Olmert's parting shot: Israel must withdraw from West Bank

Story here:

  1. Is he right? (I say of course, but there are more than 275,000 Israeli settlers in the WB and 200,000 in East Jerusalem who see the matter differently.)

  2. Since he’s resigning in disgrace, how much impact can his words have anyway? (Serious question, not rhetorical.)

Who’s to say that the window is “rapidly closing?” Honestly just from what I read in the news, it seems like there’s less violence between Israel and the Arabs right now than there has been in the past. It used to be, there was either a suicide bombing in Israel or an air strike on Gaza every week in the newspaper. Now I can’t even remember the last time I heard about it. It seems like things are getting better over there, not worse. We have some people here from Israel so maybe they can comment on that better than I can.

That offer has been hinted at by the Palestinians for a long, long time. For some reason Olmert thinks it will go away soon. I suspect he thinks that US support in Great Depression II will be much more limited, and he may be right. I think that such a deal would get peace with all countries except Syria. Whether the Palestinians go for it is another matter: the old PLO people will go for it, but the more radical Palestinians might not. Nor do I think that it is politically possible in Israel. It might lead to civil war.

That said, I’d like to see something along those lines seriously attempted.

It isn’t particularly new. Since, say, 2000’s Camp David Summit, a negotiated peace with a PA in charge of East Jerusalem and 90+% of the West Bank and the entirety of the Gaza Strip has been the path that peace will likely take… when/if it happens.

Of course, for some odd reason, the OP doesn’t bother to quote the most elucidative part of the article:

Olmert’s claims aren’t new. They aren’t untested. And they certainly aren’t revolutionary. We’ve been there, done that. There’s nothing to suggest that, if there was a window, that it’s “rapidly closing”. There’s precious little to suggest that there’s even a freakin’ window. Or glass. Or glass makers.

The West Bank, yes. But why Jerusalem?

Well, that’s what makes this interesting. Why is Olmert, at the very end of his political career, suddenly doing an about-face on his position? Is it just that he always felt this way and now he finally has nothing left to lose by saying so, or is there more to it?

My uneducated two cent’s worth: he wants to depart on a different note than “total disgrace for financial impropriety”. “Having an epiphany about the peace process” is pretty well guaranteed to get press domestic and foreign, and could (somewhat) overshadow the less savory aspects of his legacy.

Politics. The city is a massive sticking point in any negotiating scheme, for both sides, especially its holy sites. Splitting control in some manner would serve as an excellent compromise and a fantastic pressure valve. What form any final agreement will actually take, however, remains to be seen.

There’s also “feeling like a scolded child and lashing out at his former backers to prove what a rebel he is.” or perhaps he’s just frustrated that his efforts during the last few months have been overshadowed by the corruption scandal, and he wants to reframe the debate with this weird pipedream that peace is right around the corner if Israel would just give up lots more land.

Whatever the basis for the bizarre statement, its actual content is cotton candy.

Not to hijack this into stuff other threads are beating to death but didn’t Greenspan think everything was peachy in the markets till he was stepping down and THEN he said that perhaps this whole subprime thing was risky? 18 years as the Reserve Chairman, presumably a very sharp guy, and he only realized this was “significant” when he left?

My point to all that was not to bash Greenspan here but to offer another example where someone seems to do one thing their whole career and then switch when it no longer is their issue to deal with. I suspect we could find more examples of this if we looked.

OK, here’s where all my liberal allies are going to jump up and down and hate me. Frankly, I think there already is a Palestinian state; we call it Jordan. But I’m willing to recognize that the politics of the situation necessitates that the West Bank be yielded to the PA. But once Jerusalem had gotten to that point, then Arafat immediately moved the goalposts and said, “No! That’s not good enough! It’s also got to include Jerusalem!” So what else is it going to require if Israel yields part of Jerusalem? A lot of them are quite openly not going to be happy until Israel is gone entirely.

It’s a tiny strip of land with no oil and few other resources of any value. Yet when Israel gets it, it suddenly becomes extremely valuable. What’s that all about? It’s about the economic development that European and American money has started and Israel itself has continued these sixty years, and it’s barefaced robbery in the name of Religion and The Peepul.

It’s living space. (I mean the WB, not EJ.) And you can’t imagine an economically viable Palestinian state without practically all of the WB, and particularly not if it’s carved up into Palestinian bantustans and Israeli enclaves and you have to pass through an armed guard at every boundary between them. As for Jordan, the idea that 2.5 million Pals might pull up and move there is obviously not practical. The idea that Jordan should annex the WB is practical, except that the Jordanians have zero interest.

It wasn’t 2.5 million in 1948.

Yeah, I know I need to let that go. And Israel is willing to let the West Bank go. But not East Jerusalem. No more goal post moving.

I think it’s generally a bad idea, for practical reasons, for a city to be politically divided.

Personally, I think that Jerusalem should go back to the old idea of a UN-administered enclave, independent of either country. Stop fighting! It belongs to the world.

