Monday, October 13, 2003

Ultraleftists Yossi Beilin and co. have been play-negotiating again with a Palestinian team in Amman, and - as they did in real negotiations at Taba - they're "offering" outlandish concessions that would never receive a mandate from the Israeli public (report). These include settling an unspecified number of residents of refugee camps into pre-1967 Israel, and relinquishing border control to an international force, no Jewish prayer on the Temple Mount. For years Beilin has been saying that Israel must accept in principle what the Palestinians call the "right of return" in order to strike an agreement; now he's saying that we should accept it only in practice and not in principle.

The Pali team say they "will pledge to prevent terror and incitement and disarm all militias" ("and we really really mean it this time") and agree that their state will be demilitarized (yeah right). I don't see that the Palis anywhere agree that this package would "end the conflict", rather than (as in the past) merely being the stepping stone to their next set of demands

Beilin and co. have provided a major propaganda coup for the Palis and have complicated any attempts to establish stability or agreements through other mechanisms. Good going Yossi.

More: Ynet adds (Hebrew link) that the 4-day discussions were quite tempestuous and that last-minute Swiss intervention and an Israeli threat to walk out rescued the discussions. Doesn't sound like a considered piece of statecraft if you ask me.

Oh, and the "signing" is going to be on the anniversary of the Rabin assassination in the presence of luminaries including Bill Clinton.

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