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September 21, 2014 / 26 Elul, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Oslo Accords’

Abbas Suggests Obama Promised ’67 Lines, E. Jerusalem Capital

Monday, March 17th, 2014

U.S. President Barack Obama met in the Oval Office with Mahmoud Abbas, the acting leader of the Palestinian Authority late morning on Monday, March 17.

Obama spoke first, welcoming Abbas to his office. As noted elsewhere in The Jewish Press, Obama made several absurd comments, such as commending Abbas as someone “who has consistently renounced violence, has consistently sought a diplomatic and peaceful solution that allows for two states, side by side, in peace and security; a state that allows for the dignity and sovereignty of the Palestinian people and a state that allows for Israelis to feel secure and at peace with their neighbors.”

But Abbas also played with Obama’s words.

Obama uttered his standard “everybody understands the outlines of what a peace deal would look like, involving a territorial compromise on both sides based on ’67 lines with mutually agreed upon swaps,” and never said a word about Jerusalem.

In Abbas’s responsive remarks, he transformed what Obama said into something quite different. Abbas made it sound as though Obama said that there would be a Palestinian State with the “’67 lines” (actually, the 1949 Armistice Lines) as its western border, and with eastern Jerusalem as its capital.

Abbas also managed to shoehorn in a reference to the refugee issue, as if Obama had acknowledged a connection between eastern Jerusalem and the refugees. And Abbas also created a link to the “promise” of the release of still more convicted murderers as part of the “peace process.”

The other significant issue mentioned by Abbas was his claim that “in 1993, we recognized the state of Israel.”

In 1993, Yassir Arafat signed the Oslo Accords, as did Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. In September of that year, Arafat issued a statement that the PLO “recognizes the right of the State of Israel to exist in peace and security.”  Not a Jewish State, just the State of Israel. Few people believe that Arafat ever believed or intended to suggest that he or his followers had any intention of allowing the Jewish State of Israel to exist in peace and security.

Still, not bad for a speech containing fewer than 400 words.

PA Demands Acceptance by Israel as a State without Peace Talks

Thursday, February 13th, 2014

Palestinian Authority officials have stated that Israel is trying to “exert pressure” in peace talks by not agreeing to accept a document from Gaza with the letterhead of “State of Palestine.”

The document was a request from officials in Gaza to allow 190 residents to leave Gaza for medical care in Israel, including Arab hospitals in Judea and Samaria. Israeli military officials objected to the letterhead, and the patients were allowed to cross into Israel after “State of Palestine” was blurred out.

That would seem to the end of the matter, with an “all’s well that ends well” conclusion.

But the Palestinian Authority regime in Ramallah, along with its Hamas colleagues in Gaza, as usual tried to turn the issue against Israel, blaming it not only for blocking medical care but also for supposedly exploiting sick people for political purposes.

“This is a political decision from the Israelis to exert pressure in the negotiations,” a senior Palestinian official at the Gaza district coordination office told the Bethlehem-based Ma’an News Agency.

If that isn’t “calling the kettle black,” what is?

Besides all of the “core issues” on Jerusalem, so-called refugees and borders, the heart of the Palestinian Authority-Israeli dispute is PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas’ refusal to recognize Israel as a Jewish state and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s refusal to agree to a “State of Palestine” unless all arguments and issues are settled without any further demands.

The letter from Gaza was no more and no less than cynical exploitation of ailing men, women and children to “exert pressure in the negotiations,” to borrow the quote from the PA official.

Once Israel accepts a document from Hamas as being from the “State of Palestine,” U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry can put it on a silver platter and present it to President Barack Obama. Once the “State of Palestine” is a fait accompli, the “core issues” fall like a house of dominoes because as head of an official state.”

Abbas can declare that the sun rises in the west and sets in the east and so it will be, at least on paper. He can divide Jerusalem, define Israel’s borders and go the United Nations to pass a resolution that UNRWA should send to Israel several million Arabs living under U.N. occupation foreign countries.

