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October 25, 2014 / 1 Heshvan, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Kerry’

Kerry to Labor Party Leader: If No Deal by March, US Pulls Out

Tuesday, January 7th, 2014

Secretary of State John Kerry may look like he’s pulling all the stops in pushing an Israeli-Palestinian deal, but, according to newly elected Labor party chairman MK Yitzhak Herzog, the U.S. can also read the writing on the wall. Herzog told Maariv that should there be no significant movement by the end of March, “it looks like the U.S. will take a step back and lower its profile” on the negotiations.

At the same time, Herzog was quick to point out, Kerry is filled with optimism regarding the chances of the current talks, telling his Israeli supporter on the left that both Benjamin Netanyahu and Mahmoud Abbas have made brave and significant concessions.

Kerry’s main point in his meeting with Israel’s opposition leader Herzog was to find out how many hands would be raised in the Knesset in support of the Netanyahu concessions.

“He asked us not to enable the toppling of Netanyahu should he lose parts of the right” in his own coalition, “who will decide to vote against him once there’s progress in the talks,” a source in Herzog’s circle told Maariv.

The ever-present danger in volatile votes like this, is that once the prime minister loses the support of a sizeable portion of his own coalition members, the next move is in the hands of the opposition leader, who calls for a vote of no confidence in the prime minister. At this point, if the same coalition members are angry enough, they add their votes to the opposition and take down the government.

Herzog wasn’t going to do that over the “peace process.” But the question remains whether Netanyahu really ahs the votes supporting the uprooting a constantly shifting number of Jews from Judea and Samaria (that number has gone from 150,000 down to 80,000 – neither of which have much reality to them, because the Palestinians want everything and the settlers won’t budge either, at least not without riot police bashing their faces in, which could spell the end of Netanyahu’s marriage with the right).

The same source said they were surprised by the seriousness of the current phase in the talks, and the fact that they now include all the “heavy” subjects, such as the right of return for Palestinians from around the world into Israel proper, the status of Jerusalem, Israeli control over the Jordan Valley, and, presumably, land swaps of settlements and Israeli Arab cities.

According to Maariv, based on information from senior political officials, Kerry plans to set up a direct meeting between Netanyahu and Abbas moments after the American “framework” document is finalized.

Kerry “is determined to hold a political summit meeting between the two leaders, as soon as he succeeds in getting agreements for that famous document,” the sources said.

Mind you, the “framework document” is expected to be merely a list of all the issues about which both sides disagree. Also, the document will not require the two sides to sign it, merely to acknowledge that, indeed, they disagree on those issues.

That’s not a lot to ask for. But there’s a reason for this strange document, which presents as success something which should have been the opening notes of the talks, rather than the sum total of their achievements after 7 months. Kerry intends to use this manufactured “success” as a basis for issuing a one-year extension to the talks, which are slated to conclude—based on the Secretary’s time limit—this February.

No one beats the State Department in smoke and mirror acts (Defense concentrates more on dog and pony).

Which makes our own headline here, based on the revelations in Maariv, about as hokum as anything the Secretary has been scheming. Kerry imposes a deadline, then creates a means to schlep out the deadline ad infinitum, then threatens to take his ball and go home in March, but by the time March rolls in the teams will be deep in phase two – and achieving nothing.

Livni Team Thinking Outside the Box: Swap Israeli Arabs for Settlers

Wednesday, January 1st, 2014

A senior Israeli source close to the peace negotiations has told Maariv that Israel has proposed to the U.S. a population exchange with the Palestinian state that will not require a physical transfer.

The idea is to turn over the “Arab triangle,” where about 300 thousand Israeli Arabs live today in the eastern Sharon Valley (near Netanya), in return for the “block settlements” in Judea and Samaria, which include Gush Etzion, the Shchem area, Maale Adumim near Jerusalem and possibly the Hebron area. Such a swap would also most likely include the Jordan Valley.

The proposed swap would not include the “outposts,” which are more scattered and whose legal status is in dispute.

From the tone of the official speaking to Maariv, it appears that the idea could catch fire at this point in time, because it is far more likely to be embraced by a majority of Israeli Jews. It’s greatest claim to fame is the fact that it “only” removes 100 to 150 thousand settlers from their homes, a number which many Israelis could live with. This number has been bandied around by Science Minister Yaakov Perry in recent days, as the unavoidable “painful sacrifice” the Jewish state must endure for the sake of peace.

Kerry might be tempted to entertain this idea in public, even if he does not end up actually endorsing it, because it would appeal to the right wing in Israel as well as in the U.S. Fewer people get hurt, Israel is rid of part of a significant ethnic minority that can threaten the Jewish character of the state (Remember the ticking demographic bomb? It ain’t ticking so much, as Arab birthrate has been declining, but it still sounds good).

