shimon Peres praised the Arab League endorsement of peace. There are countless obstacles to consider, but I suppose if there’s a time to say the onus is on Netanyahu to respond to an overture for peace, this is it.

Arab League agrees to peace with land swaps [JTA]

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ginzy1 says:

There is less to the Arab League proposal than meets the eye.

So they “agree” to agreed upon land swaps. Whoop dee do. That doesn’t mean that there **WILL** be land swaps. It only means that if both sides agree to swap land, they won’t object. If both sides agree to whatever, what difference does it make whether or not an outside party agrees with it?

Furthermore what happens if one side doesn’t agree to a swap? By way of example, a common trope is that “everyone knows” (even Jimbo Carter) that the historic Gush Etzion region will be incorporated into Israel proper in any agreement, with the concomitant land swap. But the Pals say they don’t know this and what if they don’t agree to it? What is to force them? (for the record, Israel has already offered land swaps).

Another problem: I don’t believe the Arab proposal recognizes any Israeli rights in the Old Ctiy, including the Kotel. I suppose we could swap land for the Kotel, but what would be its “equivalent” (Tel Aviv for the Kotel… it has a nice ring to it…; kills two birds with one stone).

And one more critical point. The Arab League proposal (as opposed to the Saudi original) sates that Israel must absorb the gazillion or so Pal refugees. That alone makes the agreement a non-starter for 99.9% of Israelis.

There is a reason that those parties most identified with the ill-fated “peace” process have not done well in elections here. Most Israelis have been disabused of the Oslo accordian delusions. And the regional instability makes us even more leery and skeptical.


Jerusalem / Efrat

herbcaen says:

This proposal contains the so called “right of return”. It makes the whole proposal a nonstarter


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Benzion Netanyahu, the Arab League, and Peace

The anniversary of Bibi’s father’s passing and an old peace initiative

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