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December 29, 2014 / 7 Tevet, 5775
 
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Kerry Reshuffling Peace Talks to Delay the Inevitable

The essence of magic tricks is diverting the crowd's attention to one element, while at the same time manipulating another. Kerry believes he can do it with Israel, the Palestinians, a Republican House (soon to become a Republican Congress), the EU and public opinion. He might. All I'm saying is: keep your eye on the pen.

The essence of magic tricks is diverting the crowd's attention to one element, while at the same time manipulating another. Kerry believes he can do it with Israel, the Palestinians, a Republican House (soon to become a Republican Congress), the EU and public opinion. He might. All I'm saying is: keep your eye on the pen.

During his tenth round of Mideast shuttle diplomacy, Secretary of State John Kerry will attempt something new: get Israel and the Palestinians to agree to the outlines of a final peace agreement. Obama administration officials are calling it a “framework” accord.

According to the NY Times, the framework document “is aimed at achieving enough of a convergence on core issues that the two sides can make headway toward a formal peace agreement leading to an independent Palestinian state.”

If you think you understand the above paragraph, which, essentially, sounds like the normal thing people do when they negotiate, try this next one, also from Today’s NY Times:

American officials said the framework document “would not be signed by Israeli and Palestinian leaders and would most likely take note of reservations the two sides have about some elements.”

In other words, after 7 months of negotiations, we finally have agreed on a list of all the things about which we disagree.

Or, to speculate just a little bit, we sat for 9 months and didn’t get diddly done, so now, less than 2 months before the deadline, we’re filing for an extension.

Meaning that, for all the participants in this thing, it’s not about the results, it’s about the process.

Well, we’ve known that from the start.

My original headline for this report was “Kerry Shuffling Seats on Titanic Deck to Avoid February Iceberg.” But then I figured I’d go with the Kotel sale story, because it offers a more useful metaphor.

Two American Jews are standing at the Kotel Plaza, admiring the holy relic. An Israeli guy comes up to them and says, You like this wall? I can sell it to you. Really? One of the Jews asks. Sure, been in my family for centuries, you can have it for one million dollars. So the Jewish guy says, For a million dollars, it’s a steal, I’ll write you a check right away. You have a pen on you? And the Israeli hands him a pen, the Jewish guy takes out his checkbook, writes a check to $1 million and hands it over. They shake hands, the Israeli walks away, and the other Jew says, Are you nuts? You know the Kotel doesn’t belong to this guy. And his friend says, Oh, sure, I know that. But I don’t have a million dollars, the check will bounce. So why did you do this whole dance? his friend asks and the first Jew says: for this pen.

In two more months, God willing, the two sides in the maddest negotiations ever attempted, Part 6 (or is it part 7 already?) will reach the point where they admit there’s no way to achieve this illusive “convergence on core issues,” otherwise known as their hopelessly contradictory bottom lines.

Jerusalem: Israel says it will retain it whole, the Palestinians insist making Jerusalem their capital is a deal breaker.

Right of Return for refugees: Israel says no way, the Palestinians say it’s a deal breaker.

The Jordan Valley: A very, very tough sale for Livni and the Bolsheviks, again, full sovereignty a deal breaker for the Palestinians.

The Israeli team is promoting territorial swaps and some annexation of block settlements, evacuating about 100-150 thousand Jews. The Palestinians, at least officially, say getting all of the pre-1967 territory is a deal breaker.

Israel insists (go figure) that the Palestinians recognize it as a Jewish State – that’s a gigantic problem for the boys and girls in Ramallah, who would have to tell Israeli Arabs that they’re officially living on Jewish land. Maybe not an outright deal breaker, but a heap of trouble for sure.

And therefore, judging by past history, this negotiation stretch will also end in an explosion, mutual or one-sided, which everybody was telling Secretary of State Kerry would happen back when he started this mess.

If that’s the case, why did Kerry, the Palestinians, and the Israeli government agree to participate in this charade for nine months?

Simple: for the pen.

