Israeli “peace plan”: Olmert’s Plan Excluded Jerusalem, Offered Limited ‘Land Swap’

Israeli online daily, Haaretz, published the “map for a permanent solution with the Palestinians” that was previously proposed by the former Israeli Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert, to the Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas.

The “peace plan”, Olmert presented does not include any withdrawal from Jerusalem, annexes all settlements surrounding Jerusalem, and also annexes all settlement blocs to Israel. The plan was never officially presented.

He “offered” the Palestinians areas in the Negev desert and some areas near the Gaza Strip, in addition to a passage between Gaza and the West Bank.
According to the plan, Israel annexes %6.3 of West Bank areas and evacuates isolated settlements located deep in the West Bank.

It keeps the settlement blocs of Maaleh Adumim, Ghush Tzion, Ariel, and all settlements located around the Old city of Jerusalem, and considers East
Jerusalem and its settlements as part of the state of Israel.

The former Prime Minister ‘offered’ the Palestinians 5.8% of “Israel’s lands”, mainly desert areas, in addition to offering a ‘safe passage’ between the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.

The ‘safe passage’ or road linking between Gaza and the West Bank will remain under Israeli control and would always be monitored by the Israeli forces.

He offered transferring 327 kilometers of “Israel’s land’ to the Palestinian Authority; the areas are in the Beit She’an Valley near Kibbutz Tirat Tzvi; the” Judean Hills” near Nataf and Mevo Betar; and in the area of Lachish and of the Yatir Forest.

This means that even when the Palestinians ‘achieve independence’ they will still be subject to search and inspection by the army although they are supposedly moving between different territories of the ‘Palestinian state’.

As for the refugees issue, the plan rejects the internationally guaranteed Right of Return, and only offers allowing a limited number of refugees into the Palestinian territories, and not to their cities and towns wiped out in 1948 by the creation of the state of Israel.

Haaretz said that Olmert and the former United States administration, under George Bush, reached an understanding for the development of the Negev and the Galilee in order to house the settlers who would be evacuated from some West Bank settlements. Some of the settlers would be moved to West bank settlement blocs.

On September 16, 2008, Olmert “offered” Abbas a plan based on talks that followed the Annapolis Summit of 2007. But Olmert told Abbas that handing him the new map is conditioned by signing a ‘comprehensive’ peace deal so that the Palestinians would not use the plan as a starting point for talks on further evacuations.

President Abbas rejected the offer of Olmert and the office of Olmert never even handed him the map of the new plan.

Israel does not view the final status peace deal as an issue that would bring independence and sovereignty to the Palestinian people.

The internationally guaranteed Right of Return and all United Nations and Security Council resolutions calling for the full Israeli withdrawal for all Arab and Palestinian territories, including East Jerusalem, were fully rejected by Israel.

Ref: Imemc

Read more about the israhell “peace plan”

Ehud Olmert’s “convergence plan”
Olmert mentions a $10 billion price tag to his “convergence” plan, and implies that Washington will fund it. If the U.S. complies, writes Leggett, it “will likely be seen throughout the Middle East as assisting Israel’s bid to take permanent control of large settlement blocs and Jerusalem. The fear is that this would add to regional anger toward the U.S., complicating efforts to stabilize Iraq and promote democracy in other countries.”

Olmert’s convergence plan is intended to establish final borders, already visible in the form of the Wall. In their report “Under the Guise of Security,” [1] Israeli human-rights organizations, BIMKOM and B’Tselem, detail how the Wall has been erected to create prime real estate and hasten expansion of the settlements (which are illegal under international law). Olmert’s agenda highlights what peace activists have long been saying: the Wall is a long-term political border, rather than the “temporary security installation” claimed by Israeli military planners, when testifying at Supreme Court hearings.

…All this represents basic strategy: Israel intends to withdrawal unilaterally from minor areas in order to keep geopolitically strategic ones, especially Jerusalem and other blocs. The intention has always been to undermine Palestinian viability while controlling demographics. Jeff Halper’s “matrix of control” is another name for this strategy. [4] It is no coincidence that the Wall has grabbed the best farmland and most of the water (“Security or Greed?” asks Avraham Tal in Haaretz, April 20), and has destroyed all economic interfaces and market towns (Nazlat Issa, Qalqilya, Mas’ha, A-Ram, Abu Dis and Al-Azariya), while Israel has marginalised the Palestinian transport system.

