The outline of the arrangement is known to all, the proposals resemble each other and the differences in opinion over the border can be bridged. Olmert suggested annexing 6.5 percent of the West Bank, and Abbas is prepared for a 1.9 percent land exchange. The Palestinian position has remained as it was in Yasser Arafat’s days, when it was presented in the Taba talks.
Israelis who took part in the formal and less formal talks believe that a compromise can be reached based on a 4-percent territory exchange. Is it worth insisting on 1 percent or 2 percent more to Israel to enable annexing yet another settlement and losing valuable time during which the occupation is deepening, the forces objecting to peace are strengthening and the conflict is escalating? Instead of wasting unnecessary funds on the settlements, wouldn’t it be better to prepare for evacuating and resettling the settlers?
Israel’s growing international isolation should remind Netanyahu that there is a price for foot-dragging in affairs of state and spur him to end the conflict as soon as possible and implement the two-state solution.