The suicide bombings happened all through the negotiation process, up to the point when both the negotiations and the Barak government collapsed. There was no "refusal" to grant concessions, although the negotiations collapsed before some subjects were agreed.
This is just not true, Israel was not budging on "right of return" (which I find understandable) and was also not budging on only giving Palestinians a portion of their own land.
It is hard to know what concessions would have been made had the Palestinians not destroyed the negotiations with their suicide bombings, but Israel was making plenty of concessions before the process was derailed.
They were making many concessions on the part of the Palestinians, appropriating more of their land in the proposal.
The key Palestinian requirements are:
Full return to 1967 borders with fair 1-for-1 land swaps where that is inconvenient, East Jerusalem as their capital, and right of return.
Right of return is something they aren't ever going to get, but that is their legal right. They needed to compromise on this in exchange for financial settlements but the Israeli offer did not offer them a single one of their requirements.
Acceptance of 1967 borders is a tough enough pill for Palestinians to swallow, representing a significant loss of territory over even the UN partition plan that they initially objected to.
But Israel's offer did not even offer them full 1967-border lands, and carved up their own territory, often taking important water or roadways. And the roadway Israel proposed, that would connect Gaza and the West Bank was to be under Israel's control, with their ability to shut them off from each other at will.
Furthermore the sensitive issues of Jerusalem were not addressed appropriately, and the proposal would have also served to formally annex more land around Jerusalem.
It simply did not offer a enough contiguous territory or sovereignty to Palestinians, and in many many locations the Israeli proposal was to officialize more appropriation of Palestinian land and more territory annexation for Israel.
What concession(s) was Israel not making?
Israel made many refusals, some reasonable and others not. For example, Palestinians wanted full withdrawal initially, while Israel proposed their gradual withdrawal. The issues of timing were reasonable, but Israel wasn't budging from rejecting sovereignty to Palestinians over their holy sites in Jerusalem, and wasn't budging from their attempt to propose a Palestinian state with between 10% and 27% less land than existing UN resolutions say Israel should return.
Those 10% to 27% portions of diminishing Palestinian land was frequently strategically settled land by settlers, representing key strategic interests and if the Palestinians accepted it they would have effectively accepted the Israeli settlement of their land as official.
Israel did not show any willingness to make a legitimate proposal for a viable contiguous Palestinian state. People may differ on what they should have offered and what they were willing to, but my position is that they should have offered at the very least contiguous land removing more of the strategic settlements than they proposed, and a fair division of Jerusalem. I think Palestinians should have accepted financial compensation in lieu
of "right of return" but neither side was willing to compromise on these key issues.
I'll grant you that the Palestinians were quick to be the ones breaking off negotiations, and that certain Palestinian factions were refusing to negotiate with Israel at the time (Hamas was an opposition party at the time) but the notion that Israel made a viable offer is not a fair assessment.
Neither side was coming to the table with a mandate to make the required concessions from their peoples.
Actually, all the current positions I've seen so far offer less than Barak offered.
That's just not true. The US and international positions call for 1967 borders. Israel's offer was an initial concession of around 75% of this land and an eventual concession of around 90%. The lands they were not willing to give up were very strategic necessities, and a Palestinian state without control over the water resources they need, and with strategic portions carved out was just not viable.
Furthermore, the annexation that it would have made official is largely illegally-settled land that the world (including the United States) calls for Israel to quit (and Israel has since done so in some cases).
Yes, but the push to pull out of Gaza did not come out of the blue in 2005. They had been discussing it for a little while, and planning how to pull it off.
Yes, but Sharon had also entered running as the opposition candidate to the peace negotiations, and started his tenure with strong military action and occupation.
My point is that the first half of Sharon's tenure can't be ignored. He had a very spectacular metamorphosis late in his tenure and was initially not working toward a Palestinian state.
Because that is what Barak was trying to negotiate in 2000, and it is what Sharon/Olmert/Livni hope to force with their unilateral separation.
They were also trying to officialize too much settlement of Palestinian land, and still opposed a litany of requirements for sovereignty. Even with unilateral separation the blockade is an act of war, and Palestinian movement is still controlled. Sharon, when he became interested in resolving the dispute, began preaching that Israel would need to make "painful concessions", what he is speaking of are territorial concessions that Israel had previously not been willing to accept.
I welcome their efforts, but they weren't anywhere near what is needed to resolve this issue. Palestinians need to make painful concessions as well, but the Israeli offers up to date have not made the Israeli concessions.
What concession(s) did the hawks prevent Israel from offering?
Real division of Jerusalem, and a more comprehensive return of 1967 Palestinian land.
There is no need to pretend. That is exactly what the negotiations were leading to.
We'll have to disagree on this. Israel's offer would have represented an official acceptance of the majority of their settlement activity, and wouldn't have given the Palestinians the sovereignty for them to uphold their end of the bargain.
Arafat would have had to suppress Hamas without reasonable sovereignty (no official military capacity) and without concessions from Israel that would make that politically viable. Remember, it only offered "religious sovereignty" over Jerusalem holy sites, and still proposed demilitarization (how are they supposed to fight Hamas this way?), Israeli control over Palestinian airspace and the Israeli right to deploy troops in Palestinian territory. It was simply not any definition of real sovereignty, and even then there was uncertainty that the Israeli
public would have accepted the proposal.
Palestinian acceptance of the deal would have officialized more of the settlement of their land, and would have collapsed due to the Palestinian street's refusal to accept such a poor offer.
I don't think the Palestinians walked out. As I remember it, the negotiations collapsed because Barak's government collapsed. (If anything the Israelis walked out when their government collapsed and they lost authority to speak for the Israeli people.)