The political die has been cast, and Israel is officially entering the world community as an Apartheid state, with unilaterally-determined, colonialist borders set in concrete, delineating a non-viable, truncated Bantustan version of Palestine, which will be trapped and stifled in the bear hug of Big Brother Israel. All of which is being accomplished with American and European complicity, contrary to international law and human rights.

Ref: EI

BOYCOTT ISRAEL – Stopping the Apartheid State

Israeli newspapers this summer are filled with angry articles about the push for an international boycott of Israel. Films have been withdrawn from Israeli film festivals, Leonard Cohen is under fire around the world for his decision to perform in Tel Aviv, and Oxfam has severed ties with a celebrity spokesperson, a British actress who also endorses cosmetics produced in the occupied territories. Clearly, the campaign to use the kind of tactics that helped put an end to the practice of apartheid in South Africa is gaining many followers around the world. Not surprisingly, many Israelis — even peaceniks — aren’t signing on. A global boycott inevitably elicits charges – however specious – of anti-Semitism. It also brings up questions of a double standard (why not boycott China for its egregious violations of human rights?) and the seemingly contradictory position of approving a boycott of one’s own nation.

It is indeed not a simple matter for me as an Israeli citizen to call on foreign governments, regional authorities, international social movements, faith-based organizations, unions and citizens to suspend cooperation with Israel. But today, as I watch my two boys playing in the yard, I am convinced that it is the only way that Israel can be saved from itself.

I say this because Israel has reached a historic crossroads, and times of crisis call for dramatic measures. I say this as a Jew who has chosen to raise his children in Israel, who has been a member of the Israeli peace camp for almost 30 years and who is deeply anxious about the country’s future.

The most accurate way to describe Israel today is as an apartheid state. For more than 42 years, Israel has controlled the land between the Jordan Valley and the Mediterranean Sea. Within this region about 6 million Jews and close to 5 million Palestinians reside. Out of this population, 3.5 million Palestinians and almost half a million Jews live in the areas Israel occupied in 1967, and yet while these two groups live in the same area, they are subjected to totally different legal systems. The Palestinians are stateless and lack many of the most basic human rights. By sharp contrast, all Jews — whether they live in the occupied territories or in Israel — are citizens of the state of Israel.

The question that keeps me up at night, both as a parent and as a citizen, is how to ensure that my two children as well as the children of my Palestinian neighbors do not grow up in an apartheid regime.

There are only two moral ways of achieving this goal.

The first is the one-state solution: offering citizenship to all Palestinians and thus establishing a bi-national democracy within the entire area controlled by Israel. Given the demographics, this would amount to the demise of Israel as a Jewish state; for most Israeli Jews, it is anathema.

The second means of ending our apartheid is through the two-state solution, which entails Israel’s withdrawal to the pre-1967 borders (with possible one-for-one land swaps), the division of Jerusalem, and a recognition of the Palestinian right of return with the stipulation that only a limited number of the 4.5 million Palestinian refugees would be allowed to return to Israel, while the rest can return to the new Palestinian state.

Geographically, the one-state solution appears much more feasible because Jews and Palestinians are already totally enmeshed; indeed, “on the ground,” the one-state solution (in an apartheid manifestation) is a reality.

Ideologically, the two-state solution is more realistic because fewer than 1 per cent of Jews and only a minority of Palestinians support binationalism.
For now, despite the concrete difficulties, it makes more sense to alter the geographic realities than the ideological ones. If at some future date the two peoples decide to share a state, they can do so, but currently this is not something they want.

So if the two-state solution is the way to stop the apartheid state, then how does one achieve this goal?

I am convinced that outside pressure is the only answer. Over the last three decades, Jewish settlers in the occupied territories have dramatically increased their numbers. The myth of the united Jerusalem has led to the creation of an apartheid city where Palestinians aren’t citizens and lack basic services. The Israeli peace camp has gradually dwindled so that today it is almost nonexistent, and Israeli politics are moving more and more to the extreme right.

