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October 14, 2003
Unofficial diplomacy reaches agreement -- but who will implement it?

Negotiators from outside the governments of both Israel and the Palestinian Authority reached a peace agreement, but one with no weight whatsoever as Israel strongly denounced the effort:

Coming at a time when Middle East peace prospects are at a low ebb, the 50-page draft agreement was reached during the weekend in Jordan by the two delegations, which include current Parliament members and former cabinet members from both sides.

But the proposal has no official blessing, and the Israeli government immediately denounced it, calling it irresponsible freelance diplomacy.

"The public rejected these same political figures," Limor Livnat, Israel's education minister, said of the Israeli delegation, led by left-wing politicians. "In no democratic country would this be acceptable." The Palestinian Authority did not immediately comment, though the Palestinian team included senior political figures with close ties to Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.

Put into terms that we might relate to, it would be the equivalent George McGovern and Hubert Humphrey going to Hanoi in December 1972 and negotiating a peace agreement with the Viet Cong. Not that either of those men would have done that, mind you; they knew better than to interfere with American foreign policy in that manner. (Too bad Jimmy Carter never figured it out.) This may or may not be a starting point for future official negotiations, but the fact is that the democratically elected leadership of Israel should represent Israel exclusively. The Swiss Foreign Ministry should know better than to sponsor events such as these. Would the Swiss find it amusing if we negotiated on Swiss issues with a bunch of politicians they had voted out of office?

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at October 14, 2003 8:10 AM

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