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October 22, 2014 / 28 Tishri, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Peace Treaty’

Despite Calls to End Peace, Israel Increases Water Flow to Jordan

Thursday, May 9th, 2013

Here’s some good news to those of you who’ve been following the vote in the Jordanian parliament on Wednesday, to demand that King Abdullah expel the Israeli envoy scrap the peace treaty with Israel.

That treaty, signed back in 1994 on the White House lawn, by his Majesty, the late King Hussein of Jordan and Israeli Prime Minister, the late Yitzhak Rabin, with U.S. President Bill Clinton watching – that treaty regulates the use of regional water by both countries. It’s all in Article 6 of the treaty, which is bigger than all the rest of the 30 articles put together.

The reason is simple: much of the water—just about all of it, really—alongside the border between the two countries happens to be in Israeli territory. Without that water, Jordan goes back to being the proud desert country it’s always been, which is fine if you’re Bedouin, but not so great if you’re a farmer.

Here’s what can happen, should Jordan decide to scrap its peace treaty with Israel: it would have to do without the following items:

Israel accepted responsibility for operating, supplying and maintaining systems on Israeli territory that supply Jordan with water.

In the summer, May 15 to October 15 of each year, Israel agreed to transfer 20 million cubic meters from the Jordan River directly upstream from Deganya gates.

In the winter, October 16 to May 14 of each year, Jordan is entitled to a minimum average of 20 million cubic meters of the floods in the Jordan River south of the Yarmouk. Unusable excess floods that would otherwise be unused, including pumped storage, can also be taken by Jordan.

In addition, Israel agreed to share the Yarmouk River with Jordan. Anything above 12 million cubic meters in the summer and 13 million in winter goes to Jordan.

When you hear about the Kinneret water going below all kinds of red lines? It’s because they’re being diverted north of the lake, at a rate of up to 50 million cubic meters a year.

OK, that was the deal, we wanted a peace treaty and that’s what we had to pay for it. The fact is that Israel’s relations with Jordan are a whole lot warmer than with Egypt—until the Arab Spring thing hits Amman, of course.

But now the Jordanian parliament—which is largely Palestinian, incidentally—has reacted to the fact that Israel, in an unprecedented display of courage, decided to detain the Jerusalem Mufti for his blatant preaching of violence against the Jews. If the Israelis don’t let our holy guy preach murder, we’re scrapping the treaty.

The treaty that’s the life blood of Jordan’s economy—in addition to supplying Jordan with much of its water, much of Jordan’s industry is owned by Israeli tycoons, who relocated factories from Israel, where organized Jewish workers used to burden them with demands for benefits and realistic wages—to Jordan, where a working man gets a pitta and a couple of onions which he shares with his family of 15.

Now, what did Israel just do, following the Jordanian parliament’s threat to call it quits?

Amb. Oded Eran

Amb. Oded Eran

Oded Eran, Israel’s ambassador to Jordan, was interviewed on Reshet Bet Thursday morning, and he said that Israel has increased the amount of water it diverts to the Hashamite kingdom, in order to accommodate the numerous refugees flooding Jordan from Syria.

Talk about doing the decent Christian thing…

Or treasonous. Potato-potato.

Ambassador Eran also said Israel also allows Jordan to export its goods to the West through the port of Haifa.

The benefits of peace.

So the host, Ya’akov Achi-Meir, asked him how that sits with the recommendation of the Jordanian parliament to kick him out of the country, and the ambassador answered that once the peace process with the Palestinians is on its way, things in Jordan would calm down.

According to Ambassador Eran, the Jordanian government is on very friendly terms with Israel, it’s only the vast population that wants all of us dead.

Now, here’s the zinger: according to Reshet Bet, Israeli sources have said that Israel has increased the amount of water it transfers to Jordan and the Palestinian Authority recently regardless of the increase in the number of refugees from Syria in Jordan.

Political Expediency…or Adjusting to Reality?

Wednesday, April 24th, 2013

As Israelis settle in under a new government led once again by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, they might do well to ask themselves this question: Other than having served as Israeli prime ministers after beginning their political careers as mainstays of the political right, what do Menachem Begin, Netanyahu, Ariel Sharon and Ehud Olmert have in common?

It is safe to say that none of them, before attaining power, would have supported the policies each pursued while in office. Before their premierships all four held clearly hawkish diplomatic, national security and territorial views; once elected, however, their tilt to the center and even to the center-left on these same issues was just as clear.

Labor prime ministers Yitzhak Rabin, Shimon Peres and Ehud Barak often matched their pre-prime ministerial rhetoric with their performances in office. The “principled” hawks were expected to do likewise – namely to practice what they had preached.

