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An American IAEA rep demanded that Syria account to the IAEA for its nuclear program—bombed by Israel a year ago—or face the same type of isolation and sanctions as Iran. Never mind that Iran is not isolated in the first place, but actively exports oil and gas all over the world.

What is expected of Syria? Assad will not come out talking about his military nuclear program. At most, Syria would offer a laughable explanation for the  uranium traces in its destroyed nuclear site—something like its earlier statement that Israelis purposely contaminated the site with fissionable material. Presumably, at that point the US will apply sanctions and further isolate Syria, leaving it with Iran as its only partner.

Barack Obama might prefer negotiations with Syria. His secretary of state Clinton had already met with Assad despite the official US policy of isolating his regime.

On a positive note, any international confrontation with Syria freezes the Syrian-Israeli peace talks, which would cost Israel the Golan Heights and half of Lake Kineret, her only significant water source.

Palestinian negotiator Ahmed Qurei ostensibly attempted to lock Netanyahu’s government into Rabin-Barak-Olmert’s commitments. He made public Israel’s secret offers to abandon Judea and Samaria to Palestinians. The one positive thing is that Olmert-Livni governments made no offers on Jerusalem – neither on the East Side, nor the Temple Mount. This seems contrary to other information and raises the possibility that Qurei is playing into Livni’s hands: her voters would love to know that she offered no concessions on Jerusalem. This seems in line with her recent purported slip of tongue when she called for expulsion of Israeli Arabs to the newly created Palestinian state.

According to Qurei, the Israeli government offered to accept 5,000 Palestinian refugees over five years. Again, this is too good to be true; it looks like a promotion for Livni. We know that Olmert-Livni offered to accept 50,000 Arab thugs from refugee camps. At any rate, Palestinians rejected both figures as insufficient: they want their state free of Jews, and Israel swarmed with Arabs.

Much worse news come about the evacuation. Qurei asserts that Israel requested 6.8 percent of the West Bank. That’s about one ninth of Area C, now under full Israeli control and administration. By various estimates, one to four percent of Palestinian Arabs live in Area C, but instead of taking the obvious measure of relocating those few Arabs to their own state, the Israeli government contemplates massive evictions of Jewish settlers. This, too, goes well with Livni’s voters.

In other words, the government plans to evacuate 89 percent of  Area C. The plan also makes the separation barrier irrelevant: the fence takes 8.5 percent of the West Bank, more than the intended annexation of 6.8 percent. Basically, much of the mega-expensive barrier would be demolished.

The 6.8 percent figure places about 100,000 Jewish villagers in the Palestinian territories. Most of the Samaria settlements would face eviction. Though Gush Etzion settlements in Judea are earmarked for Israel, they will become indefensible as Arabs cut the access roads and keep pelting stones and firebombs at Jewish cars and buses. Palestinians, too, object to Gush Etzion, which is too closely intermingled with Arab villages for them to be feasibly separated into two states.

The numbers of Jews affected are too huge to be evicted. Most likely, the government would adopt a prolonged approach of dismantling Israeli settlements over several years. During that period, the army will take weapons away from Jews and curtail military presence. As Palestinians cut the access road and prey on Jewish villagers, Jewish settlers will move to Small Israel on their own.

Qurei also reiterated the Palestinian position that no Jew would be allowed to stay in the Palestinian state. Why don’t the Jews listen to their enemies—the normal people—and evict our own fifth column?

December 2008
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