A few pens, actually. First pen is a major political coup for PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, who managed to get the release of about 75 Palestinian murderers without violence. Hamas resorted to a kidnapping to get their guys out – Abbas is a regular Mahatma Gandhi in comparison. Clear victory for him, total loss for Israel, who will get nothing in return for forcing its most vulnerable citizens, the victims’ families, to be raped by their autistic government.

Another pen for Abbas and the Ramallah team (the “shirts” in this case, as the Israelis will be left shirtless in this match): as soon as the talks fall apart, the Palestinians hail the first cab outside, to go and seek recognition in the International Criminal Court and all the United Nations bodies, making themselves a de facto state within a week.

Next pen goes to Secretary Kerry and President Barry: while the Middle East is collapsing around their astonishingly nearsighted foreign policy, they continue to look decisive and responsible because they’ve been pushing a comprehensive Middle East peace agreement all this time. Sure, the Israelis won’t buy it, right wing pundits, Jews and non-Jews alike, won’t buy it, Congress will cry foul, but the home crowd will continue to cheer, between attempts to reach their local health insurance provider.

A nice pen goes to Netanyahu, who will maintain his domestic peace with the right wing majority in Israel, including—most urgently—within his own Likud party, which would have dumped him long ago if not for the fact that he’s the only game in town. He also gets to give away nothing and still not completely ruin Israel’s trade and research relations with the EU.

That’s some pen.

But now we find out that Kerry is refusing to let the negotiations die a natural death, despite the fact that he, Kerry, stuck a Do Not Resuscitate sign on them in June, when he put a time limit on the talks.

Why? The only thing I can think of is the Nobel prize for peace, which often goes to politicians who create new environments where Jews can be murdered. Check it out:

2012 – European Union (EU)

2009 – Barack H. Obama

2005 – Mohamed ElBaradei

2002 – Jimmy Carter

1994 – The trifecta, Yasser Arafat, Shimon Peres and Yitzhak Rabin

But I’m digressing. The side benefits all the participants are getting from the negotiations, despite the fact that the central goal, a 2-state solution, remains as illusive as ever, are not necessarily a bad thing. As long as the Netanyahu negotiators don’t step over the line and give up the store (everybody is a sucker for those Nobel peace prizes), the talks offer a curiously positive measure of stability.

Kerry will do all he can to breathe new life into the “peace process,” but playing for time is a double-edged sword: the U.S. 2016 presidential primaries are starting in 2015. Before that, it’s looking more and more like the Republicans are poised to take both houses in 2014, and make it virtually impossible for the administration to ride roughshod over Israel. The longer this thing goes, the bigger the attentive, pro-Israel, right wing audience in America will be growing.

In other words, Kerry needs about a year to push some deal through – but Israel needs the same year for the process to lose all viability with American public opinion.

Meanwhile, the very stability provided by the “peace process” will encourage prosperity over on the PA side, boosting new and already existing Jewish-Arab business ventures, with the tacit cooperation of the PLO in Ramallah.

Maybe we all get to keep our pens.

About the Author: Yori Yanover has been a working journalist since age 17, before he enlisted and worked for Ba'Machane Nachal. Since then he has worked for Israel Shelanu, the US supplement of Yedioth, JCN18.com, USAJewish.com, Lubavitch News Service, Arutz 7 (as DJ on the high seas), and the Grand Street News. He has published Dancing and Crying, a colorful and intimate portrait of the last two years in the life of the late Lubavitch Rebbe, (in Hebrew), and two fun books in English: The Cabalist's Daughter: A Novel of Practical Messianic Redemption, and How Would God REALLY Vote.


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9 Responses to “Kerry Reshuffling Peace Talks to Delay the Inevitable”

  1. Yechiel Baum says:

    Does the right of return include reimbursement of all the property the Jews had to leave behind when expelled from Arab countries because of their arab desire to help the philistines?

