Over the weekend, French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner suggested declaring a Palestinian state before borders with Israel are defined as a way of forcing Israel into meaningful negotiations.It appears that those 'bold confidence measures' are supposed to reflect Kouchner's confidence that he can get away with pulling the rug under Israel's feet, rather than actually inspiring confidence in the country that would have to deal with whatever arbitrary Kouchner and his friends come up with.
But Sarkozy backed away from such an approach.
In the daily Le Monde, Kouchner and Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos suggested that the European Union take bold confidence measures for both Israel and Palestinians to jump-start talks on final status like borders and Jerusalem. Then an EU-organized peace summit could help move the region toward a definitive peace and Europe would collectively recognize the Palestinian state.
As for Abbas--who technically isn't even of the Palestinian Authority any more:
The Palestinian president was less dismissive of a third way.Hmmmmm, 0 for 3.
"Negotiations first, proclamation of a state later," Abbas said before adding that he has not excluded reaching out to the UN Security Council if talks keep stalling.
The created Palestinian state must be "modern, viable, democratic," Sarkozy added.
Like Kouchner, the UN also insists on having its say. In UN “Peace” Coordinator: Jewish Heritage an Invalid Concept Jonathan Tobin writes about
...a statement coming from Robert Serry, the United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process. In it, Serry went out of his way to condemn the recently announced National Heritage Plan announced by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu because two ancient Jewish religious shrines were included in the list of sites to be preserved and protected. Serry objected to the inclusion of Rachel’s Tomb outside Bethlehem and the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron in the list of essential places in Jewish history, because the two are in the West Bank and thus, in his view, “occupied Palestinian territory.” The fact that they are located on land that is subject to dispute between the two parties is of no interest to the UN official who, despite his status as a peace mediator, is ready to dictate where the borders of a putative Palestinian state must be. But Serry’s argument is not merely one of borders, because in the same statement he claimed that the sites “are of historical and religious significance not only to Judaism but also to Islam, and to Christianity as well.”Tobin notes that we see that blanket statements can be made without any acknowledgement of the facts of history:
It is true that Christians and Muslims have an intrinsic interest in any biblical site. And since Muslims, like Jews, consider Abraham to be one of their patriarchs, they have a religious stake in the Cave of the Patriarchs. But Muslims have never been willing to share this most ancient of Jewish shrines with other faiths. Throughout the history of Muslim control of the land of Israel, through the Ottoman era and even during the time of British rule, Jews were forbidden to enter the cave and were, instead, constrained to ascend no higher than the seventh step of the entrance to the sacred place. Jewish prayer inside the cave only resumed in June 1967, after the Israeli conquest of Hebron, after which the two religions have shared the place despite the history of tension and bloodshed in the Hebron area.In the Middle East, there is no aspect of Israeli history, geography or culture that is exempt from those self-interest drives their intent to
As for Rachel’s Tomb, it is simply a lie to consider it anything but a Jewish synagogue. No faith but Judaism has ever held worship services in the place or considered it a shrine. Palestinian propaganda that has attempted to portray it as some sort of a Muslim site are of recent vintage and utterly false.
But much like the history of the Western Wall in Jerusalem, where Jews were forbidden even to visit while it was under Muslim sovereignty from 1949 to 1967 during Jordan’s illegal occupation of East Jerusalem, the only thing that has guaranteed Jewish access to both the Hebron and Bethlehem sites has been Israel’s control of these areas. Moreover, and this is a crucial point, the only time in the history of Jerusalem or Bethlehem or Hebron that these religious sites have been kept free and open to all visitors of all faiths has been the 42 years since the Six-Day War. Netanyahu’s Heritage Plan is no threat to other faiths, because only Israel is committed to religious freedom and the protection of all religious shrines. [emphasis added]
Technorati Tag: Bernard Kouchner and Abbas and Sarkozy.