After the Obama-Netanyahu Summit

(National Review) Dore Gold - The head Palestinian negotiator, Saeb Erekat, refused to accept the call coming out of the Washington meeting for direct negotiations between the parties. Instead, he demanded that, as a precondition, Israel accept the idea that it must start any talks with the Palestinians from the point where the previous Israeli government of Ehud Olmert left off. Certainly, Israel is legally bound by past agreements signed by earlier governments. But it cannot be obligated to abide by past negotiations that simply led nowhere. Imagine a Soviet negotiator trying to force Ronald Reagan to take Jimmy Carter's positions on arms control. It is a problem when U.S. officials say, "We all know what the solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will look like," because they base this claim on Israeli concessions at the Camp David and Taba negotiations at the end of the Clinton administration, which never produced a signed agreement. If leaders come to be bound by their predecessors' proposals, then, in the future, everyone will fear engaging in diplomacy and putting proposals on the table. Israel had democratic elections in 2009 that put in a new government with different ideas about how Israel must advance any future peace talks. It is putting security first, insisting on "defensible borders." Perhaps some Palestinians might want to pocket concessions offered in the past and hem in the current Israeli government, but that is no way to conduct international negotiations.

2010-07-08 08:10:12

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