  2. Palestinians recognizing Israel as a Jewish state is the biggest deal breaker. Any Palestinian leader who does this is dead the next day. But in this fact lay an opportunity for Israel: Israal can say that since the Palestinians won't recognize their state as legitimate, then Israel is not bound to recognize the PLO/PA as the legitimate representatives of Palestinian Arab national aspirations, either. This paves the way for Israel to use "jiu-jitsu" to delegitimize the PLO/PA…and from there, promote the idea of Jordan – with her large majority Palestinian Arab population – as the true Palestinian state.

  3. Cathy Sherman says:

    "And therefore, judging by past history, this negotiation stretch will also end in an explosion,"
    Better an explosion than an expulsion – of Jews, anyway. This was a very good editorial- hope you're right.
    Also, I still want to know: how does israeli govt think they could handle the expulsion of 100,000 Jews when they couldn't deal with only 8,000 from Gush Katif?

  4. Alan Kardon says:

    Maybe Kerry should stay home since all he is doing is building more instability in the Mideast. Israel has released terrorist murderers for absolutely nothing in return. PLO, PA and Hamas does not believe Israel has a right to exist. That is fact. You want to be useful Kerry, get them to change this attitude.

  5. YOU KNOW YOU IDIOT IF YOU'D KEEP YOU NOISE OUT OF OTHER COUNTRIES BUSINESS AND TAKE CARE OF BUSINESS A HOME YOU MAY DO SOME GOOD.

  6. I don't think the world understand the real problem. I will explain. The PA can't decide on nothing before permission from the Arab League and according to their Moto is ISRAEL should disappear. So the Kerry, the ones before him and the ones after him will never succeed till the Arab League understand once and for all that ISRAEL is real and will stay forever. G-d gave this land to the Jewish People.
    If the Arabs were bright they should already stop their crazy thought and learn how to make their countries prosper and not going backward.
    LONG LIVE ISRAEL

  7. there is a dangerous lunatic in the white house. completely insane. there is nothing else to talk about and yet we never talk about that.

  8. Anonymous says:

    see end of article, peace of Jerusalem, not piece of Jerusalem
    1
    The Jerusalem Prayer List – January 9th, 2014

    By Joseph Shulam

    Yeshua is our Lord and our Savior and the Messiah and the Son of the Living God. He is the divine Messiah of Israel and the savior of the world. However, when we look at the Reports of Yeshua in the Gospels the most common title that people addressed Yeshua was “Rabbi” – “Teacher.” It is interesting that both Yeshua’s disciples and the Pharisees addressed Him as “Rabbi” and sometimes the Greek says “Teacher.” His closest followers were addressed as Disciples in English which is a translation of the Greek word that simply means “Students” or “followers.” I am bringing you just a few of the examples where Yeshua is called “Rabbi” – the examples where He is called “Teacher” are too many to bring here in this prayer list.

    Matt. 26:25 Then Judas, who was betraying Him, answered and said, “Rabbi, is it I?” He said to him, “You have said it.”

    Matt. 26:48 Now His betrayer had given them a sign, saying, “Whomever I kiss, He is the One; seize Him.” 49 Immediately he went up to Jesus and said, “Greetings, Rabbi!” and kissed Him.

    Mark 9:5 Then Peter answered and said to Jesus, “Rabbi, it is good for us to be here; and let us make three tabernacles: one for You, one for Moses, and one for Elijah”—

    Mark 11:21 And Peter, remembering, said to Him, “Rabbi, look! The fig tree which You cursed has withered away.”

    Mark 14:45 As soon as he had come, immediately he went up to Him and said to Him, “Rabbi, Rabbi!” and kissed Him.

    John 1:38 Then Jesus turned, and seeing them following, said to them, “What do you seek?” They said to Him, “Rabbi” (which is to say, when translated, Teacher), “where are You staying?”

    John 1:49 Nathanael answered and said to Him, “Rabbi, You are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!”

    John 3:2 This man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, “Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.”

    John 3:26 And they came to John and said to him, “Rabbi, He who was with you beyond the Jordan, to whom you have testified—behold, He is baptizing, and all are coming to Him!”

