Know More About Palestine

Sunday March 21, 2010 12:04 PM (EST+7)
OPINION: Jerusalem, settlements, and the 'everybody knows' fallacy

Read more: settlements, peace process, negotiations,

RAMALLAH,  Mar. 21 (JMCC) - Within negotiations between Palestinians and Israelis it is often considered that Israel will keep certain settlement blocs in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, as it has established facts on the ground. This consideration, termed as the everybody knows argument by an article in Foreign Policy magazine is depicted as fallacy by coauthors Lara Friedman and Daniel Seidemann.

The everybody knows argument is familiar. Those in the peace camp often say that everybody knows what an Israeli-Palestinian permanent status agreement looks like. Their point being: all that is needed is the political will of courageous leaders to work out the final, hardest details and sign the treaty.

But today the everybody knows meme has been cynically appropriated by Netanyahu and his supporters. Everybody knows these areas in East Jerusalem will always be Israel, they say, so when the Palestinians (and the Americans) make a fuss about new construction plans, it is just for political purposes, not because there is any real issue.

Those peddling this rubbish are guilty of transparent manipulation. Those buying it are guilty of having short memories and an excess of credulity.

In 1993, when the peace process was taking off, the settlement of Ramat Shlomo -- which last week caused such a headache for Vice President Biden -- didn't exist. The site was an empty hill in East Jerusalem (not no man's land, as some have asserted), home only to dirt, trees and grazing goats. It was empty because Israel expropriated the land in 1973 from the Palestinian village of Shuafat and made it off-limits to development. Only later, with the onset of the peace process era, was the land zoned for construction and a brand-new settlement called Rehkes Shuafat (later renamed Ramat Shlomo) built... 

Read the full article at Foreign Policy magazine...







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