web analytics
November 23, 2014 / 1 Kislev, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘peace proces’

Peres Doesn’t Look a Gift Elephant in the Mouth

Tuesday, July 2nd, 2013

A well-trained elephant at the Jerusalem Biblical Zoo gave visiting President Shimon Peres a gift on Tuesday, using his trunk to place in the President’s hand a small package containing the key to Noah’s Ark.

President Peres was visiting the zoo on the occasion of its 20th anniversary in its location in southern Israel, behind the Malcha mall. He was accompanied by the Youth Movement organization, a group of Jews and Arabs who volunteer at the zoo to help out and save endangered species.

Peres was upbeat in a great message for children “to leave their homes, Facebooks and smartphones” during the summer vacation and come to the zoo to experience nature.

Except for mentioning that the zoo symbolizes the Bible, the President made no mention of Noah, who saved animals as well as his family from the Flood. Nor did he make any mention of Jewish dietary laws and the prohibition of cooking an animal in its mother’s milk. Nothing was heard about the mitzva of making sure the mother bird is not in the next when tlking the eggs.

True, it was an elephant and not a dove that gave Peres the gift, perhaps in honor of his never-ending 90th birthday, but he didn’t miss an opportunity to deliver another message about – what else? –  Peace.

Somehow, he worked in the zoo with peace, saying,“ The zoo symbolizes the Bible along with the values of peace and co-existence,” referring to the group of Arab and Jewish youth.

President Peres continued his visit by taking a ride with the children and feeding the elephants and parrots.

The parrot, of course, says one word – Shalom – which, lest the elephant forget, not only means “Shalom” and “hello” but also means “good-bye.”

It is not known if Peres got the the message.

 

Kerry Huffs and Puffs and Abbas Blows Him Down

Tuesday, May 28th, 2013

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s $4 billion economic program to save the “peace process” got as far as the headlines for at least 12 hours until Palestinian Authority PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas economic adviser in effect wrote a “Dear John” letter Monday, virtually telling him to go back home.

“The Palestinian leadership will not offer political concessions in exchange for economic benefits,” read a statement from Mohammad Mustafa, president of the Palestine Investment Fund and economic adviser to president Mahmoud Abbas. “We will not accept that the economy is the primary and sole component.”

Abbas is nothing if not consistent. No matter  what concession Israel offers, usually after pressure from the U.S. government, Abbas says, “Israel must return to the 1967 borders, accept a Palestinian state headquartered in Jerusalem and accept the immigration of several million foreign Arabs – so we can eliminate Jewish majority in what is left of Israel. Then, we will negotiate.”

The Clinton, Bush and Obama administrations don’t get it, but their insistence to play into Abbas’ hands eventually is in Israel’s favor because Abbas is aborting any hopes for a Palestinian state.

Kerry landed in Israel this week with the over-confidence of a show-off and braggart.

Reflecting incredible ignorance – sorry, naïveté –  of Middle East reality, he unveiled a grandiose “groundbreaking plan” at the World Economic Forum on  Sunday that in his own words “is bigger, bolder and more ambitious than anything proposed since Oslo more than 20 years ago now” will be “enormously powerful and different from anything we’ve ever seen before.”

That really is impressive.  And not very modest.

No one could have more proud of John Kerry than John Kerry, but he did not come up with this brainchild alone. He was helped by the Quartet’s Middle East envoy Tony Blair, whose record in the Middle East is about as successful as that of the U.S.  State Dept.

Also at the Forum was President Shimon Peres, who lives in the same world as Blair and Kerry.

“President Abbas, you are our partner — and we are yours,” Peres said for the 2000th time.

The “partner” on Monday returned to his same mantra. Money or no money, the economy is only a “part of a political framework that will ensure the creation of a Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders with east Jerusalem its capital and the rights of refugees and a reference to a political solution,” said Mustafa in a statement that made Kerry look like a dumbbell for even opening his mouth.

Kerry actually believed that Abbas is interested in a strong economy with the investments of Palestinian Authority billionaires like Munib Al-Masri, a former Palestinian Authority minister.

But that would mean someone else getting the credit for economic growth, a direct threat to Abbas’ political power.

Kerry Headed for PA-Israel Crisis that He Created

Tuesday, May 21st, 2013

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is flying again to Jerusalem and Ramallah this week against headwinds he has created with non-stop talk that has heated up the atmosphere in a region where high pressure already is a way of life.

