then there is just about scope for an outline agreement on future borders. Israel gets the land up to the security barrier, but there are three red lines. (1) It depends on Israel being able to provide 1:1 land swops to compensate for the land it gains. This has not been the case in the past, the small pockets of land it has offered in the Bet Sheahan valley, the Lachish salient etc do not add up to 8% let alone 10%. Israel is going to have to dig deeper or cut its aspirations. (2) Four projecting fingers of land into Palestine are non-starters, they cut across Pal communications and advance Israel to the edge of major Pal towns like Nablus, Ramallah and Bethlehem. These projecting fingers at Emmanuel, Barkan/Arial and Efrat won't fly and the Ma'ale Adumim one would need to be cut back to Ma'ale Adumim itself, not extending to the edge of Jericho. (3) There will have to be international resolution of Jerusalem. While the big Jewish settlements in the north and south - Neve Yaacov, Gilo etc, could be transferred to Israel, Arab East J'sem is another matter. I have yet to meet an Israeli who has actually been East of the Old City, Israel has no strategic interest there in absorbing close to 100,000 East J'sem Arabs - only the ultra-religious and ultra nationalist keep up the drumbeat of the undivided Jerusalem. In reality, the east is Al Quds, the west is Jerusalem and the dividing line is route 60. It would be politically difficult - therefore for the right politically impossible - to accept the division, which is why the Quartet and world powers need to impose it. It may seem illogical to have a Jewish Jerusalem and an internationally-controlled Al Quds, but that is the practical outcome. The remaining question is that of Israeli military bases in the Jordan Valley. If the JV goes to Area B status - PA civil and police authority - then it might be feasible to lease Israel certain military bases there, as say NATO allies had in Germany until recently, and provide them with controlled access, as long as the overall security control is in the hands of an international military authority. That would be necessary to ensure that the former occupier didn't start creating new reasons to interfere in the civil administration or ambitious new plans to make the Israeli presence more than an agreed short-term military presence. It was always a stupid idea to build major Jewish settlements so far into Palestine and Arial, Emmanuel and Efrat are the inevitable casualties of that extremist policy.
- 10:41 PM
from the article: PA official: Palestinians to rule on fate of Israel peace talks in days