Israel’s Generous Offer
This is the “final offer” Israel put on the table for Yasser Arafat at the Camp David Peace conference in 2000. This was the offer that Arafat refused, and was soundly pilloried in the west for doing so. I mean, he was offered something like 91% of the occupied territories, what more do the Palestinians want?
Well, let’s look at Israel’s so called final offer. I’m sorry the map above is in French, it’s the best I could find. Israel’s offer wasn’t in writing so is subject to interpretation, this version is the most generous I could find. Note first that the so called “sovereign” state of Palestine is divided into at least 3 regions, 4 counting the Gaza Strip, with passage of goods and people between them subject to Israel’s control. Israel would keep all the orange regions, and see all those red triangles? Those are Israeli settlements, they would stay. The striped area would be “temporarily” under Israel’s control, with no date as to its eventual return. And in any case, Israel would control the borders around and the airspace above the Palestinian State. The Palestinian state would also be permanently demilitarized. And Israel would retain control of about 80% of the west Bank’s water.
In other words, if the Palestinians lived peacefully on their reservations completely surrounded by Israel, completely at Israel’s mercy, and with Israeli settlements scattered among them … why, they could call themselves independent! This wasn’t an offer of independence, this wasn’t even an offer at all, since this offer is basically what exists now. The occupation repackaged, some deal. No one would accept an offer like that. The black homelands established by South Africa during the apartheid era were more viable than this plan.
And this is the best offer Israel has ever offered the Palestinian? After Arafat refused it and returned to Palestine a hero, the western press went into overdrive blaming Arafat for the “failure” of the peace talks. Even Carter to his eternal shame parroted the Israeli line. Of course he was pretty pissed, he and the Israelis had been eager to get the Palestinians to sign off on some sort of peace deal. So much for his legacy. At least he had the stones to point out later that what the Palestinians live under now is at least as bad as the South African system of apartheid.
The ridiculous thing about this is that Israel is bargaining with stolen property, if their offers can be described as bargaining to begin with. Israel invaded and occupied the West Bank and the Gaza strip in 1967. Since then Israel has refused to annex them, has refused to withdrawal, has built all sorts of illegal settlements on them, and hasn’t negotiated with the Palestinians with anything even resembling good faith. And yet somehow it’s all the Palestinians fault? This occupation is one of the planet’s longest standing injustices, and yet in the western press it is continually portrayed as some sort of situation where Israel has been reasonable and restrained while the “Palestinian violence” is the problem. Yet the Israeli violence, which exceeds Palestinian violence by a factor of a hundred or more, is somehow ignored or even justified. It’s the Palestinians who are living under Israeli occupation, not vice versa.
At least some voices in Israel are calling for a halt to the madness, Israel has to make a just peace with the Palestinians, not bomb them into submission. It’s been more than 40 years since Israeli tanks rolled into the West Bank and Gaza strip, and the more I study the situation the more one sided the public narrative, at least in the USA, seems. In a subsequent post I will talk about the various offers the Palestinians and Arabs have made, yes, they have made very substantive offers. You won’t hear that on Fox.
(The above image is claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law. It’s not being used for profit, it’s the best image available to illustrate the post, and it’s a low resolution copy of only a section of the original image. Credit and copyright: Jerusalem Task Force. I’m going to be posting a number of Palestine posts, because so much of the violence that has wracked the Middle East since World War Two has it’s roots in this mess. Even if it’s only for my own edification and amusement.)