Monday, January 24, 2011

The Guardian writes:

Palestinian negotiators accept Jewish state, papers reveal

But did they?

Read on:

Palestinian negotiators privately accepted Israel's demand that it define itself as a Jewish state, the leaked papers reveal, while Israeli leaders pressed for the highly controversial transfer of some of their own Arab citizens into a future Palestinian state as part of a land-swap deal.

[B]ehind closed doors in November 2007, Erekat told Tzipi Livni, the then Israeli foreign minister and now opposition leader: "If you want to call your state the Jewish state of Israel you can call it what you want," comparing it to Iran and Saudi Arabia's definition of themselves as Islamic or Arab.
Erekat's quote continues on in the actual memo, "This is their issue, not mine."

The Guardian is purposefully mischaracterizing what Erekat said. He's even said the exact same thing in public! Israel, he says, can define itself as it wishes, but the Palestinian Arabs will not accept it.

So he was not in any way accepting Israel as a Jewish state, unlike how the Guardian phrases it.

The Guardian also tries to spin Livni as wanting to "transfer" Arabs:

The-then Israeli foreign minister, Tzipi Livni, repeatedly pressed in 2007-08 for the "transfer" of some of Israel's own Arab citizens into a future Palestinian state as part of a land-swap deal that would exchange Palestinian villages now in Israel for Jewish settlements in the West Bank
What did the Israelis really say?
Tzipi Livni: We have this problem with Raja in Lebanon. Terje Larsen put the blue line to cut the village in two. [This needs to be addressed.] We decided not to cut the village. It was a mistake. The problem now – those living on Lebanese soil are Israeli citizens.

Udi Dekel: Barka, Barta il Sharqiya, Barta il [Garbiya], Betil, Beit Safafa…

Ahmed Qurei: This will be difficult. All Arabs in Israel will be against us.

Tal Becker: We will need to address it some how. Divided. All Palestinian. All Israeli.

Tzipi Livni: We will need to address it one way or another.

Ahmed Qurei: Of course – it is in borders and territory.
Livni was saying that it is unacceptable to have villages divided arbitrarily, and what a nightmare it is for Ghajar in Lebanon. She, and Tal Becker, are saying that the villages should be in one state or another, not to continue to be divided. She is not advocating "transfer" in the way that the term is used, as ethnic cleansing. Since there would be land swaps anyway, this was an idea she floated, and that the PLO rejected out of hand. (Which indicates how much they want "Palestine" to be the state of "Palestinians.")

Al Jazeera is even worse.

From reading the memos it is clear that both sides were just floating ideas, looking for reactions, trying to get an idea of how the other side thinks about a variety of issues. The talks are very informal. To characterize them on either side as saying that "one side offered this" and "one side rejected that" is ridiculous; the memos reveal (from the Palestinian Arab perspective)  the mindset of the players and which "red lines"are pinker than others, but one cannot conclude from them that anything was really up for grabs.

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