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February 1, 2015 / 12 Shevat, 5775
 
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Posts Tagged ‘peace’

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.

Netanyahu Orders Contact Cut with Palestinian Authority

Wednesday, April 9th, 2014

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has ordered all but one Israeli negotiator to cut contact with their Palestinian Authority counterparts.

Netanyahu ordered discussions halted between Israeli and PA representatives on all issues with the exception of security, according to news agencies.

In addition, all government ministries — except the Defense Ministry — are to cease any civilian and economic cooperation with the Palestinian Authority.

Only Israel’s chief negotiator  and former foreign minister Tzipi Livni, head of the Tnua party, was exempted from the ban. The moratorium comes in response to what a government official called the “Palestinians’ grave violation of their commitments in the framework of the peace talks.”

The comment refers to the PA promise made from the outset of the talks to refrain from unilateral attempts to gain membership in international and United Nations agencies, treaties and organizations until after the talks were to end on April 29. Last Monday, April 1, PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas broke his word to Israel and the United States, signing and submitting applications to 15 international conventions following a crisis in the talks.

In response, Prime Minister Netanyahu warned earlier this week, “Unilateral steps [on the part of the PA] will be met with unilateral steps on our part.”

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry tried to smooth over new tensions with America’s strongest ally in the region after having appeared to throw Israel under the bus when he met with his own firing squad at a Congressional hearing earlier this week.

Kerry pointed the finger at Israel when asked why the talks failed, claiming “the two sides have taken steps that are not helpful,” State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki said in an attempt at “clarification” a day later. “At no stage did he play the blame game,” she claimed. “Kerry even noted especially that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu took courageous steps throughout the process.”

But Kerry told the Senate during the hearing that the main reason the talks failed had to do with Israel refusing to free a fourth tranche of PA terrorist prisoners on schedule — a group that included 20 Israeli Arab citizens — preceding a deadline for completion of talks that had to date accomplished nothing other than release from Israeli prisons for 78 other PA terrorists, and no significant concessions from the Palestinian Authority. Kerry also slammed continued construction in established Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria. In addition, he said, “Around noon, when they were to reach an agreement, 700 housing units in Jerusalem were announced and ‘boom.’”

As if the announcement of adding new housing in Jerusalem to relieve a population crisis in the capital, and construction in existing towns and cities was the true point of contention upon which agreed-upon negotiations between “professional” diplomats rose and fell.

The lack of clarity about the real reason for the crash of the talks is not being discussed outside of the closed doors in the capitals of the world, although every world leader understands the truth.

PA leaders do not want this millstone, the burden of forever having the responsibility for running this “independent state” — around their necks. They don’t know how, and they don’t have enough skilled people, properly trained to do it yet. And those they do have do not stay due to the corruption and intrigues that go on that pose a constant risk to their lives. It is a hangman’s noose that will eventually kill each and every one of them because of the risk of failure. So each is looking for different ways to escape it — and to somehow find a way blame Israel in the process.

If we are really lucky, perhaps America will stay out of this process long enough to allow Tzipi Livni and Saeb Erekat to walk everyone back from the brink, and just long enough to prevent any forced agreement or unilateral action being imposed on Israel in the near future.

 

 

One More Try for Peace as Envoy Martin Indyk Arrives in Israel

Thursday, April 3rd, 2014

U.S. Special Envoy Martin Indyk raced to Jerusalem Wednesday for emergency meetings with Israeli and Palestinian Authority negotiators over the crashing final status talks.

In Algeria for strategic security talks, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry also urged Israeli and PA leaders to make one more effort to reach an agreement, warning that the Obama administration could not force peace if partners were unwilling.

“You can facilitate, you can push, you can nudge, but the parties themselves have to make fundamental decisions and compromises,” he said. “The leaders have to lead and they have to be able to see a moment when it’s there.” Kerry quoted the old adage of being able to ‘lead a horse to water but not being able to make it drink’ — an analogy that every American child is raised with.

“Now is the time to drink,” Kerry said. “The leaders need to know that.”

Last week Israel balked over the release of a final group of 30 PA terrorist incarcerated in Israeli prisons. The group included 20 Israeli Arab citizens – a controversial issue that had split the coalition government of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu from the start of the talks in July 2013.

The Israeli Arab prisoners acted in their terrorism under the auspices of Fatah and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). Both are led by PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, so it is impossible for him to close his eyes to their incarceration. More so, it is impossible for Israeli government ministers to ignore the fact that Abbas, whose nom de guerre is Abu Mazen, is in some ways as much a terrorist as those who are imprisoned. Abbas has claimed “only a few hundred thousand” Jews were killed by the Nazis during the Holocaust. During the years of the Bush Administration he refused to dismantle terrorist organizations as required by the Roadmap peace plan – which collapsed — and refuses to stop media incitement in the PA against Israel as well.

The prisoners were to be freed in stages linked to progress in the talks and the participation of PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas – who has not been active at the negotiating table since November 2013. Further exacerbating the problem is the fact that no visible progress appears to have been made on the core issues since that time, with Israel making all the security concessions and endangering its own population.

Last Friday, instead of freeing the terrorists, Israel proposed to extend the talks and offered to free another 400 prisoners, again in stages linked as before to progress in the negotiations.

The talks are not scheduled to end until April 29.

Instead, on Monday infuriated PA leaders signed applications for membership in 15 United Nations agencies and organizations. The move is an outrageous violation of its commitment to both Israel and the United States at the outset of the talks.

Last night (Wednesday), Fatah faction leader Mohamed Shtayyeh also threatened in a statement in Arabic to Sky News to submit an application to the International Criminal Court (ICC) at The Hague – a second violation.

The PA committed at the start of negotiations with Israel in July 2013 not to seek membership in international organizations – including the International Criminal Court at The Hague – until the conclusion of talks on April 29.

But Shtayyeh announced that the PA is also no longer willing to “negotiate” on any issue other than borders and demanded Israel present a map of new borders based on the 1949 Armistice lines, also known as the “1967 lines.” This is a third violation.

The “1967 lines” term is used with bitterness by Arabs and many in the international community to refer to the areas occupied by Jordan from 1948 to 1967, whose borders were dissolved after Israel won the 1967 Six Day War.

If Israel is unable to reach agreement with the PA on borders, the PA threatened to submit applications for membership in 63 international organizations. The strategy is being used as a means of gaining de facto legitimacy as a as an independent sovereign nation.

Moreover, Shtayyeh blamed Israel for the action, saying it came in response to the government decision not to release the final group of terrorist prisoners last week.

PA envoy to the United Nations Riyad Mansour added in a statement to the Bethlehem-based Ma’an news agency – a PA mouthpiece — that the entity is “eligible for membership in up to 550 international organizations.”

Peres Confused over ‘Isolation’ and ‘Peace’

Tuesday, March 18th, 2014

The subject of President Shimon Peres’s speech at the Sixth Annual Negev Conference in Sderot on Tuesday was not a surprise, but his contrasting a peaceful-seeking nation with one that is isolated says volumes about his view from the Ivory Tower.

After his expressing his delight at the Israeli government’s going along for the ride with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to the Peace Process Cemetery, Peres said, “We are not an isolated nation’ we never were. We are a nation that seeks peace.”

He was wrong on one point. Israel indeed is an isolated nation. The reason it is isolated is his second point – that Israel seeks peace.

Netanyahu Apologizes to Jordan while IDF Says Attacker Was Terrorist

Tuesday, March 11th, 2014

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has apologized to Jordan for killing a Jordanian judge who the IDF said attacked and tried to strangle a soldier