Last time this idea was contemplated, by current Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, it evoked a very negative, even angry response from the left, and from the Arab Israelis, who accused Lieberman of racism.

Hard to tell why physically uprooting Jews is not racism, but merely redrawing the border to the west of an area rather than its east is racist.

Of course, the main reason the Triangle Arabs hated this proposal, and no doubt will despise it again, is because they’re nobody’s fools: why move from a Western democracy to a third world PLO (and later Hamas) dictatorship?

Also, the 100 to 150 thousand settlers and their loved ones will not be enamoured with the expulsion part.

And, of course, the Palestinian negotiators will hate it because, to be fair, it kind of favors Israel, legitimizing upwards of half a million Jewish settlers, while at the same time helping it unload an ancient security problem—the Arab Tiriangle.

In my humble opinion, while I remain certain of the hopelessness of the Kerry effort, beginning to end, I must admit that this is just the kind of out of the box thinking that would boost the near-defunct 2-state solution.

Did you hug a released Palestinian terrorist today?

Livni Echoing Oslo – Negotiations to Continue Despite Terror Attack

Monday, December 23rd, 2013

For those who remember the macabre slogan from the Oslo years, 1994-5, “Sacrifices for Peace,” Justice Minister Tzipi Livni’s latest remarks don’t sound very different, following yesterday’s bus bombing attempt, and the escalation in terror attacks against Jews in Judea and Samaria.

“Sacrifices for Peace” was a phrase coined at the time by the Left to describe what they thought of the thousands of Israeli victims of Palestinian terror. and, despite their denial, the terror attacks were guided by the same exact people Israel was negotiating with at the time.

The Israeli officials involved in the Oslo negotiations at the time insisted that Arafat and his crew were not involved in the terror attacks, and for good measure added that the terror attacks Israel suffered were the “price of peace” (another macabre slogan coined at the time) that Israel had to pay in order to reach a lasting agreement with the Palestinians.

It was only years later when irrefutable evidence was exposed, showing the direct connection between the Arabs Israel had been negotiating with and the terrorists they were sending out to kill Jews. Except, perhaps, for Shimon Peres, most of the “peace” supporters could no longer support this lie.

Livni is enthusiastically leading the current negotiations with the Palestinian Authority.

Following yesterday’s attack, at a conference on Quality in Government, Livni said:

“We [Israel] are not negotiating with those trying to hurt us.

Against [the bad Arabs] we need to act decisively. They won’t tell us what to do.

We will continue to negotiate with those that want to reach an agreement with us, and aren’t using violence.

Israel will continue to provide security for its residents.”

Like the French House of Bourbon, Tzipi Livni has learned nothing and forgotten nothing.

 

Statement by President Obama on First Step Agreement on Iran’s Nuclear Program

Sunday, November 24th, 2013

Statement By The President On First Step Agreement On Iran’s Nuclear Program

THE PRESIDENT: Good evening. Today, the United States — together with our close allies and partners — took an important first step toward a comprehensive solution that addresses our concerns with the Islamic Republic of Iran’s nuclear program.

Since I took office, I’ve made clear my determination to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. As I’ve said many times, my strong preference is to resolve this issue peacefully, and we’ve extended the hand of diplomacy. Yet for many years, Iran has been unwilling to meet its obligations to the international community. So my administration worked with Congress, the United Nations Security Council and countries around the world to impose unprecedented sanctions on the Iranian government.

These sanctions have had a substantial impact on the Iranian economy, and with the election of a new Iranian President earlier this year, an opening for diplomacy emerged. I spoke personally with President Rouhani of Iran earlier this fall. Secretary Kerry has met multiple times with Iran’s Foreign Minister. And we have pursued intensive diplomacy — bilaterally with the Iranians, and together with our P5-plus-1 partners — the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Russia, and China, as well as the European Union.

Today, that diplomacy opened up a new path toward a world that is more secure — a future in which we can verify that Iran’s nuclear program is peaceful and that it cannot build a nuclear weapon.

While today’s announcement is just a first step, it achieves a great deal. For the first time in nearly a decade, we have halted the progress of the Iranian nuclear program, and key parts of the program will be rolled back. Iran has committed to halting certain levels of enrichment and neutralizing part of its stockpiles. Iran cannot use its next-generation centrifuges, which are used for enriching uranium. Iran cannot install or start up new centrifuges, and its production of centrifuges will be limited. Iran will halt work at its plutonium reactor. And new inspections will provide extensive access to Iran’s nuclear facilities and allow the international community to verify whether Iran is keeping its commitments.

