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December 18, 2014 / 26 Kislev, 5775
 
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘negotiations’

Kerry, Abbas Meeting Set for London

Tuesday, May 13th, 2014

He’s ba-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-c-c-c-k . . . . Well, sort of.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is set to meet with Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas Thursday in London.  State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki confirmed the meeting at a briefing Monday on Capitol Hill.

“While the door remains open to a peace process, the purpose of the meeting is to discuss our ongoing relationship with the Palestinians,” she said in a curt statement. “As he has throughout the process, Secretary Kerry will reiterate a call he has made to both sides to maintain restraint and refrain from steps that would be unhelpful.”

Last week American special envoy to the Middle East Martin Indyk took care to blame both sides for the failed nine-month talks. He was especially careful to equate municipal and home maintenance with a unilateral attempt to establish sovereignty in the international arena.

For Israel’s portion, Indyk pointed to ‘settlement building’ – the endless international euphemism for basic repairs and general construction by private Israeli citizens and also by Israeli local authorities within the municipal bounds of towns or neighborhoods in areas won during the 1967 Six Day War.

The Palestinian Authority, he said, should not have signed on to membership in 15 international conventions and agencies – a direct violation of the agreement with which the failed talks began in the first place.

Abbas backed out of the talks when Israel refused to free the last of four groups of terrorist prisoners on schedule, after 78 had already been released. Israel’s government balked over the composition of the group, which included at least 20 Israeli Arabs, rather than PA Arabs. Since no progress at all had been made in the prior eight months of talks, and Abbas had not bothered to show up in person to the table for months, Israel chose to wait and see whether the final month would bring any change – or see if the PA would at least extend the talks in exchange for freeing the last group and possibly releasing more prisoners as well.

But Abbas refused.  Instead, a day later he signed a flurry of international conventions that had obviously already been prepared and ready to go. It was clear the strategy had been planned – the PA was simply waiting until the last group of terrorists were freed.

Israel formally ended the talks on April 24 when Abbas signed a unity pact with the Hamas terrorist organization that rules Gaza. Hamas refuses to recognize Israel’s right to exist and is committed to its destruction, a core principle in its founding charter. The group is backed, armed and generously funded by Iran.

The current agreement calls for the deployment of 3,000 PA government paramilitary police in Gaza, under the command of Hamas. Those forces were trained, armed and equipped by the United States armed forces — ostensibly to “fight terrorism” in Judea and Samaria in preparation for the establishment of a peaceful “two state solution” with Israel.

Last year, the Ramallah-based PA government received approximately $440 million in U.S. foreign aid, for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2013. The figure was taken from a Congressional Research Service report quoted by Reuters.

Under American law, no U.S. funds may reach Hamas, nor “any entity effectively controlled by Hamas, any power-sharing government of which Hamas is a member, or that results from an agreement with Hamas and over which Hamas exercises undue influence.”

But the Ramallah government in Samaria has for years been sending money to Gaza. Allegedly it was sent to cover the salaries of PA civil service workers. The same government still pays generous monthly stipends to Arab terrorists serving prison terms in Israeli jails.

PM Netanyahu Debunks Peace Deal Claim: ‘Peres Had No Deal With PA’

Wednesday, May 7th, 2014

The Prime Minister’s Office came out swinging in an overnight Independence Day statement Yom HaAtzma’ut, bluntly denying that President Shimon Peres ever reached a final status deal with Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas.

The statement, reported overnight by Voice of Israel government radio, denied a claim by the president reported earlier in the day that he had reached an agreement with the Ramallah-based PA chairman three years ago.

“The only one Abbas has reached an agreement with is with [the Gaza-based terrorist organization] Hamas,” commented the PMO.

President Peres had told Israel’s Channel 2 TV in an interview over the holiday that three years ago he reached a deal in principle after four meetings abroad with Mahmoud Abbas. However, he said it was scotched by Prime Minister Netanyahu, who nixed the agreement just prior to what was to be a fifth and final meeting in Amman.