It is therefore clear to me that the only way to counter the apartheid trend in Israel is through massive international pressure. The words and condemnations from the Obama administration and the European Union have yielded no results, not even a settlement freeze, let alone a decision to withdraw from the occupied territories.

I consequently have decided to support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement that was launched by Palestinian activists in July 2005 and has since garnered widespread support around the globe. The objective is to ensure that Israel respects its obligations under international law and that Palestinians are granted the right to self-determination.

In Bilbao, Spain, in 2008, a coalition of organizations from all over the world formulated the 10-point Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign meant to pressure Israel in a “gradual, sustainable manner that is sensitive to context and capacity.” For example, the effort begins with sanctions on and divestment from Israeli firms operating in the occupied territories, followed by actions against those that help sustain and reinforce the occupation in a visible manner. Along similar lines, artists who come to Israel in order to draw attention to the occupation are welcome, while those who just want to perform are not.

Nothing else has worked. Putting massive international pressure on Israel is the only way to guarantee that the next generation of Israelis and Palestinians — my two boys included — does not grow up in an apartheid regime.

Ref: counterpunch

Neve Gordon is chair of the department of politics and government at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev and author of Israel’s Occupation (University of California Press, 2008). He can be contacted through his website, http://www.israelsoccupation.info.

The Changing Face of Israel

Avraham Burg obviously believes that the occupation has had a deeply corrupting effect on Israel. But there is something else going on inside Israel that worries him greatly: the changing nature of that society. He says, for example, that “Israeli society is split to its core,” and although he does not detail the specifics of that divide, it is apparent that it has a political and a religious dimension. He believes that the political center of gravity in Israel has shifted markedly to the right. Indeed, he believes that the left has “decreased in numbers and become marginal.” He also sees the balance between secular and religious Israelis shifting in favor of the latter, which is why he writes that “the establishment of a state run by rabbis and generals is not an impossible nightmare.”

I would like to try to buttress Burg’s analysis by pointing out some trends in Israeli society that are having and will continue to have a profound effect on the Jewish state over time, but which are hardly talked about in the mainstream media here in America. Specifically, I would like to focus on the growth of the ultra-Orthodox or Haredi in Israel, and emigration out of Israel, or what one might call “reverse Aliyah.”

There were only a tiny number of ultra-Orthodox Jews in Israel when the state was founded in 1948. In fact, the Haredi were deeply opposed to Zionism, which they saw as an affront to Jewish tradition. However, their numbers have been growing by leaps and bounds in recent years, as has their share of the Israeli population. The reason is simple: on average, each Haredi woman has 7.6 children, which is roughly triple the rate for the overall Israeli Jewish population. Thus, the Forward reported in August 2007 that : “In the 15 years from 1992 to 2007, the proportion of Jewish children attending state-secular elementary schools dropped to 55% of the total from 67%; in 2012 it is projected to fall to 51%. The percentage attending Haredi schools, meanwhile, went from 12.4% in 1992 to 26.7% in 2007 and a projected 31% in 2012.”

The rapid growth of the ultra-Orthodox community has significant consequences for Israel, because only 30 percent of Haredi men work and very few of them serve in the military. More generally, it means that they are likely to play a major role in running Israel in the decades ahead. It is worth noting that in the recent mayoral race in Jerusalem, the ultra-Orthodox candidate, Meir Porush, said that, “In another fifteen years there will not be a secular mayor in any city in Israel, except for perhaps in some far-flung village.” He was exaggerating for sure, but his comment captures where Israel is headed, and why Burg worries about rabbis running the state.

