The tortuous history of the so-called ‘road map’ for a final settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian question has taken some striking turns in recent weeks. The (leaked) Palestinian papers show big concessions were offered to Israel on the settlement question particularly in east Jerusalem. The demand for a contiguous state of Palestine was dropped and the ‘right of return’ that perhaps kept many long-suffering Palestinian refugees in a spirit of hope and optimism was abandoned to placate Israel.
But Israel doesn’t seem to have responded. The Israeli and U.S. version has always been that it takes two to make peace and that the Palestinians were holding out for unattainable concessions and ignoring ‘facts on the ground.’ The opposite seems to be the case. Thus the old Israeli art of delay and equivocation is still very much alive and well.
The Egyptian uprising will be used as yet another reason to put the tattered road map on hold. The Israelis are pressing Obama to unequivocally support Mubarak on fears that any new Egyptian government could pose an ‘existential’ threat to Israel. So once again, the Israeli tail is trying very hard to wag the American dog. The outlook for a sovereign Palestine looks as far away as ever.