The president said Mr. Netanyahu told him to wait because Quartet Middle East envoy Tony Blair, a former UK prime minister also involved in talks with the PA, might bring to the table a better offer. “But the days passed and that deal never materialized,” Mr. Peres lamented.

Israel’s president – whose position is primarily ceremonial and traditionally not intended to be functionary – said his own discussions had been about land swaps and total land mass rather than boundary lines. Maps had not yet been drawn, the president said, reported the Independent Media Review and Analysis, IMRA.

Cancelling the fifth meeting, he allegedly told the PA Chairman in August 2011, “I’m sorry, but the government doesn’t accept what we have negotiated and there’s nothing more I can do.”

The “secret” talks were never secret, however, and there is some question over how far the president’s diplomatic authorization supposedly reached.

President Peres, who was the architect of the failed Oslo Accords, is expected to retire next month as he reaches the age of 90 after a political career of seven decades.

Meanwhile, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon is meeting today with the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Security Committee as lawmakers review the current security situation.

On the agenda are all recent events, including those of the ‘price tag’ incidents, ‘David the Nahlawi’ and the attacks in Judea and Samaria that followed the cessation of final status talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

Bereaved Families Beg Prime Minister ‘Stay Away’ on Memorial Day

Thursday, May 1st, 2014

Families of victims of terror have sent a letter to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu asking him to stay away from Memorial Day ceremonies at the Mt. Herzl military cemetery.

The Israeli national holiday of Yom Hazikaron — Israel’s Memorial Day — falls on the fourth day in the Hebrew month of Iyar,  which this year is Sunday, May 4.

“Please spare us and other families of the victims of terror from your speech this year,” reads the letter drafted by bereaved parents Yossi Tzur and Ron Kerman.

“Please do not come to the ceremony on Mt. Herzl and please do not speak.

“Since last year’s ceremony you released murderers three times. Three times that you tore at our hearts and ripped at our flesh! If we were really that important and you really joined us in our grief, you would have had the ability to prevent us from suffering once again for nothing.

“We’ve heard plenty of cliches, slogans and hollow promises in your speeches. You do not mean a word of it and we no longer believe in you and any word you say. Your words will fall on deaf ears; leave us alone and let us be together in peace and dignity with our loved ones.”

Apartheid Redux: American Sour Grapes When Shuttle Diplomacy Fails

Monday, April 28th, 2014

Here we go again, with another round of dealing with set of sour grapes topped off by the “A” word delivered by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.

It’s getting really tiresome when every time the Palestinian Authority reverts to form – and Israel refuses to lay itself on the sacrificial altar – the U.S. responds by waving international threats at us both. Especially when one of the flags waved at Israel is the silly “A” word.

It’s a plain fact that 99.9 percent of American diplomats and political leaders simply don’t “get” the reality of the Middle East.

The diplomats who are sent into the fray to “develop” or impose the latest solution to the complex problems existing between Israel and her neighbors are simply not equipped.

So they fail. It’s not their fault. It’s just not their ‘hood.

John Kerry is having a problem with this. Instead of accepting this reality gracefully, has collected his marbles and gone home to his boss with sour grapes.

But for the second time in less than a year, he has turned around and decided to fling the “A” word (apartheid) back at Israel. At least this time he included the Palestinian Authority in some of his recriminations.

Kerry told the Trilateral Commission in a closed-door meeting on Friday that if Israel doesn’t make peace soon, it could become an “apartheid state” like South Africa once was. A recording of the remark was obtained by The Daily Beast.

He also warned that a failure of talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority — which basically were dead on arrival in any case — could lead to a ‘resumption’ of PA Arab violence against Israeli citizens. He then went further and hinted that only a change of leadership on both sides could make a peace deal more likely.

The latter reveals his total ignorance of the region — since succeeding leaders on the Arab side generally just brush away the decisions of predecessors — or their own if the prevailing mood of the people doesn’t suit — in any case. Arab promises are rarely kept beyond a generation, if that long. Witness the numerous attempts at maintaining a unity government between Fatah and Hamas in the Palestinian Authority over the past seven years.

