Kerry’s Mideast Peace Plan

Judis outlines it:

The agreement would permit between 75 and 80 percent of Israeli settlers in the West Bank through land swaps. What settlements would remain, and what Israel would cede was not discussed in the briefings, but it’s likely that large settlements like Maale Adumim, where the controversial Soda Stream is produced, will become part of Israel under the agreement. …

Palestinian refugees would receive some kind of compensation, but so would Jewish refugees who fled, and in many cases were forced to flee, places like Iraq Syria, and Egypt after 1947. (Estimates are that about 500,000 of these refugees settled in Israel between 1947 and 1972.) That provision, one of the Jewish leaders commented, was meant as a “sweetener” to the Israelis. The Palestinians would recognize Israel as the nation of the Jewish people, and the Israelis would recognize Palestine as the nation of the Palestinian people. But one critical issue was left vague and unresolved. The framework will not propose a way of dealing with the future of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and Palestine. “That’s the biggie,” one person involved in the calls commented.

Adam Garfinkle doubts this effort will produce an agreement:

I hope this works, but I’m skeptical. My sense is that the sides are still about as far apart as ever on all the key issues. I’m disappointed to hear that Kerry buys into the recent Israeli demand that the Palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish state, which strikes me as a gratuitous and costly addition to the negotiating burden. I’m happy in theory that the Palestinian side has apparently agreed to allow discussion of compensation for Jews who left Arab countries after 1947-48, but in practice this is liable to raise an enormous can of worms given the diversity of the historical cases, and, like the “Jewish” state business, raise the cost to Israel in other ways of getting a deal that is sound on security grounds.

Stephen Cook expects the settlement issue to get in the way:

Based on Judis’ reporting, 75 percent of the settlers would remain under Israeli sovereignty in the West Bank through land swaps along with a residual military presence in the Jordan Valley for anywhere from 3 to 10 years and a host of other security guarantees.  What will become of the remaining settlers is left open to question. Still, that is a lot of people no matter what method is used to count the settlers. The Palestinians would be hard-pressed to like this deal, but their views do not actually matter much. The Israelis hold virtually every card, and given the configuration of Israeli politics where the right has brought down successive prime ministers, it is highly unlikely that the issue of continued settlements will hinge on whether Scarlett Johansson is hawking SodaStream or not.

Bob Dreyfuss doubts AIPAC has the strength to fight the plan:

First, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee tried, and utterly failed, to destroy President Obama’s critical diplomatic dialogue with Iran by pushing for a new economic sanctions bill that would have ended the US-Iran talks. Now, AIPAC will have to face a real, existential challenge, namely, the about-to-be-released “framework agreement” for the Israel-Palestine conflict, a framework developed by Secretary of State John Kerry over months of shuttle diplomacy into the region. If AIPAC hadn’t confronted the White House over Iran—and lost—it might have more muscle now to fight the Obama-Kerry plan for Israel-Palestine. Instead, AIPAC has alienated the White House and, no doubt, lost credibility with some members of Congress, especially in the Democratic Party, who’ve traditionally followed AIPAC’s lead on the Middle East.

Hassan Barari sees it as a lose-lose for Abbas:

Now, it is obvious that the Palestinian leader is in a dilemma. If he accepts that framework, he will face enormous Palestinian opposition and he will go down to history as a “sell out.” Nevertheless, if he turns down the framework deal, he will be blamed for the failure of Kerry’s effort. What makes matter worse for the Palestinian side is that even accepting the framework deal will not automatically lead to an independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital. It can only be a means for extracting enormous concessions from the Palestinians without real quid pro quo. Long time observers of the Arab-Israeli conflict argue that the framework can only keep the negotiations on for yet another year without real success.