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November 27, 2014 / 5 Kislev, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Kerry’

Blaming Israel to Preserve a Theory

Monday, May 19th, 2014

Secretary of State John Kerry was in London last week, trying to sweet talk Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas into talking peace again with Israel. But the main front in the peace process appears to be in Washington where the State Department is still spinning the collapse of Kerry’s initiative and placing the primary fault for the failure of his fool’s errand on Israel.

While Kerry fired the initial shots of this campaign himself when he had his “poof” moment at a Senate hearing at which he claimed Israel housing construction announcements had ended the negotiations, it was then continued by an in-depth interview given by American officials (widely and credibly attributed to Kerry’s envoy Martin Indyk) to Yediot Aharonoth in which the Netanyahu government was thoroughly trashed and Abbas’s intransigence rationalized. But not satisfied with that, Kerry’s aides are back reinforcing their attacks on Israel this week helping to generate stories in both the New York Times and the Washington Post.

The point of the press barrage appears not, as with previous assaults on the Israelis, to pressure them to make more concessions to the Palestinians in future talks since, as the Times noted, the president seems to have no interest in sticking his neck out further on behalf of an effort that has no chance to succeed. Rather, the continued talk about settlements being the obstacle to peace seems to have two purposes. One is to defend Kerry’s reputation against accurate criticisms of his decision to waste so much time and effort on a negotiation that was always doomed to fail. The other is that the administration peace processors who largely repeated the same mistakes made by the Clinton administration during the Oslo period with regard to the Palestinians feel compelled to justify their behavior by blaming Israel. The problem with the focus on settlements is not just that it is both inaccurate and out of context but that railing at Israeli building is the only way to preserve belief in a theory about attaining Middle East peace that has failed again.

It cannot be emphasized enough that most of the discussion about the settlements from administration sources and their cheerleaders in the press is not only wrongheaded but also deliberately misleading. A perfect example of that came Thurdsay in David Ignatius’ column in the Post in which he writes:

The issue of Israeli settlements humiliated the Palestinian negotiators and poisoned the talks, according to statements by U.S. negotiators. When Israel announced 700 new settlements in early April, before the April 29 deadline for the talks, “Poof, that was sort of the moment,” Kerry told a Senate panel.

Phrased that way, it certainly sounds egregious. But Israel didn’t announce the start up 700 new settlements. It authorized 700 new apartments in Gilo, a 40-year-old Jewish neighborhood in Jerusalem that no one, not even the Palestinians, expects would be given to them in even a prospective peace treaty more to their liking than the Israelis.

Israel has built almost no new “settlements,” i.e. brand new towns, villages or cities in the West Bank since the Oslo Accords were signed in 1993 and claiming anything different isn’t just wrong, it’s a deliberate attempt to poison the atmosphere against the Jewish state. Later in the day, the Post corrected that line to read “settlement apartments,” but the intent to deceive on the part of Ignatius was clear.

More to the point, both Ignatius and the latest op-ed mislabeled as a news story by Times White House correspondent Mark Landler, note their narratives of Israeli perfidy but fail to highlight that it was Netanyahu who agreed to Kerry’s framework for further peace talks and Abbas who turned the U.S. down. It was Abbas who refused to budge an inch during the talks even though Israel’s offers of territorial withdrawal constitute a fourth peace offer including independence that the Palestinians have turned down in the last 15 years. His decision to embrace Hamas in a unity pact rather than make peace with Israel sealed the end of Kerry’s effort, not announcements of new apartments in Jerusalem.

All That’s Left in London – Planning Oslo 3

Saturday, May 17th, 2014

What a strange coincidence. Yossi Beilin was spotted flying out of London’s Heathrow airport on Thursday afternoon.

Beilin was the initiator of the secret “behind the government’s back” effort that brought the PLO and their terror into Israel, via the Oslo Accords.

US Secretary of State John Kerry was also in London at the same time, ostensibly for “different reasons”, and met with Tzipi Livni for”“an opportunity for them to catch up since the pause in the negotiations.”

Later that evening, Israel’s peace negotiator Tzipi Livni met with PA president Mahmoud Abbas to discuss the failed peace process, as part of what was supposedly a private initiative on her part.