These are substantial limitations which will help prevent Iran from building a nuclear weapon. Simply put, they cut off Iran’s most likely paths to a bomb. Meanwhile, this first step will create time and space over the next six months for more negotiations to fully address our comprehensive concerns about the Iranian program. And because of this agreement, Iran cannot use negotiations as cover to advance its program.

On our side, the United States and our friends and allies have agreed to provide Iran with modest relief, while continuing to apply our toughest sanctions. We will refrain from imposing new sanctions, and we will allow the Iranian government access to a portion of the revenue that they have been denied through sanctions. But the broader architecture of sanctions will remain in place and we will continue to enforce them vigorously. And if Iran does not fully meet its commitments during this six-month phase, we will turn off the relief and ratchet up the pressure.

Over the next six months, we will work to negotiate a comprehensive solution. We approach these negotiations with a basic understanding: Iran, like any nation, should be able to access peaceful nuclear energy. But because of its record of violating its obligations, Iran must accept strict limitations on its nuclear program that make it impossible to develop a nuclear weapon.

In these negotiations, nothing will be agreed to unless everything is agreed to. The burden is on Iran to prove to the world that its nuclear program will be exclusively for peaceful purposes.

If Iran seizes this opportunity, the Iranian people will benefit from rejoining the international community, and we can begin to chip away at the mistrust between our two nations. This would provide Iran with a dignified path to forge a new beginning with the wider world based on mutual respect. If, on the other hand, Iran refuses, it will face growing pressure and isolation.

Over the last few years, Congress has been a key partner in imposing sanctions on the Iranian government, and that bipartisan effort made possible the progress that was achieved today. Going forward, we will continue to work closely with Congress. However, now is not the time to move forward on new sanctions -– because doing so would derail this promising first step, alienate us from our allies and risk unraveling the coalition that enabled our sanctions to be enforced in the first place.

Bibi Dissing the PLO while Kerry Tries to Salvage Talks

Wednesday, November 6th, 2013

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday told Secretary of State John Kerry taht the Palestinians are manufacturing “artificial crises.” The secretary is attempting to rescue the brittle “peace process.”

Kerry’s arrival in the area late Tuesday night, to meet with both sides amid growing indications that the U.S.-sponsored talks are collapsing.

The Tuesday talks in Jerusalem between Israeli and Palestinian negotiators exploded over settlement construction, with PLO negotiators saying the Israelis are trying to discredit them by linking in quid pro quo fashion the construction plans with the release of 104 prisoners.

“There was an explosion in the meeting,” one Palestinian official close to the talks told Ma’an.

Netanyahu was not impressed by these Palestinian accusations, telling the visiting Kerry that they are avoiding the tough decisions.

“I am concerned about progress because I see the Palestinians continuing with incitements, to create artificial crises … and run away from historic decisions that are needed to make a genuine peace,” Netanyahu told Kerry, according to a statement from the PM’s office.

Kerry, for his part, expressed confidence that the two sides could reach a peace deal if they were willing to “make real compromises and hard decisions.”

“There are always difficulties, always tensions. I am very confident of our ability to work through them,” Kerry told reporters after the meeting.

Netanyahu rejects a return to the 1967 border lines as “indefensible,” saying it would not take into account the “demographic changes on the ground,” meaning there are Israelis living east of the old border, and they must stay.

Senior PLO official Yasser Abed Rabbo said this week that Israel is not engaging in peace talks with PLO negotiators.

“There is one party negotiating, and that is us, while the other party is not proposing anything that goes in line with international legitimacy and law,” Abed Rabbo told Voice of Palestine radio.

Israel “responds to us not at the negotiating table, but with its bulldozers, settler hooliganism and all kinds of violations in Jerusalem and al-Aqsa Mosque and everywhere else, ” he added.

Naturally, the fact that there’s not a shred of truth in any of those allegations did not stop the Ma’an news agency from quoting Rabbo verbatim.

Pragmatism Or Ideology?

Thursday, August 22nd, 2013

During the week that the EU announced its planned sanctions against Israel, one of the dedicated Land of Israel lobbyists requested that I add my signature to a petition from MKs to the prime minister requesting the renewal of construction in Jerusalem. Thirty-two highly respectable signatures of loyal MKs from the center and right of Israeli politics already adorned the petition. But after a cursory glance at the following petition, I clearly could not sign:

To: MK Binyamin Netanyahu

Prime Minister

Re: Renewal of Construction in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria – Now

We turn to you regarding the above issue as follows:

1. In these days, we are witness to another attempt by the European Union to terrorize the State of Israel and to damage its vital interests. This attempt may thwart any chance for a political breakthrough and foil the efforts of Secretary of State Kerry to renew the diplomatic negotiations.