His latest goof was to usurp communication channels between envoys and to personally protest to Michael Oren, Israel’s Ambassador to the United States, over the government’s recent move to legalize three Jewish communities in  Samaria.

Kerry has done a lot in the three months since he took over from State Hillary Clinton. He has logged tens of thousands of miles, including three trips to Israel. He has talked and talked days and night to foreign ministers from around the world.

Kerry also has tripped over himself by repeating the Obama administration’s tactic of premising the Arabs everything and delivering nothing.

His phone call to Oren last week takes the cake, whatever is left of it. Haaretz reported on Monday that Kerry told Oren that the government’s change of heart to recognize the Jewish communities instead of demolishing them undermines his efforts to resume direct talked between the Palestinian Authority and Israel.

The newspaper pointed out that Kerry’s choice to not to deliver the message thorough lower-level officials indicates his anger at Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, particularly after Kerry asked Jerusalem and Ramallah to refrain from upsetting the apple cart.

However, the cart never really moved because Kerry has put it in front the horse.

His “hit the ground running” approach in the Middle East is exactly the same mistake President Barack Obama made when he first took office. His “reaching out to Muslims” speech in Cairo created Great Expectations that turned into greater disappointment in the Arab world.

Haaretz’s Barak Ravid, who reported on the details of Kerry’s phone call to Oren, wrote two weeks ago, “Kerry so far looks like a naive and ham-handed diplomat who has been acting like a bull in the china shop.”

Kerry likes talking on the phone. After PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad announced last month he was resigning, the Secretary of State called him and PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas to prevent the resignation, which, according to Ravid, “did more harm than good.”

Abbas’ Fatah party leaders were against him from the beginning, if for no other reason than because he was hand-picked by the United States to be prime minister. Kerry’s personal intervention only reinforced the fact.

Kerry also has held endless conversations with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, but the more Kerry talks, the less anyone in the Middle East listens.

After 15 years of constant American deadlines for a peace agreement between the Palestinian Authority and Israel, Kerry added another one. He told Congress that the “window of opportunity” will be shut in less than two years. That might be true if he is looking through he window of his plane, from where he can see daylight forever – until he lands.

Another deadline he set a few weeks was the resumption of direct talked between the Palestinian Authority and Israel within two months.

He stipulated that neither side would take any unilateral moves or set pre-conditions.

Reflecting the unspoken view of both the Netanyahu and Abbas administrations that Kerry is a fish out of water in  the Middle East, the Palestinian Authority promptly stated that he would be happy to talk with Bibi, so long as it is understood that Israel will accept in advance everything he wants.

Abbas is only requesting that Israel simply return to the 1949 Temporary Armistice Lines that existed until 1967. And if that is the case, obviously Israel must again announce it will stop building in those areas.

And since no Jews will be living there, Abbas reasons that Israel has no reason not to release Palestinian Authority terrorists from jail.

In the Middle East, no one lets the other side think he can play solitaire, so it is no wonder that the government decided to legalize the Jewish communities.

As Kerry gets closer to boarding the plane for Israel, Palestinian Authority and Israel negotiators are giving him all the rope he needs to hang himself.

Tzipi Livni, Israel’s unofficial Minister for the Peace Process, told the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee Tuesday, “We want the Palestinian Authority to know that peace talks are the only game in town.”

Kerry Hosts Livni, to Return to Israel to Push Talks

Wednesday, May 8th, 2013

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is meeting with visiting Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni this week and told reporters he will return to Israel in two weeks to push ahead for more “peace process” talks.

In a brief session with reporters,  Kerry did not refer to the de facto building freeze that Israel media reported on Tuesday and was allegedly promised to him by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu during Kerry’s visit last month.

The Palestinian Authority has said it knows nothing about the “quiet freeze.” and the Office of the Prime Minister has not commented.

Livni’s visit and the fact that Kerry is returning so soon  indicate there is truth to the report.

Livni is Israel’s Justice Minister, but her primary interest is in pushing the American-backed “peace process” to create an independent Palestinian Authority within Israel’s borders.

Kerry reportedly pressured Netanyahu into agreeing with an undeclared building freeze on building for Jews in Judea and Samaria and areas in Jerusalem claimed by Abbas.

