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The alleged breakthrough orchestrated by Secretary of State Kerry last week between Israel and the Palestinians was the culmination of a series of desperate attempts to project the appearance of progress toward a resumption of real negotiations when, given the current circumstances, none are likely to occur.
For several weeks Mr. Kerry had been going back and forth between the Middle East and Washington and between Jerusalem and Ramallah, talking about a “package of ideas” that would lead to talks. He seemed at first glance to have finally succeeded, but on closer observation his achievement looks like little more than smoke and mirrors since the initial round of talks will focus on hammering out a framework for any subsequent negotiations.
Israel has already said negotiations should be resumed without any preconditions. And the Palestinians continue to insist they will only participate in substantive negotiations if Israel agrees in advance to accept the pre-June 1967 lines as the baseline for negotiations; stop all settlement construction; release all Palestinians imprisoned prior to the Oslo Accords; and recognize a Palestinian “right of return.”
These preconditions are not new and in fact have been sought by the Palestinians for years. So for all the optimistic predictions, we are still at the point of trying to resolve what has eluded resolution since the last round of talks collapsed.
In context it could hardly be otherwise. In a normal world, the Palestinian preconditions represent what they would achieve if they were wildly successful at substantive negotiations. So Israel’s position of no preconditions – leaving these issues for negotiations – would seem to be the more rational approach. Plainly, though, the Palestinians are counting on the U.S. to push Israel into making concessions, thereby narrowing the scope of what would be left for negotiations.
Indeed, there have been various reports circulating that Israel will tacitly stop settlement expansion, release some prisoners and accept some formulation regarding recognition of the 1967 lines. But to this point, except for the prisoner issue, there have been denials from the Israeli side. And, interestingly enough, not one word has surfaced –rumor or otherwise – concerning any Palestinian concessions. In fact, Palestinian spokesmen, including senior PA officials, have been fairly gloating that for them it is still all or nothing.
Sadly, what passes for movement in Washington these days is nothing of the sort. It is inconceivable that with all the upheavals and uncertainties in the Middle East, Israel should be expected to make existential decisions about its future, especially when its supposed negotiating partner holds sway in only part of the Palestinian world and even there is vulnerable to challenge by the strongly organized Hamas, which opposes and promises to thwart any agreement with Israel. Nor can Arab states that offer themselves as guarantors of any agreement be counted on as their governments are at risk from the spirit of insurgency that has gripped the region.
It is also noteworthy that while Israel was being prodded by Mr. Kerry to release jailed Palestinian terrorists, the Obama administration rejected Prime Minister Netanyahu’s request that the U.S. free Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard. Pollard, of course, can do no further harm to America, but the Palestinians released by Israel would include those still capable of killing Israelis. And so it goes.
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Latvia, July 4, 1941 they forced many Jews in the shul putting it on fire; everyone was burned alive
There’s blood on the reporters’ hands AND New Israel Fund for funding groups feeding lies to the UN
Respect & appreciation for our country is not only a civic value but an essential Jewish one as well
Israel, like the non-radical Islamic world. will be happy see the ISIS beheaded for once.
Kids shouldn’t have “uninstructed” Internet access, better to train them how to use it responsibly
What if years from now, IS were to control substantial territory? What world havoc would that wreak?
Rambam writes the verse’s double term refers to 2 messiahs: first King David; 2nd the final Mashiach
The Gaza flotilla has been rightfully and legally blocked by Israel’s Navy, with greetings from Bibi
The president described the attack as “an act that drew on a long history of bombs and arson and shots fired at churches, not random, but as a means of control, a way to terrorize and oppress…”
“The only [candidate] that’s going to give real support to Israel is me,” said the 69-year-old Trump.
And whereas at the outset the plan was that Iran would have to surrender most of its centrifuges, it will now be able to retain several thousand.
Now oil independent, US no longer needs its former strategic alliances with Gulf States-or Israel
Can adoption agencies limit the placement of children to heterosexual couples only?
It wasn’t too long ago that Mr. Erdogan, in his determination to burnish Turkey’s credentials as an Islamist state at the cost of the secularism that had brought much economic and political success to Turkey, upended his country’s decades-long cooperative relationship with Israel.
Does the pope really believe that Father Dehon’s destructive anti-Jewish calumnies do not disqualify him from the highest honor of the Catholic Church because in his time everyone did it?
There was something else of great importance in play – something we would have liked to see him take into account before deciding to stand with the boycotters.
“Let’s get something straight so we don’t kid each other…[the Iranians] already have paved a path to a bomb’s worth of material,” said Mr. Biden. “Iran could get there now if they walked away in two to three months without a deal.”
Beyond the particulars of this tragic death, however, we should all be concerned about the possibility that a criminal prosecution in a major American city is being driven by fear of mobs in the street.
Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/editorial/john-kerrys-smoke-and-mirrors/2013/07/24/
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