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April 19, 2014 / 19 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘Israeli-Palestinian peace talks’

What Are We Negotiating About?

Thursday, January 23rd, 2014

Everyone is talking about Israeli-Palestinian peace talks. The basic assumption is that peace talks are supposed to bring peace. It is common knowledge that peace is expected to solve the following problems: security; demographics; Palestinian nationalism (that competes with Israel over the same piece of land); international pressure (particularly from the U.S.); and, to some, economics. But even a superficial analysis of the aforementioned “problems” reveals that none of them are motivating Israel’s “peace” talks.

Peace cannot be defined as the goal of a state. Peace is the result of the proper definition of a state’s goal and the achievement of that goal. If peace is our goal, it can be achieved more easily in other locations (Australia or Uganda, for example) by surrendering our sovereignty or by assimilation.

Security for Israelis cannot possibly be the problem we are trying to solve. The more we progress in the peace process, the more our national and personal security deteriorates. Suicide bombers were not blowing up buses and restaurants, and missiles were not crashing into Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, prior to the diplomatic process. Our cumulative experience proves that our desire for security should distance us from any diplomatic process. If we continue to sacrifice our citizens for the so-called sake of peace, security is not what is motivating our participation in the peace process.

Demography is also not the problem. The average Tel Avivian no longer has fewer children than her neighbor in Ramallah. According to the American-Israel Demographic Research Group, if the current birthrates continue in conjunction with a proactive aliyah policy, Israel’s Jewish majority will upgrade from today’s 66 percent to 80 percent by 2035. In other words, even without a diplomatic process, the Jewish majority between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea – including the Arabs of Judea and Samaria – will be 80 percent in the next 20 years or so.

Palestinian nationalism was artificially constructed in response to Zionism. When this land was under Arab sovereignty – Jordanian or Egyptian – the problem did not exist. If Israel would disappear off the map, God forbid, Palestinian nationalism would disappear with it.

On Feb. 18, 1947, British Foreign Secretary Ernest Bevin, certainly not an ardent Zionist, addressed the British parliament to explain why the UK was taking the question of Palestine, which was in its care, to the United Nations. He opened by saying that “His majesty’s government has been faced with an irreconcilable conflict of principles.” His described essence of that conflict: “For the Jews, the essential point of principle is the creation of a sovereign Jewish state. For the Arabs, the essential point of principle is to resist to the last the establishment of Jewish sovereignty in any part of Palestine.”

There isn’t really Palestinian nationality; there is the Arab nation that does not accept Jewish sovereignty over any part of Israel. Thus, solving what is really the non-existent Palestinian problem will not solve the fundamental conflict: Arab opposition to any Israeli sovereignty. This is also the reason that a Palestinian state has not yet been established and will never be established, despite the fact that never in history has a state been offered to any group on a platter more silver than what is being offered to the Palestinians. They simply do not want a state.

International pressure is also not a problem, for it always increases in direct proportion to Israel’s participation in diplomatic processes. Before the Oslo Accords, there was a major question mark hovering over the legitimacy of the PLO and its leaders. No such question mark existed over the right of the Jews to have their own state. Today, after twenty years of diplomatic processes, the situation is reversed. We recognize them, but they do not recognize us. The Americans, however, are not willing to demand recognition of Israel as a condition for negotiations.

And then there’s the supposed economic problem. The diplomatic process will not solve it. On the contrary, as we learned the hard way, the Oslo Accords consume 10 percent of our annual state budget: approximately one trillion shekels since the accords were signed. Over the past years, Israel is approaching the status of an economic superpower – not because of the diplomatic process, but despite it.

So if it is not peace, not security, not demography, not Palestinian nationalism, not international pressure and not economics, what exactly are we negotiating about? What are we trying to achieve?

The person who provided the most precise answer was none other than Ron Pundak, an architect of the Oslo Accords, who recently told Tel Aviv University lecturer Tomer Persico:

“I want peace so that there will be Israeliness. Peace is not an end in and of itself. It is the means with which to bring Israel from one era into another, to the era that I consider to be normal statehood: “Israelization” of society instead of its “Judaization.”