However, Netanyahu said he would remove the freeze in mid-June, according to the report of the freeze. That would give Kerry only one month to convince Abbas.

“We all believe that we are working with a short time span,” Kerry told reporters. “I will be travelling back to Israel to meet with both Prime Minister Netanyahu as well as President Abbas around the 21st or 22nd of this month.”. There is no expectation that Abbas and Netanyahu will meet with each other.

Kerry Betting on the Wrong Horses

Wednesday, May 8th, 2013

Originally published at the Gatestone Institute.

The Arab League foreign ministers who met with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in Washington last week were convinced that they had a mandate from the Palestinians to talk about possible land swaps between Israel and a future Palestinian state.

Ahead of their departure to the U.S., the ministers had met with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Doha, Qatar, and discussed with him the land swap idea.

At the meeting, the Arab League decided to dispatch a high-level delegation to Washington to brief the U.S. Administration on the Arab position regarding the resumption of peace talks with Israel. Headed by Qatar’s Hamad bin Jasim al-Thani, the delegation which met with Kerry also consisted of Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Riyad Malki.

Yet the Palestinians seemed to be surprised, following the meeting with Kerry, to hear the Qatari representative talk about possible land swaps between Israel and the Palestinians.

The Palestinian Authority’s initial response was to issue a statement in English — not Arabic — voicing support for the land trade proposal. The statement said that this was an old idea that had been discussed in the past between Israeli and Palestinian negotiators.

But following strong condemnations from many Palestinians, the Palestinian Authority leadership took a step backwards.

First, the Palestinian Authority said that it was only prepared to discuss “minor” adjustments to the border between Israel and a future Palestinian state.

Later, as the denunciations grew, the Palestinian Authority took yet another step backwards, saying it was opposed to making any “down payments” to Israel before the peace talks resumed.

In other words, the Palestinian Authority is not prepared to talk about any territorial concessions to Israel before the Israeli government accepts the pre-1967 lines as the basis for a two-state solution.

Palestinian reactions to the land swap proposal seem to have angered Qatar and other Arab countries.

With the exception of a few Palestinian Authority officials, all Palestinian factions have come out strongly against the proposal. The anger has been directed especially against Qatar.

“Who gave the Qatari leaders the right to offer concessions to Israel on behalf of the Palestinians?” was the main charge leveled against the rulers in Doha.

Other Palestinians, including top members of Abbas’s Fatah faction, have also lashed out at the Arab ministers for “offering free concessions” to Israel on behalf of the Palestinians.

Although the Palestinian Authority leadership had in the past hinted that it would be willing to accept the land swap idea, it is now obvious that it would never be able to win the Palestinians’ support for such a proposal.

As leaders of Hamas and other Palestinian groups emphasized over the past few days, no Palestinian leader has a mandate to make any concessions to Israel.

Even worse, the Arab League proposal is being viewed by many Arabs and Palestinians as part of an “American-Zionist conspiracy” to force the Palestinians to accept Israeli “dictates.”

Abbas and the Palestinian Authority leadership in the West Bank [Judea and Samaria -ed.] seem to have absorbed the message and are now back to demanding a full Israeli withdrawal to the pre-1967 lines, which were never official borders.

For Kerry, who has taken it upon himself to try to resume the peace process, this is all bad news.

It is bad news that the Palestinian Authority still does not have the courage to tell the Palestinians that without some form of compromise there will never be real peace with Israel.

It is bad news because it has once again become clear that the Arab countries, including the wealthiest and most influential, have no influence on the Palestinians.

Judging from their reactions to the land swap idea, many Palestinians continue to despise the Arab regimes, accusing them of serving as pawns in the hands of the U.S. and Israel.

The U.S. Administration needs to understand that the Arab League is an incompetent and ineffectual body that has long been ridiculed by most Arabs. This is a body that has never played an instrumental role in solving Arab crises such as the Lebanese Civil War, the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait or the ongoing bloodshed in Syria.

It now remains to be seen whether Kerry and President Barack Obama will ever notice that they are betting on the wrong horses. Neither the Arab League nor the Palestinian Authority leadership has a mandate to offer any concessions to Israel or recognize its right to exist.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/columns/khaled-abu-toameh/kerry-betting-on-the-wrong-horses/2013/05/08/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: