Even though it hasn't been made public (and even the Palestinians say they haven't seen such a "peace plan" committed to writing), I know - and can reveal exclusively for the readers of Lawrence of Cyberia - what exactly is in the Olmert Plan, whose details were "leaked" to Ha'aretz yesterday.
- severing Arab East Jerusalem entirely from the Palestinians of the rest of the West Bank (because East Jerusalem is the economic powerhouse of the Occupied Territories, generating more than one-third of GDP, and is the key to economic viability for a Palestinian state). You do this by building a "Jerusalem envelope" or ring of settlements around the eastern edge of Arab East Jerusalem - like Gilo, Har Homa, East Tapiyot, Ramat Eshkol, and more than a dozen others - so that when you magnanimously declare you will settle for annexing "only" the settlement blocs you also happen to be entirely severing East Jerusalem from the rest of the West Bank. You didn't really think the location of the major settlement blocs was decided by chance, did you?)
- annexing the Jordan Valley, which ensures the West Bank has no land border with the outside world, leaving it entirely dependent on Israeli largesse. (And seeing as the Jordan Valley is the breadbasket of the West Bank, annexing it also leaves the Palestinian reservations entirely dependent on Israel even for food).
- annexing those parts of the West Bank that control the Palestinians' water supply (you do this by building major Israeli settlements - like Ariel in the northern West Bank - on key points for dominating the West Bank acquifer, so that when you magnanimously declare you will settle for annexing "only" the settlement blocs you also happen to be annexing the water supply they control; you didn't really think the location of the major settlement blocs was decided by chance, did you?
- annexing those parts of the West Bank that allow the Palestinians meaningful territorial contiguity (you do this by building major Israeli settlements - like the largely empty but super-sized Maale Adumim, which extends from East Jerusalem almost to Jericho - at the narrow point of the central West Bank, so that when you magnanimously declare you will settle for annexing "only" the settlement blocs you also happen to be cutting the West Bank in two; you didn't really think the location of the major settlement blocs was decided by chance, did you?)
A new map of the West Bank, 40 years after its conquest by Israel in the Six Day War, gives the most definitive picture so far of a territory in which 2.5m Palestinians are confined to dozens of enclaves separated by Israeli roads, settlements, fences and military zones.
Produced by the United Nations’s Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs, it is based on extensive monitoring in the field combined with analysis of satellite imagery. It provides an overall picture officials say is even more comprehensive than charts drawn up by the Israeli military.
The impact of Israeli civilian and military infrastructure is to render 40 per cent of the territory, which is roughly the size of the US state of Delaware or the English county of Norfolk, off-limits to Palestinians.
The rest of the territory, including main centres such as Nablus and Jericho, is split into isolated spots. Movement between them is restricted by 450 roadblocks and 70 manned checkpoints.
The UN mapmakers focused on land set aside for Jewish settlements, roads reserved for settler access, the West Bank separation barrier, closed military areas and nature reserves.
What remains is an area of habitation remarkably close to territory set aside for the Palestinian population in Israeli security proposals dating back to postwar 1967....
(As a quick aside here, I should mention that what Israel refers to as the "West Bank" in its final status offers, is not the West Bank as it is internationally understood. When Barak, Sharon and Olmert talk about relinquishing x per cent of the "West Bank", they mean that part of the West Bank which is left when you have removed in advance from the equation Jerusalem in the West and the Jordan Valley in the East. Sharon and Olmert proceed from the assumption that those two areas will be annexed to Israel - Barak talks about the Jordan Valley remaining under long-term, "temporary" Israeli control, which amounts in practice to the same thing - and are not up for discussion. So when they talk about "giving" to the Palestinians 93 per cent of the West Bank, they really mean 93 per cent of that 80 - 85 per cent of the occupied West Bank that they are even willing to negotiate over).
The Palestinians aren't counting on Sharon. Nazmi Jubeh, one of the Palestinian signatories on the Geneva understandings and close to the PA leadership, was in a Netanya living room meeting on Sunday with Yossi Beilin, and explained what the prime minister looks like as seen from Ramallah.
In fluent Hebrew, Jubeh said that "under cover of the disengagement from Gaza, Sharon will complete the separation fence and expand settlement construction in the West Bank, west of the fence. He will say that Israel is only taking 8 percent of the West Bank and that we should establish our state in temporary borders on the remaining land, without East Jerusalem and without a solution to the refugee problem."
Jubeh says that he does not know a single Palestinian leader who would buy that merchandise, and warns that if Israel doesn't reach a deal with Abu Mazen in the next four years on the basis of the Geneva accords, the Israelis won't have anyone to talk to about a two-state arrangement.
-- Apres disengagement, le deluge; Ha'aretz, 24 March 2005.
And now we hear that the Olmert Plan is to get out of the West Bank (less Jerusalem, probably less the Jordan Valley)... except for a mere 7.3 per cent of the West Bank, which Israel will annex.