Very revelatory piece from Haaretz on Bush’s upcoming trip and what Olmert seeks to get from the US President.
Israel is seeking to reach an understanding with the U.S. administration that would safeguard Israel’s security interests in a future final-status agreement with the Palestinians and during current negotiations, government sources have said.
Those pieces of understanding involve the following:
At the heart of Israel’s demands is that it remain free to act against terror in the West Bank for as long as negotiations last, and that demilitarization arrangements place limitations on the future Palestinian state.
They hope to get these agreements from Bush prior to the next round of discussions. The West Bank piece is obvious: the ability of Israelis to intervene/occupy the West Bank whenever they feel it is in their national interest.
The demilitarization piece is even more controversial I would imagine. The Israelis are going to argue that the security forces of PLO/Fatah are infiltrated with terrorist elements. (I don’t know if that’s true or not).
Israel would like the U.S. to agree to a number of limitations on the future Palestinian state’s sovereignty. Israel wants Palestine to be completely demilitarized, and for Israel to be able to fly over Palestinian air space. Border crossings would be monitored by Israel in such a way that the symbols of Palestinian sovereignty would not be compromised, but Israel would know who was coming and going.
This does not sound like a good start for negotiations towards two states. The Kadima party-gov’t also wants a trip-wire force in the Jordan Valley, something even then Prime Minister Barak (now Def. Minister) in 1999 didn’t push for.