Yair Lapid, Israel’s Finance Minister and head of Israel’s second largest political party, has unraveled U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s efforts to reincarnate the “peace process” before Kerry even packed his bags for another trip to Israel at the end of the week.
He told the Yediot Acharonot newspaper Sunday what everyone except Kerry and the European Union’s Catherine Ashton know – it is unrealistic even to think about a final stage peace agreement for the establishment of the Palestinian Authority as an independent country.
It is questionable if even Kerry’s boss, President Barack Obama, actually thinks an agreement is in the cards.
Maybe, just maybe, Obama has learned what Ronald Regan, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush never seemed to grasp – the Palestinian Authority will make peace with Israel only when it is sure that the Jewish state’s future is doomed.
That is why PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas refuses to budge on the Arab world’s dream to import several million Arabs to Israel, based on their claim that Israel is their home because their parents, grandparents, great-great parents and their dogs lived here.
The Oslo Accords, Clinton’s time bomb that fulfilled his promise to create a new Middle East, although not exactly the way he envisioned, provided for interim borders for a Palestinian Authority state, with final borders to be negotiated.
Bush’s Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, in one of her many less enlightened moments, agreed that maybe it was best to simply skip over that little clause and go for broke.
And the “peace process’ since then indeed went broke.
Correctly perceiving that there was no need to concede anything except uncertainty, Abbas re-defined the word “negotiations” to mean “you give and I take,” with the only undecided issue being the date that Israel will supposedly sign its own death certificate.
The term “interim agreement” is no where in his lexicon. It is buried deep, deep under the “peace process,” and here comes Lapid, the last hope for the center-left to keep those pesky national religious Jews from getting too uppity, to the rescue of the right wing nationalists.
He also displayed remarkable honesty and lack of tact at the same by stating that Abbas “is still not psychologically ready for an agreement with Israel, either partial or full.”
That is the kind of statement that sounds like it is right out of the mouth of Avigdor Lieberman, who was foreign minister before he was indicted six months ago for breach of public trust.
It did not take long for Abbas, through an aide, to react to Lapid’s statements, which reflect either amazing naïveté for a former journalist or just plain stupidity.
“We have heard this idea before and rejected it simply because we know the intention of Israel is to continue building on Jerusalem and other parts of the West Bank,” stated Nimr Hamad, one of Abbas’ sages in Ramallah. Just in case Lapid does not understand, Hamad added that final borders are “the most important thing for us.”
With the United Nations General Assembly already having adopted a resolution recognizing the borders of a Palestinian Authority state exactly as Abbas wants them, talk of an interim agreement can only convince Abbas that Lapid is a nationalist is in disguise.
Lapid is part of an overwhelming majority of Israeli Jews who are not willing to hand over such areas as the Old City on Jerusalem to Abbas.
Abbas could save himself from virtually isolation by the Obama administration if he accepts the idea of interim borders, but to do so would be political suicide, if not a sign of a real-life death wish.
He has dug himself into a hole by promising and promising and promising the PA “street” that he will get everything he wants, lock, stock and barrel.
The joker in the cards is Lapid’s statement Sunday that President Obama could set a three-year time limit for defining final borders while carrying out Bush’s written promise to Israel that such as areas as Gush Etzion and Maaleh Adumim would remain part of Israel.
He also wants to put aside the issues of Jerusalem and the Arab demand for importing millions of foreign Arabs into Israel. Abbas has rejected that idea time and time again.
It’s too late for that.
Abbas has outsmarted himself into a tight corner, and Lapid’s incredible blindness to reality is just what the right-wing camp needs.
Every time Abbas say “no,” the closer Israel gets to saying “yes” to declaring sovereignty over Jewish population centers in Judea and Samaria.
Lapid also seems to have forgotten one little item in his sophomoric ideas of peace: Gaza. That is that little piece of God-forsaken land that Egypt was thrilled to be rid of in the Six-Day War in 1967. Without an agreement between Abbas and Hamas, Kerry can forget about his Mission Impossible,
The same is true if Abbas and Hamas ever do reunite, because that would mean the vowed acceptance of terror, although Abbas could get around that by calling it “resistance.”Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu
About the Author: Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu is a graduate in journalism and economics from The George Washington University. He has worked as a cub reporter in rural Virginia and as senior copy editor for major Canadian metropolitan dailies. Tzvi wrote for Arutz Sheva for several years before joining the Jewish Press.
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