2. On the backdrop of this attempt and its results, there is no place to wait any longer and it is imperative to immediately renew construction in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria.

3. We request that you give the appropriate instructions for renewal of construction.

Respectfully,

“I can’t sign,” I gently said to the lobbyist. “I have a problem with the wording.”

“What’s the problem?”

“This document implies that we must renew construction in Jerusalem so that Kerry can succeed in the diplomatic process. But I think that we must build in Jerusalem for entirely different reasons, and I am absolutely opposed to the diplomatic process.”

The lobbyist tried to convince me that this is pragmatic politics, that this is the argument around which we can now achieve a consensus. “I also don’t like it,” he explained, “but that’s politics.”

The reputable number of MKs that signed the letter proved, on the surface, that he was right. One week later, Kerry succeeded in renewing negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians. Thirty-two MKs, those most loyal to the land of Israel – from Likud, Jewish Home, Yisrael Beiteinu and even Shas – are now signed onto a document that implies that there is no longer a reason to renew construction in Jerusalem. Our common goal – renewal of “peace” talks – has already been achieved.

Would a leftist MK ever dream of adding his name to this type of convoluted document that fundamentally contradicts his entire worldview – all in the name of political pragmatism?

Which politics ultimately determines Israel’s agenda? The “pragmatic” politics of the Right or the ideology of the Left?

It is time for the Right to connect its politics to its ideology.

US: Negotiations Resume Wednesday, ‘Outpost’ Construction Illegitimate

Friday, August 9th, 2013

In Thursday’s State department’s daily press briefing, Spokesperson Jen Psaki announced that the peace negotiations (lovingly nicknamed MEPP) between the Israelis and Palestinians will resume on August 14 in Jerusalem, to be followed by a meeting in Jericho.

In response to a question about the Israeli government’s decision to build between 800 and 1,000 more housing units on the wrong side of the “green line,” Psaki answered: “Our position on settlements has not changed. We do not accept the legitimacy of continued settlement activity and oppose any efforts to legitimize settlement outposts.”

But she was quick to add that Secretary of State John Kerry still “believes both of the negotiating teams are at the table in good faith and are committed to working together to make progress.” Meaning, she thinks the announcement was little more than some muscle flexing in Jerusalem, in preparation for the next bout with the Palestinians, nothing that couldn’t be shut down in a phone call. Indeed, she added, “We are speaking to the Government of Israel and making our concerns known.”

According to Psaki, Ambassador Martin Indyk, who’s been not-achieving peace in the Middle East since late last century, and Deputy Special Envoy Frank Lowenstein, also known as a Kerry staffer, “will travel to the region to help facilitate negotiations.”

But lest you raise your hopes in vain, according to Psaki, Kerry does not expect to make any announcements in the aftermath of this round of talks.

As The Jewish Press reported earlier, Secretary Kerry and National Security Adviser Susan Rice held roundtable discussions with Jewish American and Arab American community leaders last night, and there’s one coming this Friday morning, at the White House. These meetings are expected to serve as “an opportunity to update community leaders on the resumption of direct final status negotiations between the Israelis and the Palestinians, as well as to hear directly from these community leaders about their perspectives.”

Indyk and Lowenstein also attend these two meetings.

Before the first meeting, Psaki stated the Secretary is “looking forward to these discussions with leaders who have been deeply involved in these issues for many, many years, and who share our goal of achieving a final status agreement with two states living side by side in peace and security.”

Or, as our reporter Lori Lowenthal Marcus put it: “Kerry Briefs Jewish ‘Leaders’ (Cheerleaders?) on MidEast Talks.”

To remind you, the first release of Palestinian prisoners with Jewish blood on their hands is scheduled for Tuesday, on the eve of the talks in Jerusalem.

As to the construction in outposts, about which the U.S. is so upset – it began with an announcement by Minister Naftali Bennett earlier this week, about renewing construction in East Jerusalem, a legally annexed area under Israeli sovereignty. But, of course, none of it is happening any time soon. As we told you over these screens, Naftali Bennett’s Jewish Home is the one coalition member which is not part of the peace negotiations “team.” By team, of course, they mean anyone but Bennett and Uri Ariel. So, the honorable minister’s ability to turn his promises about construction into actual construction is very similar to your and my ability in the same area.

So he might as well promise a million new uinit. Sounds better and has the same results.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/us-negotiations-resume-wednesday-outpost-construction-illegitimate/2013/08/09/

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