After calling out Joe Scarborough last week, Zbigniew Brzezinski sat down for an interview with Nathan Gardels in order to provide an unsuperficial view of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Unlike Steve Clemons, Daniel Levy, or Matthew Yglesias, Brzezinski actually says what he thinks a framework deal ought to look like:
The only way . . . to move forward is for the international community, led by the United States, to put on the table the framework of an eventual agreement. This agreement should be based on four fundamental points:
— No right of return for the Palestinian refugees. This is a very bitter pill for the Palestinians to swallow, though it can be sweetened by an international acknowledgment of their suffering.
— Jerusalem has to be equitably shared as the capital of two states, Israeli and Palestinian. Admittedly, this is a bitter pill for the Israelis. But the fact of the matter is that no peace will be viewed as equitable without this.
— An equitable territorial arrangement based on the 1967 lines, with some changes permitting the incorporation into Israel of some heavily urbanized communities beyond the 67 lines. In return, the Palestinians would be compensated with other territory, perhaps in Galilee and the Negev.
— A demilitarized Palestinian state with the deployment of American troops along the Jordan River, thereby insuring Israeli security by providing “strategic depth.”
Brzezinski argues that this deal “would, in my view, be supported by the majority of Israelis and Palestinians, and would isolate the extremists on both sides, both the settlers and the right wing of Likud in Israel as well as Hamas.”
This seems to me to be an excellent plan, but it’s got a big problem.
Here’s the question, Zbig:
Outside of Sari Nusseibeh, can you name any Arab or Arab-American leader–one–who would endorse this publicly?
I can understand why perhaps people in governmental authority might be hesitant to endorse this for fear of compromising their negotiations, but is there anyone in civil society who might be willing to support this? Because I can name you several in the Jewish community who would do so.
Brzezinski seems to believe that all that is standing in the way of a deal is American engagement and a couple of more weeks at the negotiating table. It seems to me that this is extraordinarily naive–not adjectives usually applied to Brzezinski.
Maybe I am wrong and he is right: I certainly hope so. But wouldn’t it be nice, a full eight years after the Taba negotiations, if someone from the Arab world or the Arab-American community would back him up? Just once? And if they haven’t, maybe that should lead him to reconsider things?