As the Palestinian Authority governs the Palestinians, and Israel has withdrawn completely from Gaza, Israel would have fulfilled its obligations even if five-year transitional arrangement still applied.
And as Professor Bell pointed out, the treaties do not require that Israel evacuate all of the West Bank and Gaza, as they state, “The negotiations will resolve, among other matters, the location of the boundaries,” clearly indicating the 1967 Armistice (Green) Line was not going to be the border.
LEGALITIES ASIDE, in the new Middle East, Israel should make its own counter-demands. And, unlike Egypt, Israel has valid complaints about the implementation of the treaty and what it has and has not received in return for its withdrawal from the Sinai.
While Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman has already made it absolutely clear and said “No” to any renegotiating of the peace treaty, let’s consider the alternatives.
If Morsy wants to renegotiate the treaties, then the primary item Israel gave up in exchange for the promise of a comprehensive peace – the Sinai – should also be on the table.
For each demand and change Egypt asks from Israel, Israel needs to, in turn, discuss the depth of Egypt’s withdrawal from the Sinai in exchange for that demand.
For instance, demilitarization of the Sinai was the key factor in Israel’s willingness to cede the territory. In clear violation of the treaty, Egypt apparently seeks to re-militarize the Sinai. The solution then is a tangible trade. For each battalion Egypt wants to add to the Sinai, Egypt should return a 25-kilometer strip of the Sinai territory back to Israel.
Egypt wants to raise gas prices (not actually part of the treaty and not that we need it anymore), we want Yamit back.
Egypt demands a Palestinian state? Well, that’s a very big demand, in which case, Israel should demand the return of the entire Sinai (and perhaps the Palestinian state can be placed there).
The formula is simple, they get, we get. This time, however, Israel should get something tangible, unlike that mere “piece of paper” which Sadat told the New York Times in 1980 “poor Menahem” got in exchange for the Sinai and the Alma oil fields.
Time has taught us a lesson in dealing with the duplicitous Egyptians. And it’s time we tried a radically different variation on the now proven to be failed Land-for-Peace formula, at the core of the Egyptian-Israel peace treaty. In the new version, the depth of Egyptian demands will determine the depth of the Egyptian withdrawal from the Sinai.
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