Compromising Palestine: A Guide to Final Status Negotiations

Compromising Palestine: A Guide to Final Status Negotiations

Compromising Palestine: A Guide to Final Status Negotiations

Compromising Palestine: A Guide to Final Status Negotiations


In response to the challenges of bringing the tenacious Israeli-Palestinian conflict to an end, many have offered grand historical perspectives, vague formulas, or visionary new proposals. Aharon Klieman, however, goes beyond abstract reflections to offer a clear and practical assessment of which issues will be important in the upcoming negotiations, and why. At the top of his list is the partitionist strategy of dividing land through political and territorial compromise. Territorial partition -- an idea circulating for over sixty years -- becomes more prominent now, according to Klieman, and is the only viable option (if any) for ending the conflict. Compromising Palestine argues that while the Oslo peace accords are an important declaration of principles and provide a mechanism for peace, they are singularly ambiguous and do not provide tangible solutions, which must be sought through practical compromises and concrete plans followed to the letter by both sides. Falling between broad general discussion and actual operational plans, this concise, clearly focused, and beautifully written book will provide a very useful reference point for anyone following the peace process -- whether academic, policy maker, or general reader -- and will contribute to the quality of analysis at each stage of the debate during the crucial final status period.


Partition, which prescribes dividing contested land in order to avoid or to terminate ethnic conflict, is currently at the center of Middle Eastern peacemaking. And, we hasten to add, not for the first time in the long, singularly bloody and seemingly interminable Arab-Jewish struggle for undivided, unshared mastery over Palestine.

Here, in the much promised but overly compromised Holy Land, par tition has a past as well as a future. Both its history and its prospects are biased, however. Prejudiced in the former by a legacy of failure and in the latter by inauspicious, nonsupportive elements: geographic and de mographic determinants that defy notions of a “clean cut” or a “neat di vide” between Arab and Jewish nationalists.

Nevertheless, that said, partition's present and foreseeable centrality is all but assured. This is true irrespective of whether the many schemes now on the table for a permanent Israeli-Palestinian settlement explicitly refer by name to the redistribution and redivision of land as partition, or whether they choose instead to employ any one of a string of slogans and euphemisms masquerading as political and territorial partition.

Take your pick from a rich, bewildering array of themes and schemes that form the vocabulary of partition. the fine line in Hebrew between Arab and Jewish “detachment” (hafrada) and “disengagement” (hipar dut). “Permanent closure.” “Land for peace.” the “one land for two peoples” thesis … the “two-state solution” … “separation” as espoused by Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak … “territorial compromise” … “functional” partition … “hard” versus “soft” partition.

A unilateral declaration of Palestinian independence, with or without Israel's consent? the 1996 Beilin-Abu Mazin draft accords? Possibly a modified “Allon plan,” or Binyamin (Benjamin) Netanyahu's 1997 trial balloon of “autonomy plus, state minus”? Any one of Israel's “Jordan ian,” “Palestinian,” or hyphenated “Jordanian-Palestinian” options? Or perhaps one favors Shimon Peres's captivating vision of a closely inte . . .

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