Mofaz tables Disengagement+ in bid to top Livni
The internal battle for the Kadima leadership rolls on. Shaul Mofaz the party #2 seized an opportune moment (all Israeli political heavy weights abroad) to let loose a bombshell as part of his leadership bid, a new peace plan.. To recognize a Palestinian State!
[...] Under the plan, Israel would annex settlement blocs while withdrawing from 60 percent of the West Bank, comprising Areas A and B, where 99.2 of the Palestinians live, and additional land to create territorial contiguity. A Palestinian state would be set up in those areas of the West Bank and in Gaza, while no settlements would be evacuated at that stage.
Israel would then negotiate the fate of the rest of the West Bank and other core issues of the conflict with the leadership of the new Palestinian state, while passing legislation sanctioning compensation for settlers living in outlying settlements that would be evacuated.
“As a candidate to lead the country, I felt I had to present a plan” – Mofaz. [...]
Mofaz’s plan is very different than Livni’s Annapolis process, in which Israel would make no concessions to the Palestinians until a final-status deal would be reached on all issues. Bypassing Livni on the left, Mofaz said he would be willing to negotiate with Hamas under certain conditions to advance the plan.
“If Hamas would be elected and would want to negotiate and accept the quartet’s conditions, from that moment, it is no longer Hamas,” Mofaz said. “Responsible leadership in Israel would sit with those who changed their agenda.” [...]
Please everyone but Israel plan..
Not quite sure what if any benefit would arise from Mofaz’s plan. We already tried the disengagement plan in Gaza with poor results. This time out Mofaz seems convinced the entity leading this proposed Palestinian state may be Hamas from the get go, yet he’s undeterred. Isn’t the objective supposed to be gaining some peace? It seems highly unlikely any deal would result from this disengagement+ plan, we’d be in the same spot we are in now less the land and with 10x the security threat.
Equally, this doesn’t assist us in any way securing a regional peace deal with the Arab world. Sorta looks like a plan full of rewards for all the wrong people (including terrorists) with little payoff for Israel. Mofaz is clearly gambling he can rely on his solid right military credentials.. While leaping way left, poaching at Livni’s support base in the mix of Labor, Kadima, Meretz liberal soup that exists.
Time will tell how solid that keeps his right flank in Kadima & beyond. The center party is comprised of both right & left after all. Is this electable? Olmert certainly tried, but witness the backlash in Israel with the resurgent right as a result.
Not that it matters much – Hamas responds..
Former Palestinian Authority foreign minister Mahmoud Zahar of Hamas responded that it would never accept the Quartet’s conditions, which include recognizing Israel, disarming terrorists, and accepting diplomatic deals signed by the PA.
“Hamas will not negotiate with Israel,” said Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum. “We do not believe in engaging with the occupation, or in talks that would beautify its face in the eyes of the world.” [...]
Mofaz is gunning for Livni
Shaul is sure to get much more headway with his plan internally within Kadima. He upstages Livni who’s leadership qualities are being weekly challenged within the party, he even tosses in the fact Ehud Barak & President Peres support the initiative. All subtle jabs at Tzipi. Her personal relationship with Barak is frosty at best, and her own plan beyond opposing Netanayhu in everything remains obscured. The strategy of undermining her here is already paying off..
Kadima chairwoman Tzipi Livni on Tuesday slammed party rival Shaul Mofaz’ plan to open negotiations with Hamas in order to push forth the establishment of a Palestinian state, saying the concept ran contrary to their faction’s political platform.
While Livni would prefer to ignore the initiative of her number 2, however, she will not be able to avoid the issue for very long, as Kadima MKs are demanding a serious discussion. [...]
A number of Kadima MKs, some of whom supported Livni in her primary fight against Mofaz, support discussing his proposal. [...]
Not Ready for Prime Time
All in all it doesn’t look like Mofaz’s plan will gain much traction in the wider Israel arena, it’s too far left for the climate, not too mention dreamy in regards to Hamas. But I’m not sure it was designed for that purpose. With Bibi, Lieberman, Barak, Livni all clamoring at the top for the leadership of Israel stakes, it is a bit crowded up there right now.
Mofaz has other things to worry about, he’s got to knock Livni out of the Kadima leadership perch before he can play on their turf. His plan looks like the latest in a series of ever more forceful branch shakes.
Link Update: Mofaz taking heat & clarifying his Hamas statements (Jpost)
“I was the one who fought Hamas through the crosshairs of an Apache [assault helicopter], I stood behind the assassinations of [Sheikh Ahmed] Yassin and [Abdel Aziz] Rantisi and did everything I could to halt the suicide-bombers’ terror from Judea and Samaria during Operation Defensive Shield, and was in charge of the ongoing hits on top Hamas figures between 2003-2005 in Gaza. Nobody can doubt what I think about Hamas.”