With regard towards the risk of ‘resuming’ PA Arab violence against Israelis, the man is living in a bubble because that violence never ended. Ask anyone who lives in Jerusalem, Judea or Samaria or drives on roads in any of the areas. I personally know people who were unable to make it to the Mount of Olives to visit the graves of loved ones this year due to the the violence — and that, while talks were supposedly in place. I know tour guides who could not take friends to certain market places in the Old City — a place we all agree is supposed to be an open tourist safe place — because of the risk to their safety.

As for apartheid, he is wrong on all counts, and even his own boss knows it. In 2008 then-Senator Barack Obama bluntly stated in an interview with Jeffrey Goldberg, “There’s no doubt that Israel and the Palestinians have tough issues to work out to get to the goal of two states living side by side in peace and security, but injecting a term like apartheid into the discussion does not advance that goal. It’s emotionally loaded, historically inaccurate and it’s not what I believe.”

Of course, Obama may have changed his mind since then, but personally I doubt it. If anything, there are more examples today than ever before of integration between Arabs and Jews, on both sides of the 1949 Armistice Line.

America Joins Israel in Canceling Talks with PA

Thursday, April 24th, 2014

The U.S. has finally tossed in the towel on trying to force the Palestinian Authority to come to the table to talk with Israel.

After months of shuttle diplomacy and countless attempts by U.S. leaders to shepherd the “peace process” along, the entire effort proved a waste of time and money.

Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) officials announced they had cut a deal for Fatah faction leader and Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas – who heads all three entities — to form a new unity government with the Hamas terror organization that rules Gaza.

Hamas has never recognized the State of Israel, and has stated that it never intends to. It is committed to the destruction of the Jewish State, in fact.

“It’s hard to see how Israel can be expected to negotiate with a government that does not believe in its right to exist,” pointed out State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki in a briefing Wednesday on Capitol Hill.

Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is convening the inner diplomacy security cabinet this morning (Thursday) to discuss the current situation and decide whether to continue any contact whatsoever with the Palestinian Authority.

Mr. Netanyahu told Secretary of State John Kerry in a telephone call Wednesday evening that the PA-Hamas deal “shows the Palestinians are back to repeating their familiar pattern of running away from decisions.”

The pattern is indeed not new: Chairman Abbas has done this before – and the last time he reached a “reconciliation” with Hamas, he managed to sucker in not only the United States, but also the European Union and Israel. All three rushed in a panicky jumble to bribe him back to the “peaceful path” by promising him millions of dollars in funding, if only he would vow not to hook up with Hamas.

In the end, the unity government fell through because Hamas backed out – the Ramallah-based PA government won their millions – and everyone was that much richer, except for the Israelis who lost their lives at the hands of the terrorists who were freed in “good will gestures” forced on them by their U.S. friends.

The PA government in Ramallah used the money to quietly raise the salaries of terrorist prisoners sitting in Israeli jails and funnel more money to civil service employees working in Hamas-ruled Gaza offices.

The PA also won an extra bonus – it received considerable military equipment, weapons and training from the United States, Jordan and the EU — with which a number of its “police officers” have since murdered Israeli citizens in terror attacks.

It’s Prom Time, and Abbas Must Choose a Dance Partner – Israel or Hamas

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014

It’s that time of year again — the Fatah terror faction led by Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas has for the ‘nth’ time managed to reach a “reconciliation” with the Hamas terrorist organization that rules Gaza.

The two sides agreed Tuesday evening after talks in Gaza City to form a unity government “within the next five weeks,” according to an announcement by officials on both sides released Wednesday.

But Hamas is unwilling to negotiate with – or for that matter, even recognize the existence of – the State of Israel.

So the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) which represents the PA in all its affairs at the United Nations (UN), and thus the PA, meaning Mahmoud Abbas – who heads both – must choose who to take to the prom.

