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April 16, 2014 / 16 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘negotiations’

‘Ministers Oppose Release of Final Arab Terror Group’

Thursday, March 27th, 2014

Government ministers are deeply divided over whether to free a final fourth tranche of 26 Arab terrorists, a group which includes about 20 Israeli Arab citizens.

The move, scheduled for tomorrow as the last of a total of more than 100 Palestinian Authority terrorists, has created a serious coalition crisis for Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.

Economy Minister Naftali Bennett said in an interview on Voice of Israel government radio this morning that a majority of ministers are overwhelmingly opposed to the release of Israeli Arab prisoners.

Bennett also maintained that the entire issue of the release “must be renegotiated.”

Intended originally as a “good will gesture” to PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, each tranche was to be conditional upon his active participation in direct final status talks with Israel.

But that has not happened, and as the deadline for conclusion of the talks approaches, Abbas is again waffling about his commitment to negotiations, saying he instead intends to return to his starting position of no compromises at all.

Why These Negotiations Will Always Fail

Friday, January 3rd, 2014

Peace in the Middle East between Israel and its neighbors—including the Palestinians—is generally described as “elusive.” Why have forty years of active efforts not led to permanent peace in the region? Why 20 years after Oslo is there no great sign that peace stands ready to break out between the Palestinians and Israelis? The simple answer is that parties are negotiating on different planes that can never intersect.

Let’s analyze the ostensible goals of the parties to the current round of talks. The Israelis want peace and one can see why: lower regional threats, less military spending, greater regional cooperation, increased tourism revenue, export of Israeli technology, increased trade with Europe and more. What do the Palestinians get in the peace deal? They get less than half of the land they believe they deserve. They can look forward to a million or more Arab “refugees” showing up, expecting housing, food, work, and schools. They will be saddled with building an economy without natural resources or a strong technical ethos, while international donations will dry up (especially from Muslim countries, for the sin of recognizing a Jewish state). In short, the Israelis have much to gain from peace, while the Palestinian leaders who are running their side of the talks have much to lose.

Additionally, Israelis negotiate like Americans and Europeans: they try to cut a deal, but if it does not work, then they fall back to the present conditions. The Palestinians work in a different way: either they get what they want, or they pull out the terror card. Lawyers who reviewed signed confessions of Marwan Barghouti’s lieutenants found a singular pattern: if negotiations in the Arafat period were going well, then Tanzim and the like were told to lay low. If the Israelis were intransigent—on borders, refugees, or the like—then the order was given to attack. Negotiations cannot proceed when one side is willing to take a much greater liberty than the other side is willing to entertain. Picture if one football team had to respect the out-of-bound lines, while the other did not. The Israelis might walk away from talks, but they would not order the murder of Palestinian citizens, leftist propaganda aside. The Palestinians, on the other hand, are more than comfortable using attacks on Israeli citizens as a means to get what they want at the negotiating table—and this is a point that Americans and Europeans diplomats have never understood. They are convinced that everyone thinks like they do: peace is always good, and the rules of negotiations exclude violence between sides.

The reason for this failed understanding is cultural. Let’s look back at the Nazis, some of the greatest murderers ever. One notes that no German soldier was ever commanded to either kill or injure himself in order to gas, shoot, blow up, torch or otherwise kill a Jew. The Nazis were sadists and invented horrific ways to kill Jewish men, women and children; still, they would not have considered personal bodily harm or worse as being required to kill a Jew. The Palestinians, on the other hand, not only are active practitioners of suicide bombings, but polls still show that their citizenry supports such activities. We of a Western mind-frame find it impossible to consider such an act—whom do we hate so much that we would be willing to undertake such horrific activity? Are there any children or aged citizens of any country that we would hope to obliterate with flying shrapnel so as to somehow exact revenge on somebody else who has some tenuous relationship to the ones blown up? I have asked these questions to student groups visiting from the US; no one can answer in the affirmative.
This week marked another gratuitous prisoner release by Israel in the ersatz peace process.

