The Celebrate Israel Festival on May 31 at Pier 94, slated to be the largest gathering to date of Israeli-Americans in New York.
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.
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We take a whole person approach, giving our people assistance with whatever they need.
During my spiritual journey I discovered G-d spoke to man only once, to the Jewish people at Sinai
20 years after the great Ethiopian aliyah, we must treat them like everyone else; no better or worse
Many Black protesters compared Baltimore’s unrest to the Palestinian penchant of terrorism & rioting
She credited success to “mini” decisions-Small choices building on each other leading to big changes
Shavuot 1915, 200000 Jews were expelled; amongst the largest single expulsions since Roman times
Realizing there was no US military threat, Iran resumed, expanded & accelerated its nuclear program
“Enlightened Jews” who refuse to show chareidim the tolerance they insist we give to Arabs sicken me
Somewhat surprisingly, the Vatican’s unwelcome gesture was diametrically at odds with what President Obama signaled in an interview with the news outlet Al Arabiya.
The recent solid victory of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud Party produced something very different.
The reaction is so strong that nine times out of ten, parents engage in some form of coping mechanism before arriving at a level of acceptance of a special-needs diagnosis.
“…his neshamah reached out to us to have the zechus of Torah learning to take with him on his final journey.”
“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.”
The president is unwilling to cede any of what he considers his exclusive powers in the area of foreign policy and has struggled mightily to keep the Senate away from any role in the kind of deal to be negotiated.
A committed Religious Zionist, he was a sought-after adviser on Zionist affairs around the world.
More important, Mr. Obama is simply acceding to Iran’s position on the timing of the lifting of sanctions.
For our community, Mrs. Clinton’s foreign policy record will doubtless attract the most attention. And it is a most interesting one.
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