web analytics
March 6, 2015 / 15 Adar , 5775
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post


Middle East Reassessment

According to most accounts, the Obama administration is about to reassess its policy of trying to broker peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians.

As has been widely reported, the Palestinians have unilaterally opted to seek recognition from the UN rather than negotiate a settlement of statehood issues through negotiations with Israel. Seizing on Israel’s refusal to release the final 26 of 104 Palestinian terrorists Prime Minister Netanyahu had agreed to free, at America’s behest, in order to woo the Palestinians back to the negotiating table, the Palestinian Authority has filed paperwork with various UN agencies.

A reassessment of American policy is long overdue, but if it is to be meaningful it is crucial that the U.S. not miss the forest for the trees. It should now be clearer than ever that the Palestinians have never finally determined that as a matter of fundamental policy they would seriously seek to negotiate a reasonable settlement of all issues between them and Israel, just as it has been plain for some time now that it was Obama administration policy that fed Palestinian recalcitrance by raising unrealistic expectations.

To be sure, American policy had long opposed the growth of Israeli settlements, but at the same time U.S. policymakers acknowledged that in any negotiated agreement there would be land swaps between Israel and the Palestinians to accommodate the large numbers of Israelis living in the settlements.

This policy reflected the American position on UN Resolution 242, adopted after the Six-Day War; namely, that the land for peace formula it embodied was focused on providing Israel with defensible borders, with the parameters of a future Palestinian state a secondary matter.

However, President Obama changed the terms of the debate. His first secretary of state, Hillary Rodham Clinton, declared that settlement construction must stop, “no ifs ands or buts,” with no mention of Israeli security concerns. And when the president himself declared the “ ‘67 lines” would be the “framework” for the negotiations, he in essence proclaimed the presumptive legitimacy of a Palestinian state in terms of a specific landmass subject to relatively minor adjustments.

Although Mr. Obama later spoke of “Israeli security requirements” and “recognized borders that reflect subsequent developments,” a tectonic shift in U.S. policy, as understood by both Palestinians and Israelis, had occurred.

Understandably, this caused the Palestinians to harden their position. Certainly, however, Israel, as the victor in 1967, was not about to abandon a formula that in effect discouraged Arab efforts at politicide.

So the pattern we now see is all the more understandable: As the Palestinian Authority sees it, negotiations with Israel cannot not be premised on meaningful Palestinian concessions. Essentially, in the Palestinian view, negotiations are merely a mechanism to provide the Palestinians with what they want.

This suggests an important context for Israel’s refusal to free the final group of prisoners. It did not come in a vacuum. In fact, it followed the Palestinians’ habit of making policy statements to the international media that they would never recognize Israel as a Jewish state, never compromise the goal of East Jerusalem as their capital, never negotiate away a legal right of return for Palestinians claiming refugee status, never give up “one inch of Palestinian land” and never agree to a final settlement of all Palestinian claims against Israel.

Surely if the release of prisoners was designed to promote further negotiations, these definitive statements raise the question of what such negotiations would have accomplished.

That the Palestinians would have differing views on these issues from Israel is not surprising. But what is confounding is that they still insist there is some purpose to negotiations. This is something President Obama and Secretary of State Kerry should think long and hard about in the course of the reassessment. Even more so, it is time they recognize that negotiations can never succeed if the U.S. substantively supports Palestinian positions.

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Middle East Reassessment”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Policemen on the scene after Arab terrorist rammed his car into a crowd of people Friday morning.
Update 10:20 AM: Guard Shoots Terrorist in Jerusalem Terror Attack
Latest Indepth Stories
Ron Prosor

Values at the very heart of the UN are threatened by extremist ideologies targeting our way of life

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei

Anti-Semitism today focuses on Israel and the quest to delegitimize it.

Ballots for elections "made in Samaria."

Any Jew who ties his fate to Israel should be able to vote in Israel’s elections-even before aliyah

A young Moshe Meir Weiss introduces his mother, Mrs. Agnes Weiss Goldman, to Rav Moshe in 1979.

There were no airs about him. Rav Moshe was affectionately known as the Gaon of Normalcy.

Israel’s full sovereignty over a united Jerusalem is the only path for true peace in the region.

Just like Moses and Aaron, Mordechai decides to ruin the party…

The president has made clear – I can’t state this more firmly – the policy is Iran will not get a nuclear weapon.

Obama has an apparent inability to understand Islam in particular and Mid-East culture in general

Pesach is a Torah-based holiday whose fundamental observances are rooted in Torah law; Purim is a rabbinic holiday whose laws and customs are grounded in the rabbinic tradition.

In honor of Prime Minister Netanyahu’s successful speech before Congress.

Mr. Spock conveys a message with painfully stark relevance to our world today, especially in the context of PM Netanyahu’s speech to Congress.

Obama created the “partisan politics” by asking Dem. party members to avoid Bibi and his address

Enough is enough. The Jewish community has a big tent, but the NIF should have no place in it.

I vote for the right and get left-wing policy. Every. Frigging. Time.

More Articles from Editorial Board

The real issue is that in many respects the president has sought to recalibrate American values and our system of government.

Former Connecticut senator Joe Lieberman, writing in the Washington Post on Sunday, provided one of the clearest and most compelling analyses we’ve seen of the importance of the prime minister’s speech.

Gone are the days when an anchorman sitting in a New York studio could, after sharing 22 minutes of carefully selected and edited news items, trumpet in stentorian tones, “And that’s the way it is.” No it wasn’t. It never was.

President Obama has frequently cautioned that Americans should take great care to avoid fomenting anti-Muslim passions in our reaction to the murderous activities regularly being perpetrated by terrorists in the name of Islam. One wonders why, though, he seems to have no concern with the potential for anti-Semitic fallout from his full-court press against Israeli […]

Typical of the administration’s milquetoast approach is the lack of any call for a substantial increase in military resources in order to crush ISIL, only a tepid mention of the need to “ultimately defeat” it.

He spent the first leg of his daylong visit to the French capital at Hyper Cacher.

In this particular case, the issue was whether the Arkansas prison system could prohibit, for security reasons, a devout Muslim’s maintaining a beard of a certain length as a matter of religious practice.

According to Natan Sharansky, director of the Jewish Agency for Israel, France was the largest source of Jewish emigration to Israel last year and he believes as many as 15,000 French Jews may make aliyah in 2015.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/editorial/middle-east-reassessment/2014/04/09/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: