Israel’s Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu has announced he will make a big speech this week [UPDATE: at the beginning of next week, Netanyahu’s office confirmed this evening. FURTHER UPDATE: It will be delivered on Sunday at Bar-Ilan University, as Obama’s speech was delivered at Cairo University. And, by the way, Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal will also deliver a speech from Damascus in the coming days, which will reportedly come after Netanyahu’s big speech, but which is also supposed to be a response to Obama]. Netanyahu has said he will present Israel’s idea for “peace”.
Maybe it will even be an “initiative”.
Israeli journalist Akiva Eldar has said, as reported earlier here, that the main Israeli objection to the Arab Peace Initiative is its name.
Now, after provoking most of the world into a tizzy by [rather recently] refusing to endorse a two-state solution, analysis and multiple leaks to the media suggest that Netanyahu believes he has gotten the American administration to agree to some kind of less-than-state for the Palestinians. The model mentioned today is Andorra (no longer Hong Kong or Singapore, or even Switzerland).
Netanyahu may want an “initiative” to supersede the 2003 Road Map.
Members of Netanyahu’s new government have spoken against the Road Map, but voices are now being heard extolling the advantages of this document to which former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon affixed some 13 or 14 reservations.
Even though Phase I has not been fulfilled in the six years since the Road Map was launched in 2003, the supposed benefits of Phase II, which calls for the establishment of a Palestinian “State” with provisional — not final — borders, are now coming under renewed examination.
(In addition, Phase II also calls for the Palestinian “State” to take its full place in the United Nations, where it is at presented only represented by an “Observer” mission.)
Over the weekend, interesting reports in the Israeli media suggested that Mitchell might push for an immediate designation of “provisional” borders. which would be in accordance with the Road Map’s Phase II (and should therefore accordingly accompany the creation of a Palestinian state), in order to know where settlement activity would be legal or not.
The notion that agreement on borders would clarify settlement activities originated in the Bush administration during the 2008 Annapolis process of negotiations, and was publicly articulated by former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezzaa Rice. However, she did not mention “provisional” borders — which is something that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has firmly opposed.