Do you understand? We bury thousands of victims of terror, chop off entire sections of our homeland, uproot our settlements (displacing our inhabitants), bring missiles into Tel Aviv, negate our legitimacy, rob 10 percent of our State budget every year – all this and more damage – not for peace and not for any of the regular excuses. We do all this to tip the scales in the internal struggle over the identity of the state of Israel: Will it be a Jewish state or the state of all its citizens?

Seems exaggerated? Please reread the quote from Pundak, an architect of Oslo.

If so, you may ask this: Why does the Likud continue to lead this process? The answer is that the Likud has not yet built a faith-based leadership alternative to the Left’s vision of a state of all its citizens. Because the Likud has not yet created a different horizon for Israeli mentality, it is necessarily dragged down the Oslo path, implementing, as always, the most extreme hallucinations of the radical Left.

Kerry Says Talks Are in Difficult Security Phase

Saturday, December 7th, 2013

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said talks between Israelis and Palestinians entered a difficult phase over security guarantees.

Speaking in Tel Aviv before returning to the United States, Kerry said the sides remained committed to advancing toward a peace agreement and that he expected to return to the region in a week or so.

“Despite the fact that we are discussing really difficult, complicated issues, I am encouraged by the continued commitment of both leaders to the pursuit of peace,” Kerry said at a press conference at the airport. “And they both underscored their commitment to continue to work through these difficult issues in the days ahead.”

Kerry said the issue currently at hand has to do with security guarantees for Israel.

“We’ve gone through a very detailed, lengthy, in-depth analysis of the security challenges of the region, and particularly the challenges to Israel and to the creation of a viable, independent Palestinian state,” Kerry said. “Security is paramount in the minds of the prime minister and his team with respect to their ability to be able to move forward with other issues that have to be dealt with. If Israel’s security cannot be increased through this agreement, it’s very difficult to make an agreement.”

Kerry did not offer further details, but a sticking point appeared to be the fate of the Jordan Valley, the area contiguous with the border with Jordan, where Israel wants to maintain a prolonged military presence. Reports said the Israeli side rejected plans for some Palestinian control at border crossings as well as a reduced Israeli presence.

Reports also said the Palestinian side was unhappy with the American proposals, saying they rejected any continued Israeli presence in Palestinian areas. Palestinians also are unhappy with Israeli settlement growth in Judea and Samaria.

Top Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said that talks were “difficult and complicated.”

Erekat told AFP that Abbas and Kerry addressed security in their talks.

“We hope Israel will stick to its commitments and be forced to stop settlement building,” he told the French news agency. “Settlements are the reason for the difficulties in negotiations.”

Rice: Settlement Plans Caused ‘Tensions’

Saturday, November 16th, 2013

U.S. National Security Adviser Susan Rice said Israeli settlement expansion announcements helped spur recent tensions between Israel and the Palestinians.

In a speech Thursday to a Washington think tank, the Middle East Institute, Rice said the United States remained committed to Middle East peacemaking, but made clear that Jewish settlement construction plans are hampering those efforts, Reuters reported.

“We have seen increased tensions on the ground. Some of this is a result of recent settlement announcements. So let me reiterate: The United States does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlement activity,” she said.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said Wednesday his delegation of peace negotiators had resigned over the lack of progress in statehood talks with Israel. The development would mark a new low point for the talks, which resumed in July.

Abbas suggested negotiations would continue but that he would need a week to resume talks.

The disclosure Tuesday that Israel’s Housing Ministry had commissioned separate plans for nearly 24,000 more homes for Israelis raised U.S. concern and drew Palestinian condemnation.

Netanyahu intervened later in the day, ordering a halt to the projects amid condemnations by several world powers.

Netanyahu has accused the Palestinians of creating “artificial crises” over the settlement issue and has said that most of Israel’s building in Judea and Samaria and eastern Jerusalem is in areas it intends to keep in any future peace deal.