International wire services, of course, were not content to let their readers draw conclusions without biased information. Maher Abukhater is an “a Palestinian journalist based in Ramallah” and is The Los Angeles Times’ source for information for everything they know about Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

His “objectivity” can be understood by his former position as managing editor of Al-Fajr English weekly and The Palestine Times. There is not one former managing editor of any Israeli newspaper who reports for any major foreign news organization, or even a minor one. Let’s see The New York Times hire me to cover Israel.

Abukhater made sure that his readers in the United States know that “the PLO declared independence unilaterally in 1988 and was recognized as a ‘non-member observer state’ by the United Nations in 2012.”

What does that have to do with the price of tea in China?

The PLO declared itself an independent state, so that makes it one?

When Israel, declared by the United Nations as a full member and independent country, passes a law that  it is the sovereign authority over and in Jerusalem and the Golan Heights, used by foreign armies to wage war in 1967, that is not acceptable.

Abukhater then hit his readers over the head with the hammer and wrote, “More than 130 countries today recognize Palestine’s existence as a state, but Israel refuses to do so.”

Perpetual War with Israel the Glue Holding Palestinians Together

Monday, December 30th, 2013

There is another bad agreement in the making under the patronage of the Obama Hope and Change Campaign in the Middle East. History has shown that failed hopes and high expectations can lead to dire consequences (Angola and Rwanda are each a case in point). The Madrid Conference of 1991 was followed by the 1993 Oslo Accords, which were heralded by the New York Times as “a triumph of hope over history,” but resulted in a lethal Intifada. More people died after the failed Oslo Accords than had done during the conflicts that preceded them.

Furthermore, negotiating a second peace agreement after a failed one is often more difficult and costly. In the case of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, there have been multiple previous failed agreements. Between 1993 and 2001, Israel, the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and the Palestinian Authority (PA) have signed six different agreements aimed at bringing a lasting peace. The Palestinians failed to respond positively to the window of opportunity presented by the 1979 Camp David Accords which brought peace between Israel and Egypt. After that came the Jordanian-Israeli peace accord, which was followed by the Taba Agreement (known as Oslo II), the 1997 Hebron Agreement, 1998 Wye River Memorandum, 1999 Sharm el-Sheikh Memorandum, August 2000 Camp David “Final Status” Summit, and the 2001 Taba Conference.

Israel and the Palestinians have mutually opposing national goals that cannot be reconciled. On both sides, these national goals enjoy a wide popular consensus. The Palestinian side is centered on an independent state from which it can launch and pursue a strategy aimed at eliminating Israel, the recapture of East Jerusalem and the removal of all the settlements. On the Israeli side, the consensus was always solidly against the return of the refugees and division of Jerusalem. The Palestinians insist on the Right of Return which effectively means the destruction of the Jewish State, and the Israelis, who agree to a two state solution, want to assure maximum security by controlling the land and the destinies of the Palestinians. Despite all good intentions it is almost impossible to overcome those contradictions, especially in an atmosphere of high mutual distrust and distrust of the go-between, the Obama administration.

To make matters even more complex, one must wonder why after 65 years of deplorable living conditions, poverty, and decades of existence under a so called “occupation”, a peace seeking moderate Palestinian leadership that does not deny the Holocaust (Mahmoud Abbas) and that rejects calls by Iran and Hamas to destroy Israel, has failed to emerge. It is clear to all that by now, 20 years since the Oslo agreement, the very last Israeli soldier posted in the Jordan Valley under whatever security arrangement, would have been long withdrawn. After all, Israel has proposed creating an international regime in an area of Jerusalem that included the Old City, and agreed to give the Palestinian Arabs 97 percent of the land area of the West Bank, but both were rejected as insufficient by the Palestinian. The Palestinians continued objection to Israeli security conditions must be reexamined therefore, as they may only be a cover up of a more sinister truth; the Palestinian leadership sees a better future in a continued state of war and continued “occupation.”

One must consider the possibility, as upsetting to some as it may be, that the Palestinian leadership considers a state of perpetual war with Israel a safer bet than a state of peace. Not ever having been a cohesive people, or having had a state, a continued state of war is the glue that holds the Palestinians together and may be considered by them as the safer choice. Paradoxically, a state of war and “occupation” provides the Palestinian leadership with the safety net necessary to hold on to and perpetuate the dictatorship, and the iron fist approach with which they govern their own people. A state of war is, after all, a familiar pattern with set in place mechanisms that impose a military-like rule and order, condone summary executions, and stifle dissent. It also generates profits, provides employment, and generates international support and sympathy. A continuous state of war against the Jews is a religious and moral imperative that is rooted in Islam and provides for a ready made propaganda machine.

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.

 

Aryeh Deri Feints Right

Friday, December 6th, 2013

Aryeh Deri, the head of the Shas party, has been trying to paint himself as a right-winger these past few weeks, or at least not a leftwinger, in an attempt to rid himself of the deeply ingrained image that he supported and enabled the Oslo Accords.

While Deri toured sites in Gush Etzion on Wednesday with his family, Deri’s close associates were busy conveying messages of love for the Settlers, according to a report in Makor Rishon.

Everyone who went through the Oslo years remembers Shas and Deri’s support for Oslo as they sat and enabled the Rabin-led government, allowing Oslo to pass. Deri’s associates told Makor Rishon that Deri and Shas never actually voted for Oslo, but rather they abstained from voting for it.

But they never add that Deri and Shas didn’t vote against Oslo either.

In fact, at the time, Shas’s 6 seats were absolutely required to keep the Labor-Meretz coalition alive, and if Shas has pulled out of the government, Oslo could never happened.

For good measure, as part of the rehabilitation of Deri’s image, Deri’s associates added the stain of Oslo on Deri are just lies spread by the extreme right.

Binyamin (Kerry) Netanyahu Freezes New Homes for Maaleh Adumim

Tuesday, November 12th, 2013

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has ordered Housing Minster Uri Ariel to cancel plans for 1,200 housing units that could accommodate thousands of people in the “E-1” area of the city of Maaleh Adumim, located 10 minutes east of Jerusalem and overlooking the Dead Sea.

The cancellation was ordered shortly after the Haaretz newspaper reported that the Housing Ministry has hired an architect to plan construction of residential units for a reported 20,000 people in Maaleh Adumim and in smaller communities in Judea and Samaria. The cancellation affects only E-1 and not other areas.

The Office of the Prime Minister was unusually honest, although inaccurate, in explaining the order to Ariel, a leading Jewish Home minister.

“There is no need to pay international prices for a process that does not have great significance,” it told the Yediot Acharonot newspaper.”

Not of “great significance?” Apparently, the Prime Minister’s office was being sarcastic. More probable, it was being cynical.

E-1 has become a flashing red line for the Palestinian Authority. Building Jewish homes in E-1 would guarantee that the Palestinian Authority would not endanger Israeli security with a contiguous land mass from eastern Jerusalem to Judea and Samaria.

Constant reports that E-1 would “cut off” the Palestinian Authority are patent lies because highways connect Arab villages and cities in all directions.

It has been a political ping-pong ball within Israel, with nationalists such as Ariel fighting tooth and nail for Israel to stand up and take a position that the mostly vacant 4.5 square mile area, which is part of the city of Maaleh Adumim, will be a home for Jews, sooner and not later.

Almost everyone except the Obama administration knows that it will happen. Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas once upon a time may have had little hope that he could prevent E-1 from being developed, but the Obama administration has effectively become his spokesman and is dead set against its development.

The Bush administration gets the first “credit” for opposing construction in E-1 after President George W. Bush came out with his “Roadmap Plan,” which eventually fell off a cliff, a better result than the Oslo Accords that literally exploded in Israel’s collective face.

The saga of E-1 is a prime example of why Israel cannot depend on promises from the United States. President Ronald Reagan once wrote Prime Minister Ariel Sharon a letter that promised recognition of Israel’s right to build there. The promise was not a legal document, and its worth was only as long as Reagan was in office. The Obama adminstration has said it is not committed by the letter.

It was none other than Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin, whose memory has been defaced into an image of Peace Now, who in 1994 provided Maaleh Adumim Mayor Benny Kashriel with documents to make E-1 an official part of the city.

