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Friday, March 28, 2008

Which way toward peace?

Speculations on the endgame [aggregated from Jewish Current Issues]

[a leading Zionist think tank, the Re’ut Institute's], President Gidi Grinstein believes that if and when Israel and the Palestinian Authority sign a formal peace plan, the potential for major violence would be heightened, not diminished. . .

But David Makovsky, a Mideast expert who is senior fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, cautions against putting the brakes on the current peace talks. . . . His concern is that if the talks were to end . . . Hamas would take over the West Bank, paving the way for untold bloodshed and a one-state solution. . . .

A Shelf Agreement in Our Time
David M. Weinberg, Director of Public Affairs for the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies, has published an extraordinarily perceptive analysis of the current “peace process” -- BESA Perspective Paper No. 40, “Shelve the Shelf Agreement.”

Here is [part of] the Executive Summary:
The newfangled "shelf agreement" concept which now serves as the basis for negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians is unworkable. The concept has no foundation in negotiation theory, especially in the history of Arab-Israeli negotiations.

It incautiously assumes best case scenarios regarding the Palestinians which have no basis in reality; when in fact a durable "final status" agreement must anticipate all worst case scenarios. .... A performance-based peace process remains the only sustainable model towards a durable final settlement.

[H]ow can Israel, for example, sign a sustainable endgame shelf agreement with workable border crossing arrangements if it does not know the character or capabilities of the future Palestinian entity – and all it can do is assume the "nice" qualities of such?

...To simply assume – as the current negotiations do – that the planned Palestinian state will have outstanding, professional, loyal and determined anti-terror fighting convictions, is to flirt with folly. ...

Israel is seeking to will into existence a "moderate, stable, capable and democratic" Palestinian government – that does not yet have a foothold even in the in West Bank, not to mention Gaza. "

Tomorrow Rice travels to Israel for her 14th trip since October 2006 to push Israel into a final status agreement with an entity unable to fulfill even the agreements it has already made.