These releases have generally been categorized as “confidence building measures.” Is there anyone who could define or identify any confidence built by releasing 26 murderers? The Palestinians partied with the released convicts and demanded the release of all Palestinian prisoners; Israelis felt anguish at the release and saw protests and complaints against the release of more murderers. What confidence was built by this act? None. The prisoner release is a bribe to the Palestinian leaders to continue with the worthless process of peace-making, so that they can show their base that they are getting something from the talks. The terrorists are free, the Palestinians only want more, and the Israeli leadership is put in the uncomfortable position of explaining why murderers walk free, with nothing to show for it. The Palestinians get their terrorists back, but the act has no tangible effect on the direction, good will or pace of the negotiations.

The current peace talks will enjoy the same fate as their predecessors; and ditto for any future talks. The talks will break down because even the most left-wing Israeli politician is not yet ready to commit national suicide to accommodate the minimal Palestinian demands on dividing Jerusalem, accepting indefensible borders, and welcoming anything more than some token refugees. The Palestinians will blame the Israelis, as will most of the international community. Israel will point the finger at an intransigent Palestinian Authority, and we’ll wait for the whole process to start again sometime in the future.

I would argue that the above analysis is pragmatic and not in the least pessimistic. The Palestinians have too much to lose by making peace and also play by rules not understood or appreciated by the likes of John Kerry or Catherine Ashton. The simple fact is that the Palestinian Authority today enjoys large contributions from international donors and avoids all responsibility for building a functional society designed to absorb four generations of self-made Palestinian “refugees” living in Lebanon, Iraq, Syria and the like. Israel looks forward to a rosier future, one that would include peace; the Palestinian cannot see getting a better deal than they have in the present. And for that, negotiations will—again—go nowhere, however much John Kerry and his Israeli partners try to tell us otherwise.

Government Approves Bill to Annex the Jordan Valley

Sunday, December 29th, 2013

After almost 47 years in which the entire area conquered in 1967, other than East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights, have remained a military occupation zone, this Sunday the Netanyahu government approved a bill that would annex the Jordan Valley.

The government ministers’ legislation committee approved a bill proposed by MK Miri Regev (Likud), to impose Israeli law over Jewish settlements in the Jordan Valley. 8 ministers voted for, 3 against.

The committee chairperson, Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, said the bill was irresponsible, and whomever supports it is irresponsible, too. She said it was meant as an assault on the government, since policy regarding the disputed territories is a government matter and should not be handled via private bills.

Livni added that the bills’ supporters wish to remain in the government despite the fact that it’s negotiating for a 2-state solution, and at the same time curry favor with the right wing “extremists.”

Did we mention already that she called it provocative and irresponsible?

Yesh Atid Minister Yaakov Perry said the Miri Regev bill to annex the Valley in the middle of a sensitive negotiation, days before the next visit of the American secretary of state is a provocation and a publicity stunt. Perry promised to appeal the bill at the Supreme Court.

In Israel you don’t have to wait until a bill becomes a law to appeal it – and in this way the judiciary can function as an active member of the legislator, despite the fact that no one voted for them, and that they were all appointed by their brother in law, who’s also a judge. Very traditional.

The Israeli media covered mostly what the left had to say about Miri Regev, but the website Srugim actually interviewed Regev, who said she was pleased.

“It’s an important bill, which delivers the message that the State of Israel will not give up the Valley settlements, the eastern security belt of the state,” she said.

A note of interest: the votes in favor of the bill came from all the votes of the Likud, Israel Beiteinu and Jewish Home. This may be an indication that the pro-settlements MKs will be able to turn it into law, especially if Prime Minister Netanyahu does not actively try to kill it – which he has done in similar situations in the past.

The vote today clearly means that Netanyahu gave his approval, tacit or complete, to the annexation bill, making the next Palestinian walkout threat a virtual reality.

Should they walk, Israel may be able to use it as an excuse to halt the murderer prisoner release.

Or Bibi will just kill the bill and we’ll all move on.

Satellite image of the Jordan valley.

Satellite image of the Jordan valley.

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.

 

PA Negotiators Climb Down from a Weak Limb and Now ‘Oversee’ Talks

Thursday, November 21st, 2013

The Palestinian Authority negotiating team has found its way down from a weak limb on a tall tree by saying that they resignations are final but that they will continue “temporarily” until replacements are found.

Presumably, that will happen in around five months, when the nine-month period  U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s Grand Plan for Middle East Peace expires.

However, Nabil Sha’ath, a senior member of Fatah’s central committee, denied reports that senior negotiator Saeb Erekat and his associate Mohammed Shteyyah would hang on until the bitter end.

