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David Makovsky produces yet another "peace process" delusion

Years after they’ve left office, ex-State Department officials continue to spend an inordinate amount of their time trying to browbeat Israel into making more concessions.

You would think that after years of doing that for a living, they would find a different hobby to keep themselves busy in retirement.

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Consider David Makovsky. He was the right-hand man of U.S. Mideast envoy Martin Indyk, who earned a reputation as one of the harshest critics of Israel in the State Department. From his current post at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, Makovsky has conjured up yet another “peace plan” for Israel and the Palestinians.

The Makovsky Plan debuted on the op-ed page of the Washington Post on September 18. Makovsky has “overseen a project to document every Israeli settlement with satellite photography,” the Post reported. The reason Makovsky has been obsessively counting those Jews is because he has been trying to figure out how many of them would have to be expelled to make room for a Palestinian state.

Makovsky does not seem to have given much thought to the entire premise of his little scheme. The very fact that the Palestinians insist on the expulsion of every Jew from their intended state exposes the extremism and intolerance of the Palestinian case.

The idea of countries that consist of only one race or ethnicity – with everybody else kicked out – was supposed to have been a relic of a dark bygone era. But for some reason, Makovsky is actively promoting what a less polite person might characterize as ethnic cleansing.

According to the Post, Makovsky has concluded that in order to retreat nearly to the pre-1967 borders (you know, the borders Abba Eban called “Auschwitz lines”), Israel would have to evict “only” about 94,000 Jewish residents from the territories.

It will take some time, of course, to organize enough trucks for Makovsky’s mass deportation plan, so in the meantime he is pushing for an interim step, according to the Post: “Makovsky proposes a simple trade-off: Netanyahu stops building in areas beyond the West Bank fence, and Abbas stops paying off militants and their families.”

That’s an indecent proposal in every respect.

It sets up a grotesque moral equivalence between peaceful, legal Jewish residents of Judea-Samaria and Palestinian mass-murderers. It also wrongly equates peaceful, legal Israeli housing construction with the Palestinian Authority’s payments to terrorists.

Makovsky’s plan prevents Israel from doing something that is allowed by the Oslo accords, while the PA’s supposedly big concession is something the Oslo accords already requires it to do (that is, stop inciting terror and helping terrorists).

Worst of all, the Makovsky Plan resurrects the old State Department approach of forcing Israel to do something that is virtually irreversible, while requiring the Palestinians to do something that is easily reversible.

Here’s what I mean. If Israel were to formally agree to stop building in certain areas, it would be nearly impossible to ever resume construction. That’s because if Israel claimed the Palestinians were violating their part of the agreement, the international community would not take Israel’s side but instead put tremendous pressure on Israel not to start building again.

How do we know? Because every time the Palestinians have committed a violation of the Oslo agreement, the world has looked away and refused to heed Israel’s complaints.

As for the Palestinian Authority, it could stop paying terrorists for a short time, and then make some allegation against Israel as an excuse to resume the payments. The world would, as always, side with the Palestinians and Israel would be unable to do anything about it.

That’s why the Makovsky Plan belongs in the trash bin of history – alongside the countless other “peace plans” that his State Department friends have been promoting almost since the day Israel was created.

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Stephen M. Flatow, a vice president of the Religious Zionists of America, is an attorney in New Jersey and the father of Alisa Flatow, who was murdered in an Iranian-sponsored Palestinian terrorist attack in 1995.