Thursday, January 18, 2007

Valuable Sea Front Property Denies Access to Peace?

Walking on Water in the Back Channel

The news of the back-channel peace talks between Israel and Syria is heartening, and the deal has the makings of mutually acceptable sense – which is why the American Israel lobby, the settlers and sundry Neocons will be horrified.

In fact Hafez Al Assad was offered an even better deal and turned it down over the ten metre wide strip of territory on the shore of Lake Tiberias. The British and French had drawn up the Mandate boundaries and left the beach, effectively, as part of Palestine to ensure what was then British control of the lake and the headwaters of the Jordan.

It was indeed allocated to the Jewish state in the UN partition plan, but one suspects that the Israelis would not be eager to cite that plan as definitive on the boundary front, since it would imply that their boundaries would shrink way behind the 1949 Armistice Line.

In 1967, the Israelis took the lot, and subsequently annexed the whole of the Golan Heights.

Anomalies are always interesting. Resolution 242 calls for Israeli withdrawal from territories occupied in 1967, and that presumably includes the Golan, and the strip of Mandatory Palestine along the lake – which presumably should fall to the Palestinian State.

One cannot envisage Hamas handing out beach towels and renting deck chairs to tourists along the strip, but at the very least, Palestinian negotiators, who have been very legalistic for the last decade or so, should be including this valuable seafront property in their negotiating portfolio and trying to get a good exchange for it.

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