Nearly 30 years later, all that Israel has built on E-1 is a police station. The Arabs have woken up and have sent Bedouin families to dot the area so they can tell foreign and local reporters how they have been living on the land for centuries.

E-1 has been a toy, or pawn, for Prime Minister Netanyahu.

He has defied nationalists and has toed the line in Washington to keep the bulldozers out of the area.

True, after Abbas went to the United Nations last November to upgrade the PA’s status in the General Assembly to that of a non-member state, Netanyahu unleashed the E-1 pawn and announced plans to build 5,000 residential units there.

So much for hot air.

Not a single house has been built there. In fact, Netanyahu inflicted an unannounced building freeze on almost all of Judea and Samaria until last month, one hour after Israel freed the second batch of terrorists in the four-step program to release 104 murderers in return for the privilege of officially arguing with the Palestinian Authority.

Netanyahu’s policy on E-1 sounds like a broken record.

In January 2009, Netanyahu secretly promised President Barack Obama and then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that Israel would not build in E-1, according to an Al Jazeera report in 2011.

Netanyahu, of course, denied the report, prompting Maaleh Adumim Mayor Kashriel to demand that the Prime Minister “order the defense minister to submit the master plan for the neighborhood immediately and progress with development on site, as former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon did during his tenure.”

Kerry Scorched by Legal Expert for False ‘Settlements’ Narrative (UPDATED)

Monday, November 11th, 2013

UPDATE The text of the letter is reproduced at the bottom of this article

Former Israeli Ambassador and legal counsel to Israel’s Foreign Ministry Alan Baker sent a blistering letter to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Friday.

Baker did not mince words.

After listening to you declare repeatedly over the past weeks that ‘Israel’s settlements are illegitimate,’ I respectfully wish to state, unequivocally, that you are mistaken and ill advised, both in law and in fact.

Israel too can take off the gloves when shoved so far against the wall it becomes clear there is no one at her back but that wall.

Baker lays out the facts which anyone involved in Middle East diplomacy should know better than they know the back of their hands.  The so-called “settlements,” i.e. places where Jews live in previously non-sovereign territory won in a defensive war are certainly not de facto or de jure “Palestinian land” or promised for any potential future state of “Palestine.”

Baker states the what-should-be-obvious fact that ownership of that land remains an issue to be negotiated in the permanent status negotiations, as agreed to in the Oslo Accords as well as in the 1995 Israeli-Palestinian Interim Agreement, as witnessed and signed by former U.S. President Bill Clinton, as well as representatives of the EU, Russia, Egypt, Jordan and Norway.

Baker continued,

Your statements serve to not only to prejudge this negotiating issue, but also to undermine the integrity of that agreement, as well as the very negotiations that you so enthusiastically advocate.

Baker also gives short shrift to the square pegging of Israel into the round hole of the 49th Article of the Geneva Convention. He points out the obvious, but ubiquitously-ignored fact that the relevant article applied to the Nazis forced mass transfer of populations. Such a situation has no relevance to the expansion of a population into open areas with no gun to their heads.  The notion of any parallel between Israelis moving into open areas and the Nazis forcing those they conquered into land controlled by others is repugnant, yet repeated incessantly by those who are either ignorant of history or merely haters of Israel, take your pick.

After several more paragraphs of clear explanation as to why the position taken by the U.S., and so much of the world, is factually and legally wrong, Baker concludes with this closing salvo:

By your repeating this ill-advised determination that Israel’s settlements are illegitimate, and by your threatening Israel with a “third Palestinian intifada” and international isolation and delegitimization, you are in fact buying into, and even fueling the Palestinian propaganda narrative, and exerting unfair pressure on Israel. This is equally the case with your insistence on a false and unrealistic time limit to the negotiation.

As such you are taking sides, thereby prejudicing your own personal credibility, as well as that of the US.

With a view to restoring your own and the US’s credibility, and to come with clean hands to the negotiation, you are respectfully requested to publicly and formally retract your determination as to the illegitimate nature of Israel’s settlements and to cease your pressure on Israel.

There has been no response, as yet, from Secretary Kerry or anyone at the State Department.