As it happens, Kerry also met with Abbas while they were there.

Beilin and Abbas were the two main negotiators of the Oslo Accords. The initial secret meetings between Ron Pundak and the PLO took place first in London, then in Oslo.

So let’s see, Beilin, Kerry, Livni and Abbas all in London together at the same time.

A week earlier, after he was reportedly done bashing Israel, Martin Indyk met with Ehud Barak in a Washington D.C. bar for a long talk.

Netanyahu even made a point on Saturday night to let it be known that Livni did not represent the government in that conversation.

Is this another “behind the government’s back” attempt to foist another secret deadly peace process onto the rest of us?

Should we be worried?

Maybe we can get Jack Bauer to save us from them, I hear he’s in London too.

ECI Statement: “Time for Kerry to Go”

Monday, April 28th, 2014

The Emergency Committee for Israel released the following statement on Secretary of State John Kerry’s use of the term “apartheid state” to threaten Israel:

On Friday, Secretary of State John Kerry raised the specter of Israel as an “apartheid state.” Even Barack Obama condemned the use of this term when running for president in 2008.

Yet this was no gaffe. Secretary Kerry’s musings on the Jewish state’s dire future have become a regular feature of his public remarks. His latest prediction follows other statements in recent months that have in effect threatened Israel — never the Palestinians — with a list of disasters should his diplomatic efforts fail: violence, isolation, delegitimization, boycotts — and now “apartheid.”

It is no longer enough for the White House to clean up after the messes John Kerry has made. It is time for John Kerry to step down as Secretary of State, or for President Obama to fire him. And it would go a long way toward repairing the damage Kerry has done if his predecessor as Secretary of State, who is the likely Democratic Party nominee for president, explained why this kind of rhetoric had no place in her State Department and why it will have no place in her presidential campaign.

BREAKING: Pollard for Murderers, Just to Keep Talks Going

Thursday, April 10th, 2014

In order to extend the “peace” negotiations, the U.S. has offered to release Jonathan Pollard, the American convicted of espionage decades ago, in exchange for Israel’s release of the remaining convicted terrorists that had been part of the peace deal, plus hundreds of others, plus an agreement to freeze building homes for Jews, according to the Middle Eastern news outlet Al-Arabiya.

The Palestinian Arabs will agree not to do what they already agreed not to do: suspend their ongoing plans to join various UN bodies, including the Geneva Convention on the conduct of war and occupation.

Can you imagine? Israel feels threatened by the Palestinian Arabs’ promise to accuse the Jewish state of war crimes? Virtually the only way in which the Palestinian Arabs engage in military actions constitute war crimes: the use of human shields, hiding amongst civilians, shooting amongst civilians, kidnapping civilians, and refusing to allow hostages to meet with the International Red Cross.

Jonathan Pollard, a former U.S. army analyst, was sentenced to life in prison in 1987. At the time of his trial, Pollard entered a plea agreement with the U.S. government to admit to espionage, in exchange for a sentence that was not excessive. Instead, the U.S. government reneged on its end of the deal and sentenced Pollard to the harshest sentence ever given to anyone who passed secrets to an ally.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry had harshly criticized Israel, and tossed a few comments of “unhelpful” towards the Palestinian Arabs, regarding the breakdown in negotiations last week.

According to an informed source, although U.S. officials in the Middle East are confirming that a deal has been reached, and Israeli officials are saying a deal has been reached, White House and State Department officials in Washington are saying there is no deal.

The original date set for the negotiations to culminate in an agreement was April 29. This new alleged deal is sure to extend that deadline.

What Just Happened to the Peace Talks?!

Friday, April 4th, 2014

To anyone who has been through a few rounds of these peace talks over the years, it was kind of obvious that they were going to have to collapse. What wasn’t obvious was how, when or what excuse would be given.

Abba Eban once incorrectly said that the Arabs “never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.” I say incorrectly because he assumed that the Arabs must have the same desire and goal for peace as he did, and they just keep messing it up.

But that statement is wrong because the underlying assumption is wrong. The Palestinian Authority is not interested in peace. At least not in the way Abba Eban understood it.