Erekat announced last week they are quitting because of lack of progress in the talks with Israel as well as the Netanyahu government’s insistence on building for Jews in areas that the Palestinian Authority and the Obama administration consider to be part of a future PA state.

Fowl Peace Talks a Treif Thanksgiving Turkey

Thursday, November 21st, 2013

Middle East experts are experts by virtue of their positions of power.

Some of them, like former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, even have learned a thing or two about international affairs. Rice actually has a Ph.D., which as comedian-pianist Victor Borge once said, should be read as “phttttttttttt.”

The experts, and that includes John Kerry, Hillary Clinton, Catherine Ashton and the Oslo Accords crowd, may have learned about prophets, kings, oil and sheikhs in International Relations 101, but they missed out on the basics, like selling non-kosher turkeys to the Arabs.

I learned more about Arab-Jewish relations by working in kibbutz turkey barns than Kerry and Ashton could ever learn in their worldwide visits to official residents of presidents and prime ministers in Ramallah, Jerusalem and Amman.

Turkeys, like people, are cute when they are babies, but after a few weeks, they are not like most people. Their feet are scratchy and they begin to stink. When they get to be three months old, some of them pick up a cold, a little bronchitis, or start to hobble on weak knees, probably from too many carbohydrates.

Then they start acting like grown teenagers. The stronger turkeys pick on the weaker ones, just like fifth-graders playing king of the hill. They peck at the skin until the poor gobbler cannot stand on his feet.

When I was in charge of the birds on a kibbutz farm, the sick and injured had their own quarters, a fenced-off intensive care ward where the bullies couldn’t bother them. But sometimes it was too late. Their broken legs and their bronchitis often are more than modern medicine can cure on a cost-efficient basis.

What can you do with a sick and lame turkey? You sell it cheaply. After all, the reason to raise turkeys is turn them into fat candidates for the slaughterhouse and convert them into cold cash. The Humane Society really does not have much demand for them.

That’s where a revised International Relations 101 course could have taught the experts, sitting in their sterilized offices, something besides making roadmaps to nowhere. Even Professor Yossi Beilin, the darling of the Israeli Left, doesn’t know a kibbutz from Damascus.

Peace is a business, like anything else these days. But you have to know the rules of the game. A good Western businessman knows that a handshake is a handshake, a word is a word, and a deal is a deal.

For instance, Tom wants to sell his two-year-old Chevy for $5,000. Clyde wants to buy it for $4,000. One of them budges or there’s no deal. Jim tries to cut a deal at $4,400. If Tom and Clyde compromise at $4,500, Tom gets his money and Clyde gets his wheels. As for Jim, that’s his problem.

But that’s not the way it works in the Middle East. Here, Abe writes out a check and Ahmed gives him the key. The next day, Abe discovers the key doesn’t fit. “Of course it does not fit,” Ahmed retorts. “The price of the car was according to the real value of the dollar. The inflation rate went up 0.2 percent yesterday. You owe me $10!”

Abe protests, “Where’s the cell phone antenna that was on the roof? I am stopping payment on the check. You owe me $25 for the bank charge.”

“I’m not finished stripping the car,” retaliates Ahmed. The DVD is mine, but I’ll put back the original radio. It works most of the time, especially the Al Jazeera channel.”

“Look, here,” snarls Abe. “I paid you $4,500, but that was based on the price of gold. It went up two cents yesterday. The real price is $4,498.09.”

“You can add another $120 for the deluxe hub caps, or I’ll take them with me,” Ahmed shouts.

They agree to talk again tomorrow. That was 10 years ago. They still are talking.

It doesn’t matter that Abe still has to thumb a ride to work and that Ahmed does the same because he doesn’t have enough money for gas. The principles are that the other guy didn’t get what he wanted so they can continue arguing.

In Western societies, negotiations are a means to an end. The objective is to make a deal so both sides get what they want.

Iran against the World, Netanyahu Alone against Iran

Friday, October 11th, 2013

Iran on Thursday drew a “red line” on preserving its “right” to produce enriched uranium, less than a week before the “PT5+1” begins another round of negotiations for Iran that are expected to stretch several months, plenty of time for it to race across Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s red line.

One-minded mass media this week enthusiastically reported Iran’s offer  to limit the number of centrifuges operating, restrict its amount of enriched uranium and accept verification but has totally ignored Iran’s “red line.”

