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Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Irrelevant tidbit or microcosm?

The hardline is to downplay the building in Ramat Shlomo in East Jerusalem, the recent announcement of which laid bare a watershed between Netanyahu and U.S. peacemaking efforts.

But, this analysis shows that many of the factors in the conflict are 'in play' in just the saga of this particular 'settlement' construction project.

Even more interesting is the story of the first, serious two-state proposal, nine days after the 1967 war (but still around the same time or just after bulldozing al-maghrib).

Reproduced after the cut.

The eulogies, which focused on his exploits as a Mossad spymaster turned diplomat, did not do justice to the efforts of Dr. David Kimchi. In a conversation I had with him in June 2007, on the occasion of 40 years since the Six-Day War, I discovered that there is no operation that Dave is more proud of than his peace initiative of June 1967. Nine days after the outbreak of the war, reserve intelligence officer Kimchi and his friend, Dan Bavli, formulated the idea of two states, Israel and Palestine, living alongside each other in peace and security.

In this document, which they prepared after a series of meetings with Palestinian figures, headed by attorney Aziz Shehadeh, they suggested establishing an independent Palestinian state in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

The new state, they wrote, would be connected to Israel via defense, economic and tourism agreements and others. It would not have an army, only a police force and the Israel Defense Forces would secure the Jordan Valley, alone, or in joint patrols with Palestinian forces.

Before the first Israeli brick was laid down in Arab neighborhoods of East Jerusalem, and after they checked the idea with the Palestinian leaders, Kimchi and Bavli wrote, together with two colleagues from the intelligence community, Yitzhak Oron and Aluf Hareven, who joined the initiative, the following lines: "Jerusalem will be annexed to Israel, with a special status for the holy sites, and an auxiliary municipality will be set up for the Arab part of the Old City. The Palestinian state will establish its capital at the closest possible point to Jerusalem."

The young officers even thought of a territorial exchange: annexing the Latrun salient and the Gilboa mountain range in return for concession of several Arab villages in Israel's territory.

Later on, as he contributed his great understanding to peace and conciliation efforts, Kimchi dropped this idea.