    John 4:31 In the meantime His disciples urged Him, saying, “Rabbi, eat.”

    John 6:25 And when they found Him on the other side of the sea, they said to Him, “Rabbi, when did You come here?”

    John 9:2 And His disciples asked Him, saying, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”

    John 11:8 The disciples said to Him, “Rabbi, lately the Jews sought to stone You, and are You going there again?”

    As you can see both the Disciples of Yeshua and His opponents and the general crowd recognized Him as “Rabbi” as “Teacher.” In several of the texts like in Matthew 4:23 and Luke 4:14-15 that speak of Yeshua teaching in the Synagogues and people who heard Him were so excited and praised God for what they heard. Some like Nathaniel even before he believed and followed Yeshua recognized Him as “Rabbi”. What is the significance of this for us today?
    In the Evangelical camp we recognize Yeshua as the Messiah, Savior, Redeemer, Son of God, God, Master, but the part of Yeshua as a Teacher and as a Jewish Rabbi is not so popular or interesting for most Christians. However, for the Jewish people of the First Century in the Land of Israel Yeshua’s teaching was the most impressive aspects of His ministry. For this very reason thousands of people followed Yeshua through the hills of Judea and the Galilee and sat outside under the noon Sun to listen to His teaching. They stayed so long that Yeshua was already concerned that they are hungry and fed them with five loaves of bread and two fish. This kind of event took place more than one time where thousands of people followed Him to hear His teaching.

    Of course the fact that He is called “Teacher” and “Rabbi” is the very reason why His followers were called “Disciples,” which really means in modern English “Students.” Yeshua is the teach er and they are His students – He is their Master and they are His Disciples.

    One of the most important things in the New Testament is the teaching of Yeshua. If His not only our Savior but also our Master and Teacher and Rabbi – we as His modern 21st Century Disciples must know His teaching and must follow His commands and instructions. Please pray for all of us to take Yeshua as our Savior and Messiah and also to get back to the basics and receive Him as our Teacher – a Teacher for life – a teacher who yoke is easy and His burden is light – a Teacher who gave us a personal example so that we can inherit eternal life now and forever. Read the Gospels!

    Israel needs much prayer these days. There is tremendous pressure exerted on Israel these days make major concessions to the “international community” to agree to recede back to the pre-67 lines and divide Jerusalem. Our government and our Knesset (Parliament) is weak now and is doing one-sided favors in order to please the International Community i.e. USA and The European Union, and getting nothing but more terrorism in return. I can say peace cannot happen with one side only. It takes two to make peace and right now we need a miracle from God in order for wisdom and prophetic understanding to come upon all the players in this round of talks.

    Please pray that this round of talks with Kerry running back and forth will be both guided and protected with divine protection to bring a real and lasting solution to the hate and enmity that is tearing this region up for more than 100 years. Please pray for the Peace of Jerusalem, not for a piece of Jerusalem.

  9. Anonymous says:

    see end of article, peace of Jerusalem, not piece of Jerusalem
    1
    The Jerusalem Prayer List – January 9th, 2014

    By Joseph Shulam

    Yeshua is our Lord and our Savior and the Messiah and the Son of the Living God. He is the divine Messiah of Israel and the savior of the world. However, when we look at the Reports of Yeshua in the Gospels the most common title that people addressed Yeshua was “Rabbi” – “Teacher.” It is interesting that both Yeshua’s disciples and the Pharisees addressed Him as “Rabbi” and sometimes the Greek says “Teacher.” His closest followers were addressed as Disciples in English which is a translation of the Greek word that simply means “Students” or “followers.” I am bringing you just a few of the examples where Yeshua is called “Rabbi” – the examples where He is called “Teacher” are too many to bring here in this prayer list.

    Matt. 26:25 Then Judas, who was betraying Him, answered and said, “Rabbi, is it I?” He said to him, “You have said it.”