The Palestinian Authority was obtaining the release of some very horrible terrorists, a lot of them, and even lots more of them in the future. If the leaks were even partly true, they were, in their salami method, getting some seriously bad concessions from Israel, and they were doing it with the help of the most friendliest, pro-PA, anti-Israel government in US history.

And all they had to do was keep talking.

Yet they threw it all away.

Why?

It wasn’t because they weren’t getting major concessions in the talks, they were, and over time they would have gotten even more.

It wasn’t because they were being forced to offer any concessions in return – because they weren’t.

Well, except for one nonnegotiable.

Netanyahu demanded they acknowledge Israel as the Jewish state.

This would mean ending the fight, and recognizing the Jewish right to the land of Israel, and admitting that Israel was making concessions to the PA. But primarily it meant declaring an official end to the war and trying to destroy Israel.

Look at one of the precondition demands the PA made yesterday.

They demanded that 15,000 PA citizens be granted Israeli citizenship. Does that really jive with the narrative that they want their own state for their own people, or does that jive better with the fact that they still want to destroy Israel and overrun it with Arabs? The answer speaks for itself.

The PA collapsed the peace talks, most likely because they were reaching that point, just like they reached that point in the past, where they had to decide, do they want to be a normal, productive country, or do they want to continue to try to destroy Israel.

The answer is clearly the latter, and perhaps partially, because they have no culture to be the former.

But unfortunately, as experience shows, this doesn’t mean the end of the peace talks. It means the end of this round, and at some point they’ll be started up again.

Perhaps after (yet another) unilateral declaration of statehood. Perhaps after a UN vote. Perhaps after another intifada (which Israel will win). Perhaps next week, if the US gives them a big present.

And the game will continue. The talks will restart, and they’ll reach the point near the end, where they’ll collapse again, for only one reason, because a signed peace agreement won’t allow for the destruction of Israel.

European Double-Talk on the Funding of PA Terrorism

Sunday, March 30th, 2014

Over at the ParliamentToday.com update service (“operated by Parliamentary News Services, Press Gallery, House of Commons”) they posted the following exchange today to their subscribers, one of whom (H/T Michael H.) kindly forwarded it along to us.

E-001778/2014 | Monday, 3 March 2014 Question for written answer to the Commission (Vice-President/High Representative) Rule 117: Michał Tomasz Kamiński (ECR) VP/HR — Salaries to terrorists in Israeli prisons

It is a well-known fact that the Palestinian Authority proudly owns up to illegally spending over 6% of its budget — donated by, among others, the EU, where funding terrorism is against the law — on salaries for terrorists in Israeli prisons and pensions for the families of suicide bombers. The Palestinian Prisoner Affairs Minister, Issa Qarake, has admitted on television that the salaries are directly proportional to the terrorists’ sentences and the number of Jews they have killed. 1. What information can the EEAS provide concerning this case? 2. What is the Commission’s strategy to stop EU funds being used to pay salaries to terrorists in Israeli prisons? As the last known case of paying money for killing Jews was in Nazi Germany, will the EU High Representative condemn this practice?

Answer given by Mr Füle on behalf of the Commission

The EU is aware that the Palestinian Authority has a system of allowances in place for Palestinian prisoners, their families and ex-detainees. This scheme is not and has never been financed by the EU. All the funds the EU allocates to the Palestinian Authority for salaries, pensions and social allocations, are subject to rigorous ex ante and ex post verification procedures, notably including a specific check against a recognised data base of individuals listed as having a connection with terrorism of any sort. Any name which is signalled by the check is automatically deleted from the list of beneficiaries. The Commission would also refer the Honourable Member to its answer to Written Question E-14320/2013

Anyone who has reviewed the tragic history of EC double-talk around the subject of money – generously but ignorantly provided by unwitting European taxpayers via their representatives in Brussels – handed over to the Palestinian Arabs, knows that it is rich in language like what’s on display here. Don’t blame us; we didn’t do anything wrong; we have rigorous ex ante and ex post verification procedures, and so on.

This sand-in-your-eyes resort to self-parodying language is calculated to do precisely what it achieves: to conceal far more than it reveals.

