Monday, August 16, 2004

What Arafat Refused

Ethan Bronner, in the Aug. 8, New York Times, reviews "The Missing Peace," a memoir by Dennis Ross, recounting his "12 years as the central figure of American Middle East peace policies." Sadly, if the review is right, few people will make it through Ross's book, which Bronner describes as "overly long and frequently dull. In 800-plus pages, Ross offers a landscape virtually devoid of humanity."

Which may be why Bronner dredged an important section out of the appendix, and laid it out in his review:

There has been much dispute over what was offered to the Palestinians in the 2000 Camp David meeting and in the months that followed. This book should end that discussion. The final deal, made orally to the Palestinians and Israelis by Clinton, is laid out in the appendix. Broadly, the ideas were these:

Territory: The Palestinians would get all of Gaza and between 94 and 96 percent of the West Bank. In exchange for what they would not get of the West Bank, Israel would be required to give up between 1 percent and 3 percent of its own land.

Security: Israel would withdraw from the West Bank over 36 months with an international force gradually introduced into the area. A small Israeli presence in fixed locations would remain in the Jordan Valley under the authority of the international force for another 36 months. Palestine would be defined as a "nonmilitarized state" with a strong internal security force and an international presence for border and deterrence purposes.

Jerusalem: What is Arab in the city would be Palestinian and what is Jewish Israeli. Palestinians would have sovereignty over the plaza of the mosques and Israelis over the Western Wall.

Refugees: Palestinian refugees would either move to the new state of Palestine, be rehabilitated in their host country, resettle in a third country or be admitted to Israel if Israel so chose. None would have the right to return to Israel against Israel's will.