The second trend is the large number of Israelis who have emigrated to North America and Europe, and are unlikely to return home. According to most estimates, there are roughly 5.3 million Israeli Jews and 5.2 million Palestinians living in Greater Israel. There are also about 300,000 individuals living in Israel who the Central Bureau of Statistics defines as “others.” Most are family members of Jewish immigrants or individuals who have Jewish ancestors, but not a Jewish mother, and therefore are not categorized as Jews by the Israeli government. If one counts these “others” as Jews, then there are 5.6 million Israeli Jews, not 5.3 million. Let’s do that, which means that there are 5.6 million Israeli Jews and 5.2 million Palestinians. However, not all of those Jews live in Israel anymore. It is difficult to get firm numbers on how many Israelis live abroad, because the government stopped publishing those numbers in the early 1970s. Based on various articles on the subject and conversations I had when I was in Israel this past June, it seems safe to assume that at least 750,000 Israelis live outside its borders. This means that there are now fewer Jews than Palestinians living in Greater Israel, even if you count the 300,000 “others” as Jews.

Furthermore, there is considerable evidence that a substantial number of Israeli Jews would like to leave Israel if they could. In an article that just appeared in the National Interest, John Mueller and Ian Lustick report that “a recent survey indicates that only 69 percent of Jewish Israelis say they want to stay in the country, and a 2007 poll finds that one-quarter of Israelis are considering leaving, including almost half of all young people. They go on to report that, “in another survey, 44 percent of Israelis say they would be ready to leave if they could find a better standard of living elsewhere. Over 100,000 Israelis have acquired European passports.”* I would bet that most of those Israelis who have opted to live in the Diaspora are secular and politically moderate, at least in the Israeli context. It is also worth noting that there has been limited immigration into Israel since the early 1990s, and in some years, the emigrants outnumber the immigrants.

This data seems to confirm Burg’s point that Israeli society is becoming more religious and less secular, and that the political center of gravity is much further to the right than it used to be. I can think of five possible implications of this evolving situation.

First, these trends will surely make it less likely that Israel will leave the West Bank and allow the Palestinians to have a viable state of their own. Greater Israel is going to be a fact of life, if it already isn’t.

Second, it seems clear that the Jews are going to badly outnumbered by the Palestinians in Greater Israel. The one key demographic fact that I did not include above is that the average Palestinian woman has approximately 4.6 children, while the Israeli figure is about 2.6 children. Greater Israel will be an apartheid state.

Third, young Israelis who think like Burg are likely to become increasingly uncomfortable living in Israel, and find the idea of living in Europe or North America increasingly attractive. And Europe, which will be facing wicked demographic problems down the road, is likely to welcome – if not try to attract – those Israelis who want to immigrate there.

Fourth, it is likely to be increasingly difficult for pro-Israel forces in the United States to make the case that Washington should maintain its “special relationship” with Israel, because the two countries have “common values.” There is not much similarity in terms of core values between the emerging Israel and contemporary America.

Fifth, it also seems apparent that it is going to be increasingly difficult for American Jews, especially younger ones, to identify with Israel and feel a deep attachment to it, which is essential for maintaining the special relationship.

In sum, Israel is in trouble, which is why Americans of all persuasions – especially those who purport to be Israel’s friends – should read Burg’s important book and start talking about it.

Ref: TPM

Also read the report in FP > The Changing Face of Israel

Perhaps the most contentious element of Yisrael Beytenu’s demographic agenda is titled “land for land, peace for peace.” Rejecting government “land for peace” initiatives with neighboring Arab states, it proposes instead to swap Israeli-Arab border towns (and Israeli Arabs) for close-in Jewish settlements on the West Bank. Even with Lieberman heading Israel’s Foreign Ministry, this proposal may not surface publicly under the Likud-led coalition. Land swaps are ideologically unpalatable to either the left, for whom Israeli-Arab rights are non negotiable, or the right, for whom each square kilometer secured within the Green Line (Israel’s pre-1967 border) is symbolic of national sacrifice. Nonetheless, the swap appeals to many within government and in the public. Moreover, it’s another of Yisrael Beytenu’s demographic game-changers: It might circumvent the impasse created by the settlements while taking a chunk of Arab population growth out of Israel’s political future.

It is probably unwise to attempt near-term political predictions for a system where new break away parties, comingled electoral lists, and governments composed of strange political bedfellows are commonplace. We offer just one: As the secular proportion of Jewish voters recedes, Yisrael Beytenu’s fortunes are bound to improve. And that secular proportion will indeed recede, unless, of course, the rules of the game change — which is precisely what Lieberman has in mind.

Zionism is racisim and makes Israel a racist state