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Speaking in Egypt, Abbas declared that not a single Israeli will be allowed in the Palestinian state. A sensible attitude, really, and good advice for the Israeli defeatists who accept 1.7 million Palestinians in our state.

But Abbas’ statement contrasts with his earlier position that Jewish settlers will be allowed to remain under Palestinian jurisdiction.

It would be a mistake to look for consistency in Abbas’ statements, as he continually maneuvers to placate whatever audience he is speaking to, but we had better take seriously whatever he said during the Egyptian summit.

Abbas does not want a peace treaty with Israel. He is comfortable with a de facto state which enjoys more per-capita aid than Israel. He knows that the Arab demographic explosion in Israel will solve his problems better than any negotiations.

For years we’ve been calling for the annexation of Judea and Samaria. Realistically, that won’t happen, and so the question lurks: why not draw the borders?

Mubarak asked that same question of Netanyahu during the summit. Drawing Israeli-Palestinian borders, even approximately, would have resolved the settlement freeze problem as both Israelis and Palestinians would have been able to build in their agreed-upon zones without restrictions.

The answer is, both Netanyahu and Abbas are too weak to sell any large-scale agreement to their voters. Procrastination is therefore a good policy; it allows Israel to anchor the lands. But we have built practically nothing in the settlements for eight years.

September 2010
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