It’s as if Ehud Olmert has set out to prove my point for me. A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about the AJC pamphlet, Israel’s quest for peace, which argues in a nutshell that Isr
Then on Thursday, Mr Olmert said ‘
"I am announcing to the heads of the Arab states on this occasion that if the Saudi king initiates a meeting of moderate Arab states and invites me and the head of the Palestinian Authority in order to present us the Saudi ideas, we will come to hear them and we will be glad to voice ours," Mr Olmert said.
"I think it is time to make a momentous effort in order to give a push to the diplomatic process... I am optimistic," he said.
So what is the nature of the ‘momentous effort’ and these ‘"big and painful" concessions’? Richard Boudreaux wrote in yesterday’s LA Times,
Olmert made it clear Sunday that his reservations about the terms demanded of
Nothing has changed then since Sunday when I wrote about Olmert’s absolute rejection of the thought of allowing even one refugee to return to their home in what is now
an agreed, just, fair, and realistic framework for a solution to the Palestinian refugee issue as part of any final status agreement will need to be found through the establishment of a Palestinian state, and the settling of Palestinian refugees there, rather than in
In an ironic twist, as Anthony Shadid reported in a moving story in yesterday’s
"They can't go backward, and they aren't moving forward. They're literally stuck in the desert -- no way back, and nowhere to go."
"I can't recall ever having seen this kind of situation in such a bleak environment," Breen said.
It is spring in Ruweished, the season belied by the desolate environs but still weeks before the heat that residents call unbearable. Respiratory problems are rife because of the sandstorms....
The Palestinian Authority has offered the refugees sanctuary, but
So the refugees are to be settled in the ‘Palestinian territories’, but the Isr
"You have not provided sufficient evidence that you have a well-founded fear of persecution nor that you have been and continue to be seriously and personally affected by civil war, armed conflict or massive violation of human rights," it read in part.
Another story, by Seth Mydans in Sunday’s International Herald Tribune, described the plight of millions of ‘Citizens of nowhere’.
Hidden in the back corners of the world is a scattered population of millions of nobodies, citizens of nowhere, forgotten or neglected by governments, ignored by census takers.
Many of these stateless people are among the world's poorest; all are the most disenfranchised. Without citizenship, they often have no right to schooling, health care or property ownership. Nor may they vote, or travel outside their countries - even, in some cases, the towns - where they live.
They are stateless for many reasons - migration, refugee flight, racial or ethnic exclusion, the quirks of history - but taken together, these noncitizens, according to one report, "are among the most vulnerable segments of humanity."
Without the rights conferred by citizenship, they have few avenues for redressing abuses, and little access to resources that could help them build better lives.
It’s rather frightening that the IHT can somehow devote an article to statelessness without a single mention of the Palestinians.
Anyway, beyond the refugees who will never get to return to their homes, it comes as no surprise that ‘a full return to the 1967 borders’ is not on the table either. As Bush wrote,
In light of new realities on the ground, including already existing major Isr
In other words, the only painful concession that Olmert hasn’t already explicitly excluded is
What this leaves us with, therefore, is the status quo. I’m not sure what Olmert might have meant by ‘painful concessions’. Perhaps he just meant that holding any kind of discussion of the issues with ‘the moderate Arab states’ would be painful. Or maybe he was just lying. I think the gist of it lies in the formulation he used, ‘to advance the peace process’. This is much like Condi Rice’s refrain about the ‘political horizon’. Olmert is content with the way the peace process has been progressing for the last thirteen years.
According to the LA Times article, ‘Isr
The only land that has ever been on offer, if it really was on offer at all, is land acquired by military conquest in June 1967. The principal import of the famous UNSC Resolution 242 is not creation of a Palestinian state, a matter that it never even mentions, but to emphasise ‘the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war’. So the land that
Beyond one side of the equation of ‘land for peace’ being a bit bogus, as the land doesn’t really belong to