Monday, August 13, 2007

What will be offered

As usual, no concessions to the Palestinians, not even to their boy Abbas. Gideon Rachman of the Financial Times:

"Even some members of Fatah and the Palestinian Authority argue that Mr Abbas is likely to be offered a deal that he can only refuse. One prominent Fatah member predicts gloomily: “We will be offered a state within the borders of the Israeli security wall, which will mean losing huge parts even of the West Bank. The Israeli settlements will stay. Our borders will be controlled by Israel. We won’t be allowed an army. There will be no right of return and the Israelis will effectively take over Jerusalem. This will be presented as a temporary arrangement. But the temporary would become permanent.” Mr Abbas’s allies say that it would be political suicide for him and for Fatah to accept a deal like that. Hamas would take over the Palestinian cause by default.

When I put this scenario to a senior Israeli official in Jerusalem last week, he replied: “The Palestinians are being over-optimistic. They are not going to be offered even that.” The Israeli military – backed, it seems, by public opinion – is unwilling to take the risk of handing control of security on the West Bank back to the Palestinians. The vast security barrier that the Israelis have constructed has helped to keep out suicide bombers. But rocket attacks have been launched against Israel from Lebanon and from Gaza. Similar attacks from the West Bank could hit Israel’s big cities. So the Israeli military is likely to argue for retaining the hundreds of checkpoints, all over the West Bank, which make daily life and commerce impossible for the Palestinians. Trips from one West Bank town to another – which should take a few minutes – can often take hours because of the checkpoints."

Defty put:

"They feel little need to take risks for peace."

Optimism should be put back on the shelf. Abbas is not the saviour, nor is the stance of subservience to an occupier. Life continues to be a misery.

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