Netanyahu gives ground on Palestinian statehood

posted at 12:16 pm on June 12, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

So reports Eli Lake, who says that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will make an important concession this weekend in accepting the idea of a Palestinian state.  Israeli governments have previously accepted the two-state solution as their official position, but Netanyahu’s conservative coalition has generally opposed it.  Netanyahu has not renounced previous Israeli policy since taking office in March, but the public acceptance of the plan will be seen as a “major shift”:

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in a major shift, will accept the notion of a Palestinian state — a policy pushed by the Obama administration but resisted until now by Mr. Netanyahu, Israeli officials and Americans briefed on the Israeli leader’s thinking said.

The policy reversal, which is expected to go public this weekend, could help restart negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians and allow the Israeli leader to steer a course between Mr. Obama’s view and those of his own hawkish base.

The Israeli and American officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, told The Washington Times on Thursday that Mr. Netanyahu, in a major speech Sunday, will, however, set Israeli parameters for recognizing Palestinian sovereignty.

Those parameters include just about every kind of sovereignty encroachment one can imagine, which will make this a lot less serious of a proposal than Obama wants.  Netanyahu wants the right to station the IDF anywhere on the eastern and southern borders of the Palestinian state.  Netanyahu also wants carte blanche in Palestinian airspace, as well as control over their foreign policy.  That won’t mean independence for the Palestinians; it will mean a greater degree of autonomy, but still leave them in a de facto protectorate status, much like we have seen with Bermuda and the UK this week.

Of course, Netanyahu has good reasons for these demands.  If the Arabs attempt another invasion through the West Bank — the very reason Israel has the territory now — they will need both troops on the ground and planes in the air to fight.  They need both to deter a potential attack, too.  Israel will also want to ensure that a Palestinian state does not sign treaties with Syria and Iran that will put their troops on Israel’s borders.

These points demonstrate how difficult it will be to achieve a real two-state solution in this conflict with true independence for the Palestinians.  They have proven themselves untrustworthy in the extreme in more than 15 years since the Oslo accords, actively and openly encouraging terrorist attacks against Israel at times and financing and managing them less explicitly for the entirety of the period.  They get encouragement primarily from Iran and Syria, who funds Hamas, Hezbollah, and Islamic Jihad to fight a proxy war with Israel.  The Israelis cannot allow an independent state on their border become a satellite of the mullahs in Tehran.

Will the Obama administration hail this as a breakthrough?  Probably, because he needs to mend his fences with Israel and its supporters here in the US.  That will send some interesting signals to the Palestinians.

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kokobin on June 12, 2009 at 3:49 PM

Yes, you are very astute! /s
BTW, deploy george mitchell? laughing.. George mitchell has been ‘deployed’ here before, this fantasy of yours about george mitchell telling us what to do in our country is amusing. You know you should pick up a book sometime, this is not the 1st round for Mr Mitchell in Israel – The second we want him out of here that’s exactly where he will be – it happened to him before, it will happen again..

You know who runs Israel? Israel.
You know who everyone is afraid of here? Israel.
You know who routinely kicks everyone’s heads in here? Israel.
You know who has taken on every country here at once & won every time? Israel

You are on Fantasy Island. We are about to tell your GD one word.. NO, and George Mitchell can sit down and cry about for all it will help him.

You need to brush up a bit on facts. We’ve have dayton here now, we’ve had mitchells, and Zhinnis, and a whole crews of envoys living here.. When we decide we’ve had enough you know what happens? They go home and are FIRED. Mind if I call you coockoobin?

saus on June 12, 2009 at 4:53 PM

Bibi has put Obama between a rock and a hard place.

Finally Israel will know peace in our time through their own efforts.

Maybe Palestine will grow up enough to learn that too…

Skywise on June 12, 2009 at 5:18 PM

The Palestinians are lucky that Israel didn’t deport them from the West Bank and Gaza for good. Since 1948 they have consistently sided with Israel’s enemies only to end up losing more and more ground.

It’s about time for all of us to admit why the Palestinians and their Arab and Iranian allies can’t stop the violence. Their Islamic faith doesn’t permit them to accept Jewish control over Jerusalem and a sovereign Jewish state. End of story.

RedSwissKnife on June 12, 2009 at 5:41 PM

There must be a Palestinian state. No more settlements jibby jabba.

kokobin on June 12, 2009 at 4:51 PM

Ahh, I see, so you don’t HAVE any adult words. That language thing, grammar, speech, you never mastered it. Or else English is not your native language, which is probably more like it, you either speak Ebonics by nature or else, perhaps, Chinese or something from the Middle East.

Lourdes on June 12, 2009 at 7:07 PM

Guess the Israelis don’t mind handing over some more real estate that Hamas can set rocket launchers upon.

I hope he’s not serious.

Dr. ZhivBlago on June 12, 2009 at 7:53 PM

Unfortunately it may be time for Israel to start looking for a new ally. China will gladly pay $3 billion or more per year to Israel for top of the line Israeli military hardware. Israel today can survive without any U.S. aid. Is Obama really that stupid to think that he can threaten and blackmail Israel?

RedSwissKnife on June 12, 2009 at 10:37 PM

Of course, Netanyahu has good reasons for these demands.

I think Netanyahu’s buying time, nothing more.

ddrintn on June 13, 2009 at 12:42 AM