Netanyahu agrees to 1967 border for Palestinian state
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has agreed to restart peace negotiations with the Palestinians using the pre-1967 borders as a baseline for a final status peace agreement, according to Israeli media.
Officials in Netanyahu's office told various newspapers that the proposal is actually a package deal that also requires the Palestinians to recognize Israel as a Jewish state, something the Palestinian leadership has vehemently refused to do.
Below we get a hint as to what may going on:
Israelis see the Palestinian refusal to recognize Israel as a Jewish state as evidence that the Arabs intend to continue the struggle against Israel even after a supposedly "final status" deal is signed.
But the Palestinians have also been criticizing Israel for years over its refusal to base a peace deal on the pre-1967 lines, and so will have trouble brushing off that offer without appearing insincere in their commitment to peace.
If you actually go to the link, you will find the following comment, which I believe characterizes this situation: "I think he is playing high stakes poker here...knowing the PLO will never recognize Israel."
My thoughts as well, but this is a very risky game, and the stakes are very high.
It appears that Mr Netanyahu may be attempting to highlight that very fact - the fact that the "PA" refuses to recognize Israel's right to exist (the absurdity of that whole concept is a story for another day). But the "PA", now dominated by Hamas, is very capable of agreeing to such a statement while plotting an attack against Israel.
Israel has always been careful to not officially accept the pre-1967 borders because that is not what the UN Resolution 242 originally intended, and because doing so would surrender the Jewish claim to Judea and Samaria. It is for precisely that reason that the Palestinians want Israel to publicly accept the pre-1967 lines, and Netanyahu could be setting Israel up for trouble by doing so.
That represents yet another concern.
There is concern that Netanyahu feels trapped and that he must make such an offer with the Palestinians threatening to unilaterally seek international recognition for a Palestinian state at the UN in September.
The UN General Assembly is certain to vote in favor of a Palestinian state, and though the decision would not be legally binding, it would create a very sticky situation for Israel. By making this new offer regardign the pre-1967 borders, Netanyahu and the Obama Administration hope to head off the Palestinian UN bid and convince Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas to drop it all together.
One thing is for sure. If Israel does end up allowing for a return to the 1967 borders, or something similar, at invasion would be imminent. Historically, the surrounding Arab groups have seized upon such opportunities in short-order.
The last statement in this article may be the most significant:
Israel has taken what it likes to see as "bold risks" for peace in the past, such as the 2005 Gaza withdrawal. But, like with Gaza, all have so far proved to be bad risks that only increased the pressure and demands on Israel.
Why is that always forgotten?
At the same time, we appear to be seeing a notable increase in rockets launched into Israel, as yet another long-range rocket was fired into Israel:
Palestinian Grad rocket explodes near Kiryat Gat
A long-range Grad rocket fired from Gaza landed in open territory in Lachish, near Kiryat Gat.
A police bomb squad is in the area and is searching for the location of the rocket.
The attack represents an escalation in the firing of longer-range rockets. The last time such rockets were fired at Israel was in March, when a number of projectiles landed in the Ashdod and Lachish area, and schools in the area were closed.
Also Wednesday night, a Grad rocket fell near Ashkelon. Police said the rocket landed within Ashkelon city boundaries and damaged a road.
Today we also see another story regarding the plan for "PA Statehood":
Arab League finalizing PA statehood application for UN
Representatives of the Arab League were scheduled to meet in Doha, Qatar on Wednesday night to lay the final touches on the Palestinian Authority’s application to the UN for recognition of a Palestinian state on the pre-1967 lines.
The meeting comes as the PA leadership in Ramallah continues to face pressure from the US and EU to abandon its statehood plan and return to the negotiating table with Israel.
When the application is completed, it will be handed over to the UN secretarygeneral so he could bring it before the General Assembly in September, a PA official said.
“The Americans and some Europeans are calling us almost every day and asking that we drop the plan. But it’s too late now and they must know that the ball is in the Israeli court.”
The situation seems to be picking up momentum, and Netanyahu may have blinked first. One wonders if this is what the PA has had in mind all along - forcing Netanyahu to concede the 1967 borders and then agreeing to the simple demand of "recognizing" Israel as a nation.
It wouldn't be the least bit surprising to see the PA agree to these terms and then turn around and participate in yet another invasion of Israel. Attacking Israel with access through the West Bank and presumably the Golan Heights would present the most optimal situation since....1967.
We should watch this story closely.