Seyed Hossein Naqavi Hossein, a senior Iranian legislator  and rapporteur of the parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Commission, was reported by the government-run Fars News Agency on Thursday as saying, “The Iranian nation’s right to peaceful nuclear technology and uranium enrichment up to whatever level required by the country’s nuclear industry are regarded as our red lines.”

He said that no one is allowed to cross the red lines of the Islamic system.

The road to a nuclear-armed Iran is virtually the same one used by the Palestinian Authority to tire out the West and win all of its political and territorial demands.

First, both Iran and PA  chairman Mahmoud Abbas have learned to say the right word at the right time to the right people.

Second, they have made cosmetic changes while hardening their single-track objectives.

Third, both entities deliver a message at home that is 180 degrees opposite what they tell the West.

Fourth, the United States and its allies are willing to talk and talk so long as Iran does not have the bomb.

That is what scares Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, and rightly so. He said in the United Nations two weeks ago that the most dangerous situation would be allowing Iran to have the capacity for manufacturing a nuclear warhead and while sitting idly by until it decides to go ahead with a doomsday weapon, by which time it will be too late to stop it.

The Prime Minister has stayed on the good side of President Barack Obama and has not directly challenged his approach. Instead, he used his visit to the United States last week to go on a media blitz to take his case into the homes of Americans.

Now he is doing the same in Europe.

He conducted no less than six interviews Thursday with media outlets from Britain, Germany and France, three of the PT+1 countries that will meet next week with Iran in Geneva. The others are the United States, China and Russia.

“No deal is better than a bad deal, and a bad deal would be a partial agreement which lifts sanctions off Iran and leaves them with the ability to enrich uranium or to continue work on their heavy water plutonium, which is what is needed to produce nuclear weapons,” Prime Minister Netanyahu told the London Financial Times.

Targeting his audience, the Prime Minister referred to Nazi Germany and reminded listeners  that Churchill said, “Don’t let the Nazis arm themselves. Don’t let an implacable, radical regime have awesome power. And he was right, and there is a lesson to be learned here [to] be tough, be strong, be consistent… Europe should stop looking for excuses why it does not take action against Iran. If you want to be soft, be soft.”

Netanyahu stands almost alone against Iran, but there is still one very strong force that understands that Iran and the Palestinian Authority share the same concept of “negotiate,” which to them means, “You give and we take.”

That strong force is not a country; it is the U.S. Congress.

Republican Rep. Trent Franks of Arkansas is signing up co-sponsors to a new bill to authorize war against the Islamic Republic if it does not cease all enrichment of uranium.

There is little chance the bill will pass Congress, but a strong Congressional voice would act as brakes on President Obama’s “engagement,” just as it has acted to slow down Obama’s eagerness to give Abbas whatever he wants.

The New York Times, a regular grandstander for the president, is leading the bandwagon of “let’s trust Iran” just as it has done for 20 years to trust the Palestinian Authority, explaining that every terrorist attack only proves that Israel should surrender “land for peace” and if it turns out to be “land for war,” well, that’s Israel’s problem.

Yesh Atid Skips Out of Critical Finance Vote for Beit El

Friday, October 11th, 2013

Three Yesh Atid MK quietly skipped out of the room when the vote came up for financing some settlement related expenses, in particular, reimbursing the residents of Beit El’s Ulpana neighborhood whom the government kicked out of their homes when it destroyed their neighborhood last year.

The three Yesh Atid coalition members did not inform anyone they were not going to be at the vote, and Gila Gamliel (Likud) noticed moments before the vote that the three were missing. She called MK Robert Ilytov (Yisrael Beiteinu) to come in to replace them, to ensure there was still a coalition majority.

If the opposition had noticed, the vote could have gone the other way.

Yesh Atid head, Yair Lapid, recently said in an interview, that he doesn’t care if the Palestinian Authority recognizes Israel as a Jewish State or not, contradicting the negotiating position laid down by PM Netanyahu.

Sources in Yesh Atid say the move was not preplanned, and the 3 MKs left the room for other reasons.”

The only question we have is for chareidi MK Dov Lipman (Yesh Atid), “Are you still so sure your views are aligned with the Yesh Atid party?”

 

 

 

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/yesh-atid-skips-out-of-critical-finance-vote-for-beit-el/2013/10/11/

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