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Friday, April 23, 2010
[Is Aluf Benn dreaming or reporting?] Netanyahu ready to agree to Palestinian state within temporary borders

[Dr. Aaron Lerner - IMRA:

To date Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has been fully aware that it is
fundamentally idiotic to agree to the establishment of a sovereign
Palestinian state without first resolving final status issues.

It is fundamentally idiotic because a sovereign state, once created, remains
a sovereign state even if it opts to violate the terms, conditions and
restrictions that were associated with the formation of that sovereign
state. And this is especially the case since they can cite the absence of
an agreement on final status issues due to Israeli intransigence to justify
their decision to violate the deal.

That Barak, Peres and Mofaz may fail to comprehend this doesn't make the
point any less true.

So what is really going on with this story?

Option #1: Aluf Benn, is pitching his own idea in the hopes that by putting
up this balloon it will take on a life of its own.

Option #2: Someone in the government is pitching his own idea in the hopes
that by putting up this balloon it will take on a life of its own.

Option #3: Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has lost his mind - or is
taking the incredible precedent setting risk of agreeing to something to
placate the White House on the assumption that he can count on it being
rejected by the PA.

Of course, anything can happen in this crazy world.

But, given that this isn't the first time Aluf Benn was off base when he
floated a balloon about a supposed Netanyahu decision the odds are heavily
in favor of options #1 and #2.]

Netanyahu ready to agree to Palestinian state within temporary borders
By Aluf Benn Haaretz Last update - 08:48 23/04/2010

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is amenable to an interim agreement in the
West Bank that would include the establishment of a Palestinian state within
temporary borders.

Netanyahu considers such an interim step a possible way to unfreeze the
stalled political process that was created because of the Palestinian
leadership's refusal to resume talks on a final settlement. However, the
prime minister insists on delaying discussion on the final status of
Jerusalem to the end of the process, and refuses to agree to a freeze on
Jewish construction in East Jerusalem.

Netanyahu and his aides have held intensive contacts in recent days with
representatives of the U.S. administration in an effort to contain the
crisis in the relations between the two countries. The prime minister will
meet Friday with U.S. Middle East envoy George Mitchell, who is visiting
Jerusalem, and will continue talks that senior Israeli officials held with
White House official Dan Shapiro.

There have been signals from the White House in recent days of a willingness
to see an improvement in relations with Netanyahu. The signals included
appeasing messages highlighting U.S. commitment to Israel's security, and
peaked with President Barack Obama's Independence Day greeting. Senior aides
to the president, including his chief of staff Rahm Emanuel and National
Security Adviser, General James Jones, also publicly expressed their support
of the strong ties between the two countries.

Both public and private pronouncements of senior figures in the U.S. and
Israel suggest that the formula for bringing an end to the crisis comprises
a number of elements: advancing an interim stage and a Palestinian state
within temporary borders; delaying the discussion on Jerusalem, with an
Israeli commitment to avoid provocations; identifying the areas in which
Netanyahu and Obama differ, with construction in East Jerusalem topping the
list; and a certain American toughening of its attitude toward Iran and

General Jones said on Wednesday in a speech at the Washington Institute for
Near East Policy, a well known pro-Israeli forum, that the differences
between Israel and the U.S. will be resolved as allies do. Jones called on
both sides, Israel and the Palestinians, to avoid provocations such as
Israeli activity in East Jerusalem and Palestinian incitement.

The formula of a Palestinian state within temporary borders was included in
the second stage of the road map of 2003, but the Palestinians, and Mahmoud
Abbas at their head, opposed it then and oppose it now, considering it a
recipe for keeping Israeli occupation of the territories in place.

Three Israeli politicians - Defense Minister Ehud Barak, President Shimon
Peres and MK Shaul Mofaz of Kadima - tried to advance the idea of a
Palestinian state within temporary borders during the past year, as a
reasonable recipe for breaking out of the current political stalemate that
was created since elections in Israel. Netanyahu is now leading toward their
view, after losing hope of moving toward a permanent settlement with Abbas.

If this initiative progresses, it is expected to result in objections from
the parties on the right, who oppose any concession to the Palestinians.
Establishing a Palestinian state in the West Bank, or even a partial
framework with temporary borders, will require Israel to withdraw from more
territory and perhaps even evacuate settlements. But if the Palestinians
reject the idea - as is expected - Netanyahu will be able to claim that they
are once more missing an opportunity for a settlement by being stubborn and

In an interview to Udi Segal and Yonit Levy on Channel 2 Thursday, Netanyahu
said "there will be no freeze in Jerusalem." He said that "the peace process
depends on one thing: removing preconditions to negotiations."

Netanyahu warned that if Israel withdraws from Arab neighborhoods in
Jerusalem, "Iran will be able to enter there," as it did in Lebanon and the
Gaza Strip, "but this will be as part of a final settlement. Meanwhile they
tell me that I cannot build and plan on French Hill."

Netanyahu said that in his talks with Obama, "I tell him I can go with you
on this - willing and able - but there are things I am not willing and do
not do."

He called on the U.S. not to wait for the UN Security Council and impose
severe sanctions against Iran on its own. "We prefer that the U.S. lead the
confrontation with Iran," Netanyahu said, "but Israel always reserves the
right to self-defense."

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