11 April '11
(Excellent! While there are some specific points that I must disagree with, there is just too much here to give pause, to pass this by. YH)
Today’s Wall Street Journal publishes a letter from Richard Calkins under the heading “Maybe the Right Middle East Term Is ‘Peace For Land.’ ” Calkins argues that the order of the peace process should be reversed:
“Peace for land” calls for the Palestinians to accept responsibility to demonstrate a commitment to peace with Israel in return for statehood and land. . . . Unless Palestinians demonstrate an irreversible commitment to peace, they don’t have standing to expect statehood and an irreversible grant of land. Even this won’t work unless the international community accepts a legal obligation, via treaty, to enforce the agreement.
But maybe the right term is “Land for Defensible Borders,” since—as an anonymous soldier once said—“there is no such thing as peace.” There is certainly no such thing as an “irreversible commitment” to it. The Oslo accords were sold as such a commitment, but ended instead with a terror war initiated by the Palestinian who coined the phrase “peace of the brave.”
Nor is there such a thing as an “international community” obligated to enforce an agreement. After Israel withdrew completely from Lebanon, the “international community” adopted a “binding” UN resolution prohibiting rearmament in southern Lebanon, put boots on the ground to “enforce” it—and then didn’t.
UN Resolution 242, the founding document of the peace process, did not refer to “land for peace” but to withdrawal from an unspecified amount of territories for “secure” borders. In exchange for withdrawals from Hebron and Gaza, the Clinton and Bush administrations provided Israel with formal commitments of support for “defensible borders.” Those who accept indefensible borders in exchange for “irreversible commitments” of “peace,” to be “guaranteed” by the “international community,” are likely to be trading land for war.
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