But did they?

Let’s examine some of their words before assuming office and their actions after they attained it.

Begin’s words: “The partition of Palestine is illegal. It will never be recognized…. Eretz Israel will be restored to the people of Israel. All of it. And forever” (November 30, 1947, the day after the UN vote for the partition of Palestine.)

Begin’s actions: Responding to Anwar Sadat and Jimmy Carter’s insistence that a solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict include a Palestinian right to self-governance, Begin agreed to Palestinian “self-rule” or “autonomy” in Judea and Samaria. This arguably meant that Begin compromised on his view that “Eretz Israel will be restored to the people of Israel. All of it. And forever.”

Netanyahu’s words: “This [the 2008 Israel-Hamas cease-fire] is not a relaxation, it’s an Israeli agreement to the rearming of Hamas. What are we getting for this?” (Netanyahu at the time was opposition leader.)

Netanyahu’s actions: If history is any guide, Netanyahu must surely know that the aftermath of the recent cessation of fighting between Hamas and Israel – a halt that he, as prime minister, approved – will likely resemble the 2008 truce he opposed: a lull until the next round of fighting initiated by a rearmed Hamas.

By acting so inconsistently on the same terrorist threat just four years apart, Netanyahu, it appears, put personal political needs ahead of the national interest in 2008 and again now – both, ironically, just prior to Knesset elections. In 2008 it behooved him to sound hawkish; in 2012 it suited him to be more flexible.

Shouldn’t a noted terrorism expert know better?

Sharon’s words: “Everybody has to…grab as many hilltops as they can to enlarge the settlements because everything we take now will stay ours” (Sharon, foreign minister at the time, was addressing a meeting of the Tzomet Party on November 15, 1998).

Sharon’s actions: Sharon went from being one of Israel’s most vocal advocates of expanding Jewish settlements in the West Bank and a champion of its presence in Gaza during prior ministerial positions to, as prime minister, unilaterally withdrawing fully from Gaza and from four settlements in the northern West Bank (without the benefit of any peace overtures from the Palestinians).

His clear about-face gave the Palestinians the chance to elect Hamas – sworn to Israel’s destruction – to power in Gaza, enabling it to regularly batter southern Israel with deadly rockets. Sharon’s prowess on the battlefield is, to many, overshadowed by what is perhaps the most blatant political, military and security flip-flop in Israel’s history.

Olmert’s words: “The formula for the parameters of a unilateral solution are: to maximize the number of Jews; to minimize the number of Palestinians; not to withdraw to the 1967 border; and not to divide Jerusalem” (Olmert was serving double duty as minister of Industry, Trade and Labor and minister of Communications when he spoke to David Landau of Haaretz on November 13, 2003).

Olmert’s actions: Only four years after expressing those decidedly hard-line sentiments, Prime Minister Olmert made this generous offer to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas at the U.S.-hosted Annapolis Conference in Maryland: Israeli relinquishment of parts of East Jerusalem, with Jerusalem’s Old City – and its religious sites – administered by an international group.

So much for Olmert’s 2003 pledge – before he became Israel’s prime minister – to “not…withdraw to the 1967 border and not to divide Jerusalem.”

* * *

Should Israelis understand and accept the political reality that politicians often must retreat from pronouncements made during their days in the loyal opposition in order to govern responsibly once they’ve attained power? Or should those politicians be called out for their patronizing pre-power rhetoric?

Do Israelis believe it’s OK for political aspirants to say whatever they feel is necessary to gain power? Or should practicing what one preaches always be the political rule?

King Abdullah and Abbas: Jointly Prevent Judaization of Jerusalem

Monday, April 1st, 2013

On Sunday, March 31, Jordan’s King Abdullah II and the acting leader of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, signed an agreement to jointly defend Jerusalem “from Israeli Judaization attempts.”

A statement issued by Abdullah’s palace expressed the terms of the agreement and asserted Jordan’s role as custodian of the Temple Mount and other “Muslim holy sites” in Jerusalem.  As custodian, the King asserted, he maintains all rights to exert all legal efforts to preserve them.

It is also emphasising the historical principles agreed by Jordan and Palestine to exert joint efforts to protect the city and holy sites from Israeli judaisation attempts.  It also reaffirms the historic principles upon which Jordan and Palestine are in agreement as regards Jerusalem and their common goal of defending Jerusalem together, especially at such critical time, when the city is facing dramatic challenges and daily illegal changes to its authenticity and original identity.

Jordan’s custodial role over holy sites in Jerusaelm is derived from Article 9 of the 1994 Jordanian Peace Treaty with Israel.

