Foreign Policy Research Institute A Nation Must Think Before it Acts Are the Palestinians Thinking the Unthinkable?
Are the Palestinians Thinking the Unthinkable?

Are the Palestinians Thinking the Unthinkable?

Israeli opposition leader Isaac Herzog attempted to negotiate a tentative peace deal with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas before the last elections. The Times of Israel:

According to the report, which cited an agreed document setting out the understandings, Herzog was willing to withdraw to the 1967 lines in full, with the exception of mutual land swaps on four percent of the territory. Land swaps would be negotiated so that Israel could retain control of its largest settlement blocs.

The final-status equation for Jerusalem would have seen the east of the city become the capital of a Palestinian state, with a single municipality responsible for the two capitals.The Temple Mount—the site on which the two ancient Jewish temples once stood and where the Islamic holy sites of the al-Aqsa Mosque and Dome of the Rock now stand—was supposed to be under the authority of a multinational force, but with Israeli sovereignty over the Western Wall, the report said.The Palestinian refugee issue was to be settled based on UN Resolution 194 and the Arab Peace Initiative, according to the report, with financial compensation for the majority of refugees and a “symbolic” return for some based on a “joint decision.”

Herzog did not meet Abbas directly, but employed Efraim Sneh as an intermediary, and he broke off contacts when elections were called.

Reactions to the revelations in Israel have been mixed, with Likud and Yesh Atid leaders both accusing Herzog of being irresponsible and foolish, but many on the Left cheering his efforts.What’s most significant, however, is that there hasn’t been much outrage at Abbas over the terms worked out with Herzog over the West Bank, which, as noted, included Palestinian renunciation of the right of return. A muted Palestinian response is, as far as it goes, a positive sign: The outrage drums aren’t banging, the outrage dogs aren’t barking. This is partly a silence of exhaustion, but it is also a tacit acknowledgment (which is as close as some people ever come) that the boundaries have shifted and that what used to be unthinkable is now thinkable.

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