I’ve always favored something along these lines as well. Somewhere back in the mists of time I even posted a discussion about something like that here but I am too afraid of the Search here still to look for something that old (likely out of reach and gone from a search anyway). :wink:

Acch. Easy to say this is what should be done. The hard thing is doing it in a politically feasible and security assured manner. Olmert was elected with that sort of deal as more or less expected. Now that he’s out he decides that the time is right? Yeah, great idea as long as someone else takes the chances involved in making it so. Feh on him. I wish Livni luck else Bibi is next up and then the window does indeed shut tight.

You have an opinion that settles it in your own mind, and yet in the real world there is still a problem. Imagine that.

Actually, what he’s saying is factual. The real world on the other hand, has a tendency to play fast and loose with facts if it means political hay.

When the Mandate was established, it had roughly 118, 000 square kilometers of real estate. Everything east of the Jordan river was barred to Jews. Of that, about 77% would become Trans-Jordan, which was later renamed to The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.

Now, as the name implies, Trans-Jordan straddled both sides of the Jordan due to the end of the '48 war. This made the residents of the West Bank and Jerusalem, literally, Jordanians. In '67 they ‘became’ Palestinians.

But all that aside, of course the emergence of Palestinian nationalism means that they won’t move to Jordan in droves. However, the nature of the Mandate really does suggest that if this is about having adequate space and resources, that Jordan should be coughing some up as well. But, of course, we’ve had 60 years of Israel being expected to solve the problem and Arab states, even when they’ve kept Palesitnians in ghettos and instituted apartheid policies prohibiting Palestinians from living, working or immigrating into the main populace. Heck, do you remember the massive international outrage when when Jordan smashed Nahr el-Bared? Probably not, since there pretty much was none.

So it’s unlikely that “Israel must fix it!” will, at any time, really morph into “Israel and some of the Arab states must work to fix it.” But there’s a factual basis behind the idea that Jordan has a connection to the partitioning of Mandate territory.

Oy! is a she.

The area formerly known as Palestine and then as Trans-Jordan was split into two pieces, a bigger one and a smaller one. The bigger one was given to the Arabs and called Jordan. The smaller one was given to the Jews and called Israel. Apparently that wasn’t good enough. In 1967, the Arab states tried to eliminate Israel, and Israel kicked the crap out of them and took little slices out of them. And kept the slices. Imagine that. Especially since those slices had been taken by force in 1948-9.

THe Palestinians (i.e. the inhabitants of the West Bank) have been a problem because no other Arab state wanted them, and this way they could have their cake and eat it too - they could avoid having the Palestinians (good) and blame Israel for it (better). For some reason, Europe and the liberal US has bought this hook, line, and sinker.

But, again, the majority in Israel has been willing for years to let the West Bank go. But the Palestinians move the goal posts. I have to assume that peace is not really what is wanted by the Palestinians. I’m not sure what is wanted - victimhood or martyrdom?

The Western Powers had no right to carve up and give anything to anyone.

In 1967 the Israelis, thinking it in their best interest, initiated a pre-emptive attack against the Arab nations surrounding it. Israel thought in good faith that they were about to be attacked. This, incidentally, is a much better example of the right to pre-emptive war the Bush’s WMD lies. It gets the arguable cover of international law because Israel reasonably thought it was going to be attacked. Your post implies that the Arabs invaded and shot first. Not so. It is highly likely that they were going to do so.

You seem to be arguing a right of conquest. Good luck with that in the long term. That is the way of chaos and war and hatred. War is an uncontrollable demon. I only pray for peace for all these people who should soften their hearts and learn to live side by side.

No other Arab state wanted the Palestinians because they were not nationals of any other state, they were Palestinians. No nation in the world takes the bizarre position that Palestinians are Jordanians except Israel. The Palestinians deny it, the Jordanians deny it. Palestinians are not some kind of unwanted human refuse, they are human beings who enjoy the same basic human right to live where they were born that anyone else does. Israelis do not have any superior claim to the land over the Palestinians outside of UN resolutions, and driving them out and making them refugees does not revoke that right, regardless of whether some of them make war or terrorism in protest. While criminal activity such as terrorism may remove someone’s civil rights, it does not remove human rights and they cannot legally be deported or driven from the land of their birth.

Goal posts is a useless metaphor. It is not a football game. Until the parties agree and enact a settlement, nobody is obligated to honor their own or anyone else’s offer. If the Palestinians do not wish to deal from whatever position of weakness or strength that they may have at any given time, they are under no obligation to keep their demands the same. The same goes for the Israelis. Demographically and historically continued hostility moves against Israel. Voting non-Jewish Israelis will in decades to come soon outnumber voting Jewish Israelis. The United States cannot remaind a world-wide hegemon indefinitely and continue to support Israel financially and militarily as thoroughly as it has. Over the course of time, a Jewish state in the middle east has a much better chance of flourishing in peace than it does in constant war and unrest.