In her Friday news briefing, State Dept. Spokesperson Jen Psaki was asked: since the Arab league’s offer to accept the right of Israel not to be annihilated if only it withdrew from all the territories it acquired in 1967, will the league embrace the Jewish State should a deal with the Palestinian come through, or will there be other demands?
It’s a fair question on several levels, especially if the deal, should it, God forbid, take place, is softer on territorial demands than the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative.
You would think that would be the problem, right? You would be wrong. It’s all about Syria.
The reporter’s question on Friday was: The Secretary has repeatedly made remarks on the Arab Peace Initiative and how it “holds out the possibility of normalizing relations with Israel.” He’s said this numerous times, but in December, at the Saban Forum, he said, “Israel would enjoy a normal peaceful relationship the minute this agreement” – as in agreement with the Palestinians – “is signed with 22 Arab nations and 35 Muslim nations, 57 countries in all.”
That was the promise – very similar to the blunt promises of sticks and carrots with which Secretary Kerry has been saturating Israel’s official, left-leaning media. That’s been the gist of Tzipi Livni’s call to give up a few negligible, ancient stones in favor of regional peace and prosperity, courtesy of our loving Arab neighbor states.
Reported continued: Now, I was with someone at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy the other day who made the note that the Arab Peace Initiative (API) has a very distinct qualification to that, which is that Israel “completely withdraw from the occupied Arab territories, including the Golan Heights.”
Indeed, the argument could be made that while Judea and Samaria are integral parts of the promised biblical Eretz Israel, the Golan’s status has always been less certain, even in Jewish sources. If Israel is tearing out its historic heartland, what’s the big deal about giving back a part of Syria?
Reporter continued: So is the Secretary working on having the Arab League amend the API, or is the hope that the Arab League put aside the API and endorse some future Kerry plan? One of those two things has to happen. Otherwise, his statement isn’t entirely accurate. Is that right?
Ms. Psaki responded: Well, as you know, we’re working with both parties on a framework for negotiations. We don’t have a final framework that’s even being discussed at this point, so in terms of what will or won’t be in a framework, never mind a final agreement, that’s not something I could speak to or we have the information to speak to.
So far nothing but hot air which has no relation at all to the question. It’s what spokespeople do.
Ms. Psaki continued: He is in constant touch with the Arab League and the Arab Peace Initiative Follow-On Committee and briefs them regularly every couple of months about the status of the discussions, the status of the negotiations, and where things stand. And they have indicated very publicly their support for those efforts. In terms of what the outcome will be and what will be needed or required, I’m not going to make a prediction of that because we have several steps to take before then.
Yes, but her boss had indeed made a prediction, it’s the centerpiece of his sales pitch to the Israelis: just say yes to some form of a Palestinian state, and the whole region will become your oyster. You can do all that song and dance and then retreat into a quiet corner and pretend you have no idea what we’re talking about, “what do you mean dance, moi?”
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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