Contrary to the presentation by Abdullah and Abbas, the Peace Treaty, signed by King Hussein of Jordan and Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, is between Israel and Jordan; the PA does not play a role.  The “Washington Agreement,” which set out the understanding for the terms of the Treaty, requires Israel to acknowledge the custodial role of Jordan over “Muslim holy shrines in Jerusalem,” it does not require Israel to allow Jordan to prevent “Judaization” of the city.  What it does require is for Jordan and Israel “to act together to promote interfaith relations among the three monotheistic religions.”

At the time the Treaty was entered into, the details enraged the Arab Palestinians who saw the decision to award the custodial role to Jordan as a way of negating their claims to the Jerusalem sites.

Egyptian Court Throws Out Suit to Cancel Peace Treaty with Israel

Wednesday, February 27th, 2013

An Egyptian court Tuesday threw out a lawsuit to cancel the 1979 peace treaty with Israel, but the ruling left an opening for breaking the pact. It ruled that the court simply has no jurisdiction over the issue, which it said involves state sovereignty.

The suit claimed that Israel is violating the treaty and UN conventions by allegedly destroying Islamic holy sites and building in Judea and Samaria, according to the Egyptian daily Al-Masry Al-Youm

The Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice political party said its legal committee is preparing to send Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi a proposal to amend the treaty.

The Depth of Egyptian Demands Will Determine the Depth of Egyptian Withdrawals

Tuesday, October 2nd, 2012

A third of a century ago Israel wanted peace with Egypt and Israel actually believed there could be peace with Egypt. So did Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and perhaps even the Egyptian people.

But what a difference 33 years makes.

We’ve discovered since then that we got a bum deal. We signed with an unreliable and unfaithful partner who did not meet its obligations. And though we got at least got a 33-year cease-fire out of it, we did not get peace.

Instead, the Egyptians spent 33-years ever-escalating their hatred of Israel while missing the opportunity to drag themselves up from being a third world country. And while it’s easy to blame former Egyptian president Mubarak for the hatred, Mubarak’s enemies on both side of the religious spectrum, the Muslim Brotherhood and Egyptian secular pseudo-intellectuals, such as historical revisionist Abdel Wahab El-Messiri did their part too.

DESPITE EGYPT’S failure to deliver on its own side of the bargain, Egyptian President Mohammed Morsy recently said he wants to reopen up the Israel-Egyptian peace treaty, to renegotiate and link peace to Palestinian statehood, and to remilitarize the Sinai. For Morsy this is a one-way street: Egypt will demand and Israel will give.

If only Morsy had actually read the Egyptian-Israel peace treaty.

There were, in fact, two agreements signed by Israel and Egypt. As international law expert, Professor Avi Bell, has recently explained,

“The 1979 Israel-Egypt peace treaty and the 1978 “Framework for Peace in the Middle East” are not the same treaty. However Morsy may [choose to] misinterpret the 1978 Framework for Peace in the Middle East agreement, it has nothing to do with Egypt’s obligations to uphold its treaty obligations in the 1979 peace treaty.”

It is the 1979 peace treaty that requires Israeli withdrawal from the Sinai, the demilitarization of the Sinai, and of course normalization of relations between the two countries – the last being something the Egyptians never properly implemented. The 1978 treaty deals with “negotiations on the resolution of the Palestinian problem.”

Bell argues that,

“If Morsy believes that the 1978 Agreement is not merely an agreed upon framework for future negotiations, but a binding treaty still in force, Morsy must abandon several anti-Israel positions adopted by Egypt and the United States in recent years”

That’s because, as Bell explains, the 1978 Agreement recognizes U.N. Security Council Resolution 242 as the basis for resolution of the conflict. That resolution recognizes Israel’s right to secure boundaries, but fails to mention Palestinian statehood or the Palestinians at all. While it calls for an Israeli withdrawal from terrotories captured in 1967, as part of the establishing a “just and lasting peace” it does not describe the extent of the withdrawal and many of the documents drafters have said that the word “all” was left out so that Israel would not be required to withdraw from all the territory, but only some of it based on negotiations with Jordan, Syria and Egypt.

The Road Map (Bush’s plan for a democratic Palestinian state), U.N. General Assembly Resolution 194 (the partition resolution), the 2002 Arab League decision (Israeli return to the pre-67 borders), the U.N. Security Council Resolution 1397 (envisioning a Palestinian state and recalling 242) as well as recent “U.S. efforts to state that final status negotiations should be on the basis of the “1967 borders” or presumed Palestinian statehood,” all conflict with Resolution 242.

In short, Egypt’s stated positions and actions are in direct contradiction and violation of the signed peace treaty, including the one which Morsi is claiming Israel is not fulfilling.