Will it be Hamas? That fickle friend who makes deals every Monday and Thursday, and backs out at the last minute every time the signature page arrives on the desk?

Or will it be Israel, which will certainly mean he will have to sit down this time in earnest at the negotiating table, and actually get down to business?

Either could mean his death.

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said bluntly in response to Wednesday’s announcement that Abbas had reached the crossroads.

“Instead of moving into peace with Israel, he is moving into peace with Hamas. He has to choose. Does he want peace with Hamas, or peace with Israel? You can have one but not the other. I hope he chooses peace; so far, he hasn’t done so.”

The fact that Abbas has continually come up with new ‘preconditions’ to extend the negotiations with Israel beyond the April 29 deadline makes it clear that he wants a way out of the talks that will leave him blameless.

That is a fantasy, since no leader can lead without taking responsibility for his actions.

Netanyahu proposed a plan for extension of the talks – taking a risk that enraged a substantial percentage of the population and its leadership – but Abbas so far has apparently turned his nose up at the offer.

Abbas knows Israel’s red lines but seems determined to stomp across them regardless of the price his people will inevitably pay.

Ultimately, his inability to decide a course on which to steer his people will be his downfall and, tragically, theirs as well.

“Yesterday the Palestinian Authority discussed dismantling,” noted Netanyahu in meeting with reporters. “Today it is mulling uniting with Hamas. Let them decide whether to dismantle or unite.”

Indyk Returns to Raise the Dead (Israel-PA Talks)

Thursday, April 17th, 2014

U.S. Special Envoy to the Middle East Martin Indyk is on his way back to the region today (Thursday) to officially revive the talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

State Department spokesperson Marty Harf told reporters at a briefing that both sides have told Secretary of State John Kerry they want to continue negotiations beyond the current April 29 deadline.

Neither side was willing to meet after the terrorist attack in Judea on Monday that killed senior police officer Baruch Mizrahi, a father of five, and wounded his wife and 9-year-old son. The attacker or attackers were standing on the side of the road on Highway 35 near Hevron, shooting at vehicles with Israeli license plates, a witness said. One arrest has allegedly been made but no details were released. Mizrahi was on his way with his family to a seder in Kiryat Arba to celebrate the Passover holiday when he was murdered.

Talks that were scheduled for Wednesday night were cancelled. Both sides were unwilling to negotiate in the face of another Arab terror attack on Jews using an AK-47 – a weapon supplied to PA police by the U.S. military, among others – ostensibly to strengthen its forces so they could ‘fight terror.’

On Thursday, those talks are set to resume with Indyk, Israel’s Justice Minister and chief negotiator Tzipi Livni and negotiator Yitzhak Molcho, and the PA’s chief negotiator Saeb Erekat.

PA spokesperson Nabil Abu Rudaineh told a media briefing in Ramallah that an agreement is already in place to extend the talks.

“The Palestinian commitment is clear to the Israelis and the Americans, and this commitment is that the talks will continue until April 29, and that Israel should release the fourth group of prisoners,” Rudaineh told reporters. “This is the basic Palestinian demand. This is not a Palestinian condition, but it is a Palestinian demand, which was agreed upon with the U.S. secretary of state according to which 104 pre-Oslo prisoners would be released, and in return we would not go to the United Nations organizations for nine months… Now the talks with the Israelis and the Americans are continuing to the end of this month to discuss the basis that could lead to an extension of the negotiations,” he said.

Various proposals are being advanced by Israel in order to wrestle with the issue of the Israeli Arab prisoners among the fourth and final group that was held back due to lack of progress in the talks.

The Bayit Yehudi (Jewish Home) party has threatened to leave the government if those prisoners – Israeli citizens who are all Arab terrorists – are freed.

One option would be to revoke their citizenship and deport them. Another would be to simply send the entire group to Gaza or abroad. In either case, resistance from the PA is expected – as usual.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/indyk-returns-to-raise-the-dead-israel-pa-talks/2014/04/17/

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