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Thursday, November 17, 2011

PLO now saying no to "land swaps"

From Gulf News:
The Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO) announced on Monday that it will very soon drop the "land swap" formula, which the it branded as a grave mistake that was included in any agreement with Israel.

Speaking to Gulf News, Tayseer Khalid, a member of the PLO Executive Committee, said that the formula was only mere talk by Israelis and mediators. "We have never signed an agreement with Israel, which states any shape of land swap formula," he added. "Land swap formula is a heresay [sic] in the track of negotiations," he said.

The Palestinians should have reached agreements on the borders and arranged for the withdrawal of Israeli troops and handled the other core issues before the land swap formula is addressed, he said. "It is time for this mistake to get corrected," he stressed.
As Daled Amos points out, the official PLO position had indeed included land swaps - as recently as June:
The Palestinian Authority passed on four official demands to the Mideast Quartet for discussion in upcoming meetings, PLO official Saeb Erekat told Saudi newspaper Al-Watan on Friday.

Erekat said the demands included a complete halt to all Israeli settlement activity, 1967 borders as the basis for peace negotiations with mutually agreed land swaps, EU support for reconciliation talks "which will strengthen peace opportunities" and EU support for a Palestinian UN statehood bid in September.
How many lies must the PLO utter before the world realizes that they are nothing but a bunch of liars?

This looks like a trial balloon. Abbas and his cronies have been repeatedly emphasizing the 1949 armistice lines  lately without any mention of land swaps, pretending that international law supports the entire area seized by Jordan and Egypt at that time as somehow being inherently "Palestinian." The UN stunt can be interpreted minimally as the PLO claiming all of the territories, and plausibly as their claiming the 1947 partition lines.

It seems that the PLO, feeling that they are in a strong political position, is abandoning the pretense of being interested in negotiations and is pushing for the world community to award them everything without any penalty.

This means that the entire negotiations track documented in the Palestine Papers was nothing but a sham - a sop to the Americans and the EU as they pretended that they were interested in peace when in fact they just wanted not to get on the bad side of the West. The goal remains the same as it was in 1974: grab what you can in stages and then position yourself to grab more.

And if that means to pretend to be moderate for a couple of decades, no problem. As we've seen, lying comes easy for Palestinian Arab leaders. And Western leaders can still not wrap their heads around the idea that people would lie directly to their faces.

(h/t David G)