Whether there is any response from Washington or not, the points made clearly and succinctly by Amb. Baker are a welcome and too long absent dimension to the general discussions about the “settlements.”  That discussion has been dominated by a narrative devoid of legal, factual and historical accuracy.

False narratives repeated endlessly by ever-increasing numbers of people, nations and diplomats do not make those narratives any more true. Majority does not rule when it comes to facts or to law.

***

Here is the text of the letter from Amb. Alan Baker to Secretary of State John Kerry, dated Nov. 8, 2013

Alan Baker, Attorney, Ambassador (ret’)
P.O.B. 182, Har Adar, Israel 90836
Tel: +972-54-3322643
E-mail: ambassador.alan@gmail.com

The Hon. James Kerry, U.S. Secretary of State,
The State Department,
Washington D.C.

November 8, 2013

Dear Secretary Kerry,

After listening to you declare repeatedly over the past weeks that “Israel’s settlements are illegitimate”, I respectfully wish to state, unequivocally, that you are mistaken and ill advised, both in law and in fact.

Pursuant to the “Oslo Accords”, and specifically the Israel-Palestinian Interim Agreement (1995), the “issue of settlements” is one of subjects to be negotiated in the permanent status negotiations. President Bill Clinton on behalf of the US, is signatory as witness to that agreement, together with the leaders of the EU, Russia, Egypt, Jordan and Norway.

Your statements serve to not only to prejudge this negotiating issue, but also to undermine the integrity of that agreement, as well as the very negotiations that you so enthusiastically advocate.

Your determination that Israel’s settlements are illegitimate cannot be legally substantiated. The oft-quoted prohibition on transferring population into occupied territory (Art. 49 of the 4th Geneva Convention) was, according to the International Committee Red Cross’s own official commentary of that convention, drafted in 1949 to prevent the forced, mass transfer of populations carried out by the Nazis in the Second World War. It was never intended to apply to Israel’s settlement activity. Attempts by the international community to attribute this article to Israel emanate from clear partisan motives, with which you, and the US are now identifying.

The formal applicability of that convention to the disputed territories cannot be claimed since they were not occupied from a prior, legitimate sovereign power.

The territories cannot be defined as “Palestinian territories” or, as you yourself frequently state, as “Palestine”. No such entity exists, and the whole purpose of the permanent status negotiation is to determine, by agreement, the status of the territory, to which Israel has a legitimate claim, backed by international legal and historic rights. How can you presume to undermine this negotiation?

There is no requirement in any of the signed agreements between Israel and the Palestinians that Israel cease, or freeze settlement activity. The opposite is in fact the case. The above-noted 1995 interim agreement enables each party to plan, zone and build in the areas under its respective control.

Israel’s settlement policy neither prejudices the outcome of the negotiations nor does it involve displacement of local Palestinian residents from their private property.  Israel is indeed duly committed to negotiate the issue of settlements, and thus there is no room for any predetermination by you intended to prejudge the outcome of that negotiation.

By your repeating this ill-advised determination that Israel’s settlements are illegitimate, and by your threatening Israel with a “third Palestinian intifada” and international isolation and delegitimization, you are in fact buying into, and even fueling the Palestinian propaganda narrative, and exerting unfair pressure on Israel. This is equally the case with your insistence on a false and unrealistic time limit to the negotiation.

As such you are taking sides, thereby prejudicing your own personal credibility, as well as that of the US.

With a view to restoring your own and the US’s credibility, and to come with clean hands to the negotiation, you are respectfully requested to publicly and formally retract your determination as to the illegitimate nature of Israel’s settlements and to cease your pressure on Israel.

Respectfully,

Alan Baker, Attorney, Ambassador (ret’),
Former legal counsel of Israel’s Ministry for Foreign Affairs,
Former ambassador of Israel to Canada,
Director, Institute for Contemporary Affairs, Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs,
Director, International Action Division, The Legal Forum for Israel

Copy:
H.E. Daniel B. Shapiro, US Ambassador to Israel,
71 Hayarkon Street, Tel Aviv, Israel 63903

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/kerry-skorched-by-legal-expert-for-false-settlements-narrative/2013/11/11/

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