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Senior Foreign Ministry Officials: No Chance for Permanent Deal

Will the Obama team release Jonathan Pollard as an example of the sensitivity and courage required by both Israelis and Palestinians?
Netanyahu's coalition government posed in front of the old city of Jerusalem on Sunday, on the eve of negotiations with the Palestinians over whether or not it stays in Israel. Minister of Transportation Yisrael Katz, (l), Minister of Immigration Sofa landver (2L), Minister of Strategic Affairs and International Relations Yuval Steinitz, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (C), Minister of Justice Tzipi Livni (3R), Minister of Sports and Culture Limor Livnat and Minister of Education Shay Piron (R)

Netanyahu's coalition government posed in front of the old city of Jerusalem on Sunday, on the eve of negotiations with the Palestinians over whether or not it stays part of Israel.
Photo Credit: Miri Tzachi/POOL/FLASH90

Senior Foreign Ministry officials estimate that there is no possibility for a long-term peace agreement with the Palestinians based on the current outline of the talks. In their opinion, it would make much better sense to try and direct the talks toward another interim agreement. They are convinced that PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas is more likely to embrace such an interim deal than a peace agreement reflecting Israel’s plans for retaining East Jerusalem and the “cluster of settlements.”

The only problem is that Abbas has objected profusely every time he has been presented with the suggestion of an interim deal. He’s very much an all-or-nothing kind of guy on this issue, and he would definitely rather stay under the dreaded “occupation,” daily check posts and all, than come back to his people with less than 100 percent of the territories.

But Hope is, apparently, a prerequisite for working in Israel’s Foreign Ministry, especially since, on paper, an interim deal would be so much easier to accomplish.

Meanwhile, it’s probably a fait accompli that the Israeli government will release 82 Palestinian prisoners with Jewish blood on their hands. In Israel, this will most likely evoke an outcry from the victims’ families. In the PA it’s already being ridiculed as a meaningless gesture, considering there are upwards of 8,000 Palestinian security prisoners under lock and key in Israel.

But we might get an unexpected benefit out of all this: Jewish Home minister Uri Ariel and other national religious officials are demanding that if the U.S. government wants Israel to let go of killer Arab prisoners for the sake of peace, it should set an example by releasing one Jewish prisoner who didn’t kill or injure anyone, and has served out an outrageous amount of time for his sins.

Will they release Jonathan Pollard as a confidence building measure?

Let’s see if the Obama team has even a shred of the sensitivity and courage it is demanding of Netanyahu et al.

Ynet reported that a source in the cabinet believes that Netanyahu and Kerry reached an agreement on settlement construction, permitting continued construction in Ariel, Gush Etzion and Ma’aleh Adumim, which Israel says are within the major settlement bloc it would hold on to, while in the rest of the disputed territories the de-facto freeze that began last year will continue, with no new projects breaking ground.

Abu Mazen (Abbas’s nom de guerre) is concerned that an interim deal would, inevitably, become the permanent deal. So the nice folks at the Foreign Ministry are planning to offer him most of the areas of Judea and Samaria within a reasonable period of time following the signing of an interim deal, Ma’ariv reports.

In any event, the law requires a national referendum on any peace deal that includes giving back territory, and Netanyahu intends to obey the law.

The left has already started its campaign against a national referendum, using talking points involving the following scenario: on the eve of the referendum, some Arab somewhere shoots a rocket at an Israeli kindergarten, or blows up a bus – it would tip the vote in favor of the naysayers.

Of course, the same argument also betrays the left’s own mistrust of the other side’s ability to provide the desired peace. In essence, they agree that there will always be someone on the Arab side who would benefit from destabilizing the region using terrorism. Why, then, should Israel strip itself of one of its greatest security assets—the fact that the IDF now controls the roads in the very area that could produce the next rocket attack on, say, Ben Gurion airport?

The Administration is insisting that Netanyahu stay away from those interim deal ideas and instead spell out early on in the discussion the contours of the new Palestinian borders as he envisions them. That’s not going to be an easy thing for Bibi, because, let’s face it, no matter what map he draws, he’s going to upset a vast number of people, most critically inside his own coalition government and inside his own Likud party.

It’s tight rope walking time for Bibi.

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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5 Responses to “Senior Foreign Ministry Officials: No Chance for Permanent Deal”

  1. Nothing like writing from a desk in Brooklyn and attributing a non-statement of opinion to unnamed sources.
    I assume that this information got to the writer by sitting next to some guy in shul on Saturday afternoon between Mincha & Maairv.

  2. Bear Klein says:

    A new Palestinian (Arab) state is a danger to Israel. Look at the Gaza precedent. Two wars in just the few years since Israel pulled out. Another Palestinian state (temporary or not) next to Tel Aviv and Jerusalem is simply a recipe for another war with less of strategic position. Only adults who believe in the tooth fairy could still believe a two state (3 with Gaza) could work. It is just a formula for another war. Pals have no intention of accepting Israel in any size. Their speeches, actions, schoolbooks and maps all clearly indicate they do not accept the Jewish state of Israel in any size.

  3. I am completely mystified as to why 80 killers are being released? Could we be given an explanation for such a pointless move? Referendum pretty good idea, assuming of course only Israeli's get to vote and this includes Israeli Arabs. What percentage of Arabs are truly Israeli and what about the rest who may well be illegal immigrants will Israel return them to their country of origin? Will Israel hold them in detention camps till papers can be sorted? There will be no peace with Arabs unless they are wholeheartedly committed to their country and nation of Israel, which is not and was not Palestine. The Romans gave many names to many nations, these names being Latinized, for ease of communication, under the Roman Empire. Gaza is an ancient city not a country, Philistine was the strip of land fronting the med, Philistine was defeated before the reign of King David, who in fact existed and is no myth no more than Saul, Solomon just to name three Kings of Judeah and Sumaria, together Israel.

  4. If Jews could be united in a common political objective of rejecting even the possibility of another holocaust, then maybe the left might care more about our survival than the Arabs and forget about pushing for a 2 state solution., and come to another option for the Palestinians occupying Jewish territory.

  5. Your repetitive drivel is very tiresome. Your very appearance only disgusts me to no end, old sc*mbag.

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