Could 'Framework' Offer Elusive Breakthrough as Peace Talks Sputter?

Ami Ayalon Sees Kerry Plan as Game-Changer

getty images

By J.J. Goldberg

Published March 20, 2014, issue of March 28, 2014.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

(page 3 of 3)

In 2006 he entered the Knesset with the Labor Party, narrowly lost a leadership bid to Ehud Barak, briefly served as a minister and left politics in 2009. Since then he’s been working with an organization he created with several partners, Blue White Future, to promote constructive unilateralism.

An example of a constructive unilateral step, he suggests, would be “for Palestine to become a member of the U.N. — on condition that it be committed to negotiate a final settlement based on the framework.”

Up to now Israel has opposed Palestinian U.N. membership “because it was not a result of direct negotiations.” With a framework in place, Palestine would have its international responsibilities defined for it. And Israel would have a real partner to negotiate remaining issues, from borders to water rights.

“Statehood would dramatically change relations between Fatah and Hamas,” Ayalon said. “It would give legitimacy to the Palestinian leader. And it would make it much more difficult for him to demand the return of his people to my state.”

On the Israeli side, once the framework defines the basic outline of the border, “the prime minister can declare that we will not build on the east side of the security fence, but we will continue to build on the west side.”

Ayalon is currently pressing the Knesset to enact a voluntary relocation law that offers a package of compensation, housing, job training and counseling to Israelis living east of the fence — the 100,000 or so settlers whose homes would likely end up in the Palestinian state — who choose to move back to Israel proper right now.

The plan is not another failed Gaza-style withdrawal. Evacuation would be entirely voluntary. Those who want to wait and see can stay put. Israeli troops would remain in place until a peace agreement is signed.

But by passing the law, Ayalon would be sending several messages. “First, to the settlers: We sent you. Now we have an obligation to bring you home with dignity.”

Second, “the Palestinians will be shown for the first time Israeli settlers pulling out not as a result of violence” — most Palestinians, he said, believe the Gaza withdrawal was a response to the Second Intifada — “but as a result of Israeli commitment to a two-state solution. This will empower pragmatism.”

Blue White Future conducted a series of surveys among settlers east of the fence in 2008, 2012 and 2013. The cumulative findings, released March 17, showed that just under 30% would be willing to relocate, even without a peace agreement, if the government offered the resources. The figure rose to 50% if a peace agreement were reached.

If 30,000 settlers were to begin voluntarily returning home to a dignified reception, Ayalon says, it would utterly change the momentum — within the settler community, within Israel, in the region and internationally. It’s not a sure thing, but it’s even money. That’s as good as it gets these days.

Contact J.J. Goldberg at goldberg@forward.com


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • "Despite the great pain and sadness surrounding a captured soldier, this should not shape the face of this particular conflict – not in making concessions and not in negotiations, not in sobering assessments of this operation’s achievements or the need to either retreat or move forward." Do you agree?
  • Why genocide is always wrong, period. And the fact that some are talking about it shows just how much damage the war in Gaza has already done.
  • Construction workers found a 75-year-old deli sign behind a closing Harlem bodega earlier this month. Should it be preserved?
  • "The painful irony in Israel’s current dilemma is that it has been here before." Read J.J. Goldberg's latest analysis of the conflict:
  • Law professor Dan Markel waited a shocking 19 minutes for an ambulance as he lay dying after being ambushed in his driveway. Read the stunning 911 transcript as neighbor pleaded for help.
  • Happy birthday to the Boy Who Lived! July 31 marks the day that Harry Potter — and his creator, J.K. Rowling — first entered the world. Harry is a loyal Gryffindorian, a matchless wizard, a native Parseltongue speaker, and…a Jew?
  • "Orwell would side with Israel for building a flourishing democracy, rather than Hamas, which imposed a floundering dictatorship. He would applaud the IDF, which warns civilians before bombing them in a justified war, not Hamas terrorists who cower behind their own civilians, target neighboring civilians, and planned to swarm civilian settlements on the Jewish New Year." Read Gil Troy's response to Daniel May's opinion piece:
  • "My dear Penelope, when you accuse Israel of committing 'genocide,' do you actually know what you are talking about?"
  • What's for #Shabbat dinner? Try Molly Yeh's coconut quinoa with dates and nuts. Recipe here:
  • Can animals suffer from PTSD?
  • Is anti-Zionism the new anti-Semitism?
  • "I thought I was the only Jew on a Harley Davidson, but I was wrong." — Gil Paul, member of the Hillel's Angels. http://jd.fo/g4cjH
  • “This is a dangerous region, even for people who don’t live there and say, merely express the mildest of concern about the humanitarian tragedy of civilians who have nothing to do with the warring factions, only to catch a rash of *** (bleeped) from everyone who went to your bar mitzvah! Statute of limitations! Look, a $50 savings bond does not buy you a lifetime of criticism.”
  • That sound you hear? That's your childhood going up in smoke.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.