Some might be interested to know that we wrote about this phenomenon in the Wall Street Journal Europe as far back as September 2003: see “Blood, Money and Education“. The issue was by no means new or unknown even then.

In fact, from personal knowledge, there has been an inside understanding among the civil servants of the EC and their political masters [9-Sep-13: Snouts and troughs“] since at least 2003 to do whatever it takes to hide the truly hideous things that everyone knows are done with those European funds that go to Ramallah.

In all those years during which torrents of European funding, amounting to billions of Euros, were channeled, first, to the blood-drenched Arafat regime, and then to the corrupt and insider-controlled regime of Mahmoud Abbas, those oh-so-careful Eureaucrats managed to avoid carrying out even one financial audit, until the one published this past December [full text here]. All of this while the the EU “provides 20% of the direct financial support for the PA“, making it “the biggest multilateral donor to the Occupied Palestinian Territories”.

And what did that audit find?

• EU aid to the Palestinian Authority worth billions of euros needs an “overhaul” and major changes in some areas, the bloc’s Court of Auditors said… If the circumstances are difficult, there are still “a number of aspects of the current approach in need of an overhaul,” said Hans Gustaf Wessberg, who wrote the report for the court. “There is a need for major revisions such as encouraging the PA to undertake more reforms” [EUbusiness, December 12, 2013]

• “The EU should stop paying the salaries of thousands of Palestinian civil servants in the Gaza Strip who are not going to work… They called for a major review, saying money spent on civil servants there should go to the West Bank instead.”BBC, December 11, 2013

• “It is difficult to ensure that EU money is not misused or does not become a drip-feed, it said… The PA is not undertaking all the reforms that the EU would like. At every turn there are political causes and factors. The audit is therefore a political minefield.” [European Voice, December 12, 2013] (It’s worth noting that a Times of London journalist who saw the pre-publication version of the audit report in October 2014 wrote an article then that went further, summing up what the pre-publication version of the report he saw was going to say: “Billions of euros in European aid to the Palestinians may have been misspent, squandered or lost to corruption, according to a damning report by the European Court of Auditors...” Our sense is that the report went through a sanitization process after his article appeared and before the public saw it.)

The Pollard-Shalit Hostage Negotiations

Wednesday, March 26th, 2014

Terrorists who murdered a friend of mine are supposedly on the list of terrorists to be released in this upcoming round of prisoner releases – all for the “privilege” of seating down with the PA chief terrorist for talks. That makes this particular terrorist release a bit more personal for me than some of the other releases.

The talk today in Israel is about the proposal that Kerry and Obama purportedly made to Abbas and Netanyahu.

Netanyahu will free these terrorists, Abbas will continue to sit and talk to Netanyahu until the end of the year or so, and Obama will, in exchange, free Jonathan Pollard.

A lot of thoughts went through my head when I heard this.

The first was the Wye Agreement, when Clinton promised Netanyahu that he would free Pollard, and then reneged on that. So I hope that if Netanyahu agrees, he learned his lesson, and will demand Pollard be released first.

But I also thought about Pollard being freed, with the disgusting price being demanded in return.

And that brought me to thinking about Gilad Shalit and Hamas.

Gilad Shalit was being held hostage by Hamas in order to obtain the release of terrorists, and now the message from the White House is that Pollard is being held hostage by Obama in order to obtain the release of terrorists.

The comparison is obvious, and here in Israel, where we’ve had a lot of unfortunate experience in this area – it’s what most of us are thinking.

I’m not going to discuss the morality of trading terrorists for hostages, but it is an incredibly difficult decision.

But I would ask Netanyahu to add one more condition to this hostage negotiation.

We don’t want these terrorists anywhere near us. Not in Israel, not in the PA.

We’ll take Pollard, in exchange for releasing the terrorists, so Abbas will pretend to talk to us some more. But we don’t want those terrorists anywhere near us.

Netanyahu should say our condition is as follows, the plane that is bringing Jonathan Pollard home to Israel, should, on its way back to America, be transporting all those released terrorists to their new homes – in America.

That’s a fair trade.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/muqata/the-pollard-shalit-hostage-negotiations/2014/03/26/

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