Alex Massie

1967 And All That

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How do you reconcile these comments?

Argument A: "Abbas and co have had a laughably free pass despite their serial aggression, bad faith, reneging on treaties and repeated expressions of exterminatory aggression and incitement to hatred and murder of Jews. Yet it’s Israel alone upon which Obama has dumped, by expecting it to make suicidal concessions to its attackers. At best, Obama remains even-handed between Judeophobic exterminators and their victims; that puts him on the side of the exterminators."

Argument B: "Obama offered the Palestinians nothing."

They're from the same post. If B is true then A seems odd; if A is true then B seems even odder.

Meanwhile, it's worth observing that most people in Israel (or rather most people who think there can be some kind of solution) are much saner than the hysterics in the United States Congress who cannot hear the magic digits 1967 without losing whatever grip on reality they may previously have been thought to enjoy. If you think a Palestinian state of some kind is a necessary part of any peace agreement and if you think Israel must end the Occupation at some point and do so because the Occupation is toxic for Israel itself then the 1967 borders are, almost by definition, where you begin the discussions. But adding land swaps makes it clear the 67 lines are just the broad outline for a settlement. Something like 70 to 80% of the settlements will end up in Israel.

Moreover, it's apparent that Netanyahu is playing his own game. He has not objected to people talking about 1967 in the past. All this foot-stamping in Washington this week, then, is either daft or a ploy to pretend or persuade people to believe that when Bibi accepts the 67 lines as the outline for renewd talks (if they ever happen) that he's making some grand and significant concession rather than, as will actually be the case, beginning from the same place as everyone else. See, for instance, this:

Dov Weisglass, who was chief of staff to then-Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, said in a radio interview that “anyone here deluding himself . . . that the drawing of the new map will be based on any reference point other than the 1967 boundaries is simply disconnected from reality.”

Of course ending the Occupation is fraught with risk and danger for Israel but so, increasingly, is maintaining it. That solves nothing either. Then again, Netanyahu's cheerleaders seem even less interested in a deal than he is.

Written byAlex Massie

Alex Massie is Scotland Editor of The Spectator. He also writes a column for The Times and is a regular contributor to the Scottish Daily Mail, The Scotsman and other publications.

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