    Matt. 26:48 Now His betrayer had given them a sign, saying, “Whomever I kiss, He is the One; seize Him.” 49 Immediately he went up to Jesus and said, “Greetings, Rabbi!” and kissed Him.

    Mark 9:5 Then Peter answered and said to Jesus, “Rabbi, it is good for us to be here; and let us make three tabernacles: one for You, one for Moses, and one for Elijah”—

    Mark 11:21 And Peter, remembering, said to Him, “Rabbi, look! The fig tree which You cursed has withered away.”

    Mark 14:45 As soon as he had come, immediately he went up to Him and said to Him, “Rabbi, Rabbi!” and kissed Him.

    John 1:38 Then Jesus turned, and seeing them following, said to them, “What do you seek?” They said to Him, “Rabbi” (which is to say, when translated, Teacher), “where are You staying?”

    John 1:49 Nathanael answered and said to Him, “Rabbi, You are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!”

    John 3:2 This man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, “Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.”

    John 3:26 And they came to John and said to him, “Rabbi, He who was with you beyond the Jordan, to whom you have testified—behold, He is baptizing, and all are coming to Him!”

    John 4:31 In the meantime His disciples urged Him, saying, “Rabbi, eat.”

    John 6:25 And when they found Him on the other side of the sea, they said to Him, “Rabbi, when did You come here?”

    John 9:2 And His disciples asked Him, saying, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”

    John 11:8 The disciples said to Him, “Rabbi, lately the Jews sought to stone You, and are You going there again?”

    As you can see both the Disciples of Yeshua and His opponents and the general crowd recognized Him as “Rabbi” as “Teacher.” In several of the texts like in Matthew 4:23 and Luke 4:14-15 that speak of Yeshua teaching in the Synagogues and people who heard Him were so excited and praised God for what they heard. Some like Nathaniel even before he believed and followed Yeshua recognized Him as “Rabbi”. What is the significance of this for us today?
    In the Evangelical camp we recognize Yeshua as the Messiah, Savior, Redeemer, Son of God, God, Master, but the part of Yeshua as a Teacher and as a Jewish Rabbi is not so popular or interesting for most Christians. However, for the Jewish people of the First Century in the Land of Israel Yeshua’s teaching was the most impressive aspects of His ministry. For this very reason thousands of people followed Yeshua through the hills of Judea and the Galilee and sat outside under the noon Sun to listen to His teaching. They stayed so long that Yeshua was already concerned that they are hungry and fed them with five loaves of bread and two fish. This kind of event took place more than one time where thousands of people followed Him to hear His teaching.

    Of course the fact that He is called “Teacher” and “Rabbi” is the very reason why His followers were called “Disciples,” which really means in modern English “Students.” Yeshua is the teach er and they are His students – He is their Master and they are His Disciples.

    One of the most important things in the New Testament is the teaching of Yeshua. If His not only our Savior but also our Master and Teacher and Rabbi – we as His modern 21st Century Disciples must know His teaching and must follow His commands and instructions. Please pray for all of us to take Yeshua as our Savior and Messiah and also to get back to the basics and receive Him as our Teacher – a Teacher for life – a teacher who yoke is easy and His burden is light – a Teacher who gave us a personal example so that we can inherit eternal life now and forever. Read the Gospels!

    Israel needs much prayer these days. There is tremendous pressure exerted on Israel these days make major concessions to the “international community” to agree to recede back to the pre-67 lines and divide Jerusalem. Our government and our Knesset (Parliament) is weak now and is doing one-sided favors in order to please the International Community i.e. USA and The European Union, and getting nothing but more terrorism in return. I can say peace cannot happen with one side only. It takes two to make peace and right now we need a miracle from God in order for wisdom and prophetic understanding to come upon all the players in this round of talks.

    Please pray that this round of talks with Kerry running back and forth will be both guided and protected with divine protection to bring a real and lasting solution to the hate and enmity that is tearing this region up for more than 100 years. Please pray for the Peace of Jerusalem, not for a piece of Jerusalem.

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