Well, they didn't want to publicly take blame for the failure of the negotiations, but Arafat effectively failed to negotiate at all toward the end of the negotiations and just flatly refused the offer. He was right to refuse, but should have come to the table with more in way of proposals and less in way of the word "no".
I don't think the negotiations were going to result in a viable solution, as I don't think either people were ready, but Arafat's position didn't allow any progress and I place significant blame on him for that.
What concession(s) did Israel steadfastly refuse to give?
Right of return (which I do not fault them for), real sovereignty over Islamic holy sites in Jerusalem, and full withdrawal to 1967 borders.
Israel flatly refused to withdraw except at some date in the future. They said that they would not withdraw as a "pre-condition to negotiations" but essentially weren't willing to withdraw at all as a result of negotiations and only promised an ambiguous future withdrawal while continuing to control Palestinian lands.
It certainly looked to me like they were getting closer. The maps kept changing as new offers were made.
Yes, but each offer they made essentially annexed more Palestinian land as defined by 1967 borders, which already represent significant annexation.
When Palestinians are fighting for their homeland, offers that propose to take more of it off their hands are not viable. Many Palestinians had not come to terms with even 1967 borders, but Israel's proposals would have eroded their territory even further from the green line.
Depends. I think Israel's recent war could encourage peace, if it leads to a cessation of rocketfire, and lets Israel pull out more.
I think that Israel can get that by giving Hamas what it most wants: an easing of the economic blockade. Killing over 1000 Palestinians is going to make it even harder to negotiate with them.
Who cares what the initial offer would have given? The offer was modified extensively as negotiations progressed.
No, you are misunderstanding. I'm not saying the initial negotiation offer, I'm saying that all of the Israeli positions would not have given Palestinians the land initially. The proposals were for a partial withdrawal in stages, and would have required the Palestinian crack down on their own people without the Israeli concessions and with a demilitarized PLA.
The Taba offer would have given the Palestinians 95% of the West Bank (in one contiguous block), East Jerusalem as their capital, and it would have transferred some Israeli land to Gaza to compensate for what land they would have kept in the West Bank.
This is simply false. The offer was for an initial 73% of the West Bank with only an eventual 91%.
The Israeli's final offer was to annex an additional 10% of Palestinian land.
I'd like to see anyone show how this offer was either unacceptable or unviable.
The world calls Israel to return to 1967 borders. Even its staunchest allies.
Israel's offer was to take an additional 10-27% of the remaining Palestinian territories.
Whether that is fair or viable is a matter of interpretation, but I don't think it was either.
That is wrong in two ways. First, Israel did offer to put "Palestinian religious sites" under Palestinian sovereignty.
False. They offered "religious sovereignty" but not the legal definition of the term. They were offering custodianship but not the legal concept of sovereignty.
And second, there are "no Palestinian religious sites" in Jerusalem. There are instead Jewish religious sites that Muslims illegally occupy.
Ok, name the law then. I can name the laws saying Israel's occupation of Jerusalem is illegal, so why not show your legal substantiation for this claim.
I thought it was a travesty that Barak offered to give up the Temple Mount.
Well I disagree, that was one thing I give him credit for, and that Sharon tried to ruin with his visit to the Temple Mount complex.
(To tell you the truth, I stopped supporting the negotiations at that point. One reason I now support unilateral separation is because it means that Israel does not have to give up the Temple Mount.)
Why on earth do you object to Israel giving up the Temple Mount? Israel's annexation of their side of Jerusalem would be Israel's gain from the negotiations. Right now they have the facts on the ground but not even the US recognizes it, they would basically officialize their Jerusalem annexation in exchange for sharing of the city with Palestinians.
What negotiation failure? Negotiations continued up to when Barak was voted out of office.
I'm talking about the summit end and the impasse.
There is nothing provocative about Sharon touring the Jews' most important religious site. He has every right to do so.
He may have every right to do so but that doesn't make it non-provocative. He was undermining negotiations with his proclamation that it should remain forever in Israeli control.
And Israel has every right to keep it forever.
As long as you get to make up rights that is.
If anything was provocative, it was the way the Palestinians on the site were digging up and destroying archaeological remains from the site.
Sure, killing four of them for throwing stones is not provocative.
Stones are deadly weapons.
They can be, but they weren't. Israel did kill Palestinians in return.
That's an interesting notion.
So you think the Palestinians could have been able to launch rockets while under occupation, but didn't bother because they had more effective means to attack at the time?
I don't think Palestinians had many rockets back then, as they could use more lethal attacks more readily. But yes, I do think they had the ability to launch rockets under occupation.
They are remarkably simple to launch (about as simple as a bottle rocket), and there's no military way to stop them short of killing every man woman and child.
Maybe so, but the rockets are still intolerable to the Israeli voters, and have to be stopped.
I agree, but I just don't think they are doing the right things to stop them, and I think that Israel has an objection to their concessions that is separate from this.
I think that if Israel were to embrace comprehensive parallelism they'd achieve this more easily.
I'm pretty sure that Kadima's unilateral separation plan intends to make "the wall" Israel's new border with the Palestinian state. As such, I think they are willing to give up everything "behind the wall".
The wall is not a full border, and also represents more annexation that they need to negotiate swaps for, but yes Kadima does seem to largely support an eventual two-state solution. But they aren't the only power brokers in Israel.
If Likud comes to power though, I'm sure they have other ideas.
Likud doesn't need to come into power to have other ideas, and they already have significant power in Israel that they use to oppose Kadima. Even if they fail to take control of the government they may succeed in disrupting the process.