Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in a major shift, will accept the notion of a Palestinian state -- a policy pushed by the Obama administration but resisted until now by Mr. Netanyahu, Israeli officials and Americans briefed on the Israeli leader's thinking said.This comes across as a major concession, considering not only Netanyahu's position till now, but also the backing he has from Israeli opinion, based on a poll that just came out.
However, this concession comes with conditions:
• Any Palestinian state must be demilitarized, without an air force, full-fledged army or heavy weapons.Of course it remains to be seen whether Netanyahu's conditions fare any better than Sharon's 14 reservations.
• Palestinians may not sign treaties with powers hostile to Israel.
• A Palestinian state must allow Israeli civilian and military aircraft unfettered access to Palestinian airspace, allow Israel to retain control of the airwaves and to station Israeli troops on a future state's eastern and southern borders.
• Palestinians must accept Israel as a Jewish state, a nod to the hawkish side of Mr. Netanyahu's governing coalition that has raised concerns that the Palestinian Authority, which nominally governs the West Bank, does not recognize Israel as a Jewish state.
Ed Morrissey notes what the consequences would be if Netanyahu's conditions are met:
That won’t mean independence for the Palestinians; it will mean a greater degree of autonomy, but still leave them in a de facto protectorate status, much like we have seen with Bermuda and the UK this week.Which kind of makes the West Bank and Bermuda comparable.
This week it was announced that Obama wants to send the Muslim Uighurs who are detained at Guantanamo Bay to Bermuda.
John Hinderaker writes at Powerline:
The Obama administration has now found some of the the Uighurs, at least, a home--in Bermuda. As far as I can tell, they will be free there, the only constraint being that they can't come to the U.S. But then, why would they want to? Bermuda may or may not be Heaven on earth, but it's my nominee. If you haven't been there, you should go. But, if I'm not mistaken, you can only buy a round-trip ticket. Bermuda doesn't allow riffraff to hang around. You have to apply to get in if you want to stay for more than a week or two. Except, I guess, if you're an Islamic terrorist who has become an embarrassment to Barack Obama. It is a very weird world in which we live.Apparently, not only would Bermuda and the West Bank be protectorates (with the US theoretically assuming the position the UK has with Bermuda), but both will be a welcome home to terrorists.
The main difference would be that the West Bank is not a popular vacation spot.