Kerry: No Imposed US Plan

Wednesday, November 6th, 2013

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry denied reports that he is ready to impose a U.S. peace plan on Israelis and Palestinians.

“Let me categorically dispel any notion that there is anything other than the track that is formally engaged in between Israel and the Palestinians,” Kerry said when asked by reporters Monday about the purported plan in Riyadh, where he met with his Saudi Arabian counterpart, Saud al Faisal.

A number of reports over the last week, including one from Zehava Gal-On, the leader of the left-wing Israeli Meretz Party who said she had learned of the plan from U.S. and Palestinian officials, said that the secretary of state was frustrated with the gap between the Israeli and Palestinian teams and was ready to introduce a U.S. plan in January that would be based in the 1967 lines.

“The only plan we have at this point in time is to pursue that discussion and the discussion track that we’ve always talked about, which is the leaders track, which is the discussions between President Obama, myself, Prime Minister Netanyahu, and President Abbas,” Kerry said. “So it’s just incorrect. There is no other plan at this point in time.”

Kerry continued from Saudi Arabia to Israel and the Palestinian areas, where he was to meet this week with leaders, including Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Palestinians and Israelis renewed talks this summer after intensive lobbying by Kerry.

Peace Talks Have ‘Intensified,’ Kerry Says

Wednesday, October 23rd, 2013

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said “all the core issues are on the table” in peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians that have intensified.

A meeting Monday in Jerusalem centered on the issue of sharing water resources, an unnamed Palestinian official told the French news agency AFP. Israeli and Palestinian negotiators have met three times in the past four days.

Kerry confirmed on Monday in Paris that negotiators have met 13 times since the end of July, when U.S.-brokered peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians were restarted after a hiatus of several years.

“The pace has intensified, all the core issues are on the table and they have been meeting with increased intensity,” said Kerry, who is scheduled to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Rome on Wednesday.

Kerry announced Monday that Qatar would provide $150 million in debt relief to the Palestinian Authority, saying that “for everybody to live up to the challenges of making peace, we have to support them.”

Also Monday, Kerry briefed the 22-member Arab League on the progress of the peace negotiations.

Kerry, Netanyahu to Meet in Rome

Saturday, October 19th, 2013

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will meet in Rome with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to discuss talks with the Palestinians and Iran.

Kerry will meet Oct. 23 with Netanyahu to “discuss ongoing final status negotiations with the Palestinians, along with Iran, Syria, and other issues of mutual concern,” the State Department said Thursday.

Kerry is urging Israelis and the Palestinians to advance to core issues in their talks, including borders, Jerusalem and the status of the descendants of Palestinian refugees.

Netanyahu will be in Rome for his first meeting with Pope Francis, who has expressed an interest in visiting the Holy Land.

PA Official: Kerry ‘Guaranteed in Writing’ Return to 1967 Borders

Wednesday, September 11th, 2013

A senior Palestinian official said U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry “guaranteed in writing” that Israeli-Palestinian peace talks would start with the 1967 lines.

American officials, however, denied the existence of such a document, The New York Times reported Tuesday.

Nabil Shaath, the Palestinian commissioner for international relations, told the newspaper that the Palestinians agreed to restart the peace talks as a direct result of the guarantee.

State Department spokesman Marie Harf told the Times in an emailed statement, “We have always said that if you don’t hear news about the talks from senior U.S. officials, you can’t count on it being reliable. This is a good example.”

An Israeli spokesman would not comment to the Times on the guarantee.

The Palestinians have insisted that talks be based on the 1967 lines, and the United States has agreed though with agreed-upon land swaps. Israel has insisted there be no preconditions for talks.

Israel last week complained to the United States about Palestinian officials leaking information about the relaunched peace talks, despite both sides agreeing to honor a request by Kerry that information about the negotiations be kept under wraps.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/pa-official-kerry-guaranteed-in-writing-return-to-1967-borders/2013/09/11/

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