In addition, the 1978 agreement does not discuss or require an Israel withdrawal from Judea and Samaria or Gaza. Instead it only discusses setting up a “self-governing authority,” “autonomy,” and “self-government” for the Palestinians in those areas – for a five-year period. It does not discuss or require the establishment of a Palestinian state nor does it require that the Palestinians shall continue to have autonomy at the end of the five-year period.

Like the Oslo Accords, it confirms that Israel will retain a military presence in “specified security locations” in the disputed territories, and recognizes that, “All necessary measures will be taken and provisions made to assure the security of Israel.”

Broken Gas Deal Reflects Tentative Future of Peace Treaty

Friday, April 27th, 2012

According to a recent Reuters report, the Egyptian decision to halt its already erratic natural gas supply to Israel was not, as the Egyptian government had put it, due only to financial disagreements. The report cites shareholders in East Mediterranean Gas Co (EMG) who stated: “Any attempts to characterize this dispute as a mere commercial one is misleading. This is a government-backed contract sealed by a memorandum of understanding between Egypt and Israel that specifically refers to the (1979) peace treaty.”

The international shareholders further accused the Egyptian oil and gas companies of failure to protect the pipeline from attack, failure to repair it promptly and the grim fact that they have “delivered almost no gas to EMG since February 2011.”

The Egyptian oil and gas companies have incurred substantial penalties due to their failure to supply the gas, according the shareholders.

Egypt Natural Gas Co is a also a shareholder in EMG.

(Meanwhile, according to Ha’aretz, the Israel Electric Corporation is hectically searching for a new source of natural gas. The IEC has issued an international tender looking to import liquefied natural gas, expecting to pick up some $800 million worth by December 1, 2012.)

Al Ahram agrees that “despite both sides claiming this was just a business deal gone sour, against the backdrop of growing discontent and following the exchange of heated statements, it has become apparent that the actions of the neighboring states are political.”

Al Ahram goes on to cite a 2010 Egyptian Supreme Administrative Court decision overruling a 2008 Administrative Court decision in favor of terminating the natural gas deal. The argument for the overruling was that the lower court did not have the authority to infringe on the government’s sovereignty.

In other words, the deal is officially not purely economical, and the decision to continue or stop the deal is considered by officials to be a political issue, linked to Egyptian national security.

But Al Ahram goes on to argue that the broken gas deal has not been the only source of tension between the two countries this week.

On April 21, South Sinai Governor Khaled Fouda accused Israel of trying to harm tourism in the Sinai. He was critical of a call by Israel’s anti-terrorism unit on Saturday, urging Israelis who were on holiday in the Sinai peninsula to leave immediately, for fear of kidnapping attempts and terrorism.

Governor Fouda refuted Israel’s claims, saying they were nothing more than rumors. The obviously frustrated Fouda said Israel does this whenever Egypt’s tourism industry sees an improvement. In his opinion, as soon as occupancy rates at Sharm El-Sheikh hotels reached 65 per cent, Israel released its “irresponsible statement.”

But Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu refuted those accusations when he said on Tuesday that Egypt’s Sinai peninsula had become a “kind of Wild West” overrun by militants, terrorists and arms smugglers. Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman even suggested Israel should post more troops along the border with Egypt.

Egypt’s military ruler, Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, was not happy. “Our borders, especially the northeast ones, are inflamed,” he admitted, but then added an angry warning: “We will break the legs of anyone trying to attack us or who come near the borders.”

Even if Israel were to discount much of that belligerent statement as intended for internal consumption, the sentiment is nevertheless authentic. Sad as it may sound, despite all the hope to the contrary, the Camp David peace treaty has not matured over the past 30+ years to the point where the occasional disagreement could not threaten its very existence. We may be looking these days at the beginning of the end of that treaty.

But those seeking positive signs for the future of the Israeli-Egyptian peace can point to the report this week about the Egyptian army preventing prevented a local group of Bedouins from defacing an IDF memorial in the northern Sinai Peninsula. According to Israel’s Army Radio, the Egyptian military deployed armored vehicles near the memorial, to prevent the Bedouins from reaching it.

Stay tuned…

Leading Egyptian Presidential Candidate: Peace Treaty Will Remain ‘in place’

Tuesday, January 17th, 2012

Former Arab League Secretary-General and Current Egyptian presidential hopeful, Amr Moussa, said in an interview with the Arabic Daily Asharq Al-Awsat that he did “not think there are any circumstances that will lead to [the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty's] cancellation.”

He added: “I do not think this will happen, and I do not think it would be wise for this treaty to be cancelled. The treaty will continue so long as each party respects it.”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/leading-egyptian-presidential-candidate-peace-treaty-will-remain-in-place/2012/01/17/

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