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December 02, 2003

Taba and a Two-State Solution

I've been having a back and forth in comments with Joe on whether the Palestinians will ever accept a deal. He repeats the media-created meme that Camp David offered the Palestinians all they wanted and they still refused to negotiate-- showing their irrational and ultimate goal of destroying Israel. Just to remind people of this article in Slate by Robert Wright, hardly some leftwing apologist for the Palestinians, where he noted the readiness of Arafat et al to sign a deal-- just not the piss-poor one offered at Camp David. And folks who talk about Camp David always fail to mention Taba, where the Palestinians quite explicitly offered Israel parts of the West Bank in exchange for the final peace deal. As Wright notes:

In any event, depicting the Palestinian silence at Camp David as signifying opposition to a two-state solution doesn't mesh well with subsequent events. In the ensuing months, Palestinian negotiators got quite explicit about their position. By the time of the Taba negotiations, they were drawing maps and talking numbers: Israel could annex 3 percent of the West Bank and compensate Palestine with the same amount of land from Israel proper...

[T]hese negotiations don't justify what they're now being used to justify: the claim that the Palestinians will never accept a two-state solution.

So the Palestinians were always ready to deal, just as they are now with the Geneva Accord. It takes two to make a deal. It's as reasonable to say that the Israelis refusal to accept the Palestinians last offer at Taba shows their ultimate goal of destroying the Palestinians.

I don't believe either is true-- a deal is there, within inches at Taba, laid out in Geneva-- that all it would take is the United States telling Israel to sign on the dotted line to make it happen.

Posted by Nathan at December 2, 2003 03:43 PM