If the U.S. administration’s ultimate goal in putting pressure on Israel to acknowledge the two-state solution and refrain from building up existing settlements was, as Jeff Goldberg posited, to bring about the downfall of the Netanyahu government, then it may be faced with a surprising development: the Netanyahu government now seems willing to accommodate. According to Eli Lake of The Washington Times, the Israeli prime minister will deliver a speech Sunday in which he will lay out the preliminary requirements for Palestinian sovereignty—which means the new P.M. has now signed on to a two-state solution. A future Palestinian state, Netanyahu will say, according to Lake, must refrain from developing an air force or army with heavy munitions or signing treaties with powers “hostile to Israel,” and it must recognize Israel as a “Jewish state” and “allow Israeli civilian and military aircraft unfettered access to Palestinian airspace, allow Israel to retain control of the airwaves and to station Israeli troops on a future state’s eastern and southern borders.” Such a program, which walks back from Netanyahu’s previously more dogmatic position of wanting to see “bottom-up” development of Palestinian infrastructure and economy before even considering a plan for statehood, would represent a return to the Bush-minted “roadmap.” So, if not quite a giant leap forward, this is a return to the status quo ante under Ehud Olmert.
On the point of airspace and radio waves, Lake quotes Hussein Ibish of the American Task Force on Palestine arguing that this a mere starting point for serious negotiations. “The idea that the Palestinian state will not have sovereignty over these aspects of national life is one thing, saying that there will be accommodations for Israeli security concerns something else altogether,” Ibish says. Demilitarization was something hashed out, with no conclusion, at Camp David in 2000 between Yasser Arafat and then-Israeli P.M. Ehud Barak. And it’s tough to see it having more success now.
Netanyahu Yields on Palestinian Sovereignty [WashTimes]