Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, who is Prime Minister Netanyahu’s de facto “peace process minister,” is in Washington for talks with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, who is fresh from winning a supposed “concession” from the Arab League for the American-sponsored peace process.
Kerry has come up with a proposal to adopt most of the Saudi 2002 Peace Initiative, which is virtually everything that Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas has demanded.
Kerry’s mission is to make a deal. Getting Israel and the Palestinian Authority to agree on the final status of an independent Arab country under the aegis of the Palestinian Authority would be a glorious triumph for Kerry, possibly the stepping stone to the White House in 2016.
To get there, he is taking the course of least resistance, meaning the Israeli government.
Enter his real peace partner, Tzipi Livni.
Prime Minister Netanyahu holds the portfolio of Foreign Minister until there is a court decision on whether Avigdor Lieberman is guilty of fraud or can return to his former post. In the meantime, Netanyahu hurriedly bought Livni’s tiny party of six Knesset Members into the government by granting her the responsibility for handling the American effort for Palestinian Authority peace talks, one of Livni’s pet hobbies.
She and Kerry have the same goal, a deal at any cost with the prize of international admiration.
He came away from a meeting with the Arab League last week and tried to sell Israel a bill of goods of the Great Concession: The Arab supposedly are prepared to amend the Saudi 2002 Peace Initiative and back “land swaps,” meaning Israel would have their approval for sovereignty over a small amount of the land that was restored to the country in the Six-Day War in 1967.
In return, Israel would fork over an equal amount of land that has been part of the country since 1948.
Qatari Prime Minister Sheik al-Thani, whose kingdom has been unusually aggressive in handing out fat checks to Hamas and is pouring money into Arab areas of Jerusalem as well as the Palestinian Authority, led the Arab League delegation.
He agreed that perhaps – maybe if this and maybe if that, and if Israel behaves – the League could agree to “minor” land swaps.
For Kerry, this was a big concession. He “broke” the back of the Arabs and all that is left for him to do is tell Israel it is the best thing for the country since felafel.
“The Arab League delegation affirmed … the two-state solution on the basis of the 4th of June 1967 line, with the (possibility) of comparable and mutual agreed minor swap of the land,” he declared.
Of course, no one has any idea of what “minor” land swaps could mean, but you can rest your bottom dinar it does not mean that Israel would retain Gush Etzion. Maaleh Adumim? Maybe. Maybe not.
Perhaps the Jerusalem neighborhoods of Ramot, French Hill, Pisgat Ze’ev and Talpiot, among others? Could be.
And Gilo? Probably not.
It does not matter now. The most important thing for Kerry and Livni, his one-woman Israeli government fan club, is to talk it up. It does not matter to them that Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal already has rejected the idea. But they can take of him later and drop Hamas from the list of outlawed terrorist organizations, make it a legal terrorist group, and everything will be just fine.
Livni said the Qatari prime minister’s grand concession of possibly, just maybe, agreeing to a minor land swap was “very positive news.”
And what would land would Israel give up in this “minor” swap. Most likely, enough land to link Gaza with Judea and Samaria.
Of course there is one not so minor point that Kerry has forgotten. Actually, he has not forgotten because the State Dept. does not know any better.
What Israeli Arab in his right mind would give up all the benefits and security he gets from the Israeli government and become subjects of the Palestinian Authority in order to help Kerry’s political career?