I used to tell myself, being devil’s advocate, that longtime US envoy and Israel advocate Dennis Ross must be some genius and that behind the opaque curtains of the Obama administration he had a vision that could save the two-state solution. George Mitchell didn’t get it. Condi Rice didn’t get it. But Dennis Ross in a Nixon-goes-to-China way did.
Well now all the secrets are revealed– and he has no ideas!
Ross has a piece in the Washington Post saying that all we have to do is let the Palestinians get access to some quarries in occupied territory, and that’s the key. The way to break the impasse between Israelis and Palestinians, he argues, is for Israel to take steps that show the occupation is shrinking and that therefore validate the leadership of Palestinian Authority P.M. Fayyad, not wicked Hamas. Oh and Fayyad has “nonviolent” answers to the occupation.
There is no mention of the nonviolent anti-apartheid movement in the West Bank. There is not a word here about Israeli settlements. Amazing.
What follows is the heart of Ross’s argument: some loosening of restrictions in the occupation. Sort of like rearranging the deck chairs. My headline comes from the Post’s stupendously stupid caption accompanying the article, offered below. Ross:
Finally, in Area C, which is about 60 percent of the West Bank, Palestinians’ security and police forces have no access, their economic activity is extremely limited, and Israel retains civil and security responsibilities. There is no practical reason that the Palestinians cannot be permitted dramatically more economic access and activity in this area.
To give one example, there are Palestinian stone masonry factories in Area A [under P.A. control], but Palestinians have limited access to the rock quarries in the West Bank, which are in Area C. In a case brought against Israeli ownership of the rock quarries, the Israeli Supreme Court ruled late last month that no additional quarries should be Israeli-owned. That ruling creates an opening for private Palestinian ownership, should any new quarries be established — and there clearly is room for more.
Expanding the Palestinians’ economic opportunities in Area C would do wonders for job creation and the overall Palestinian economy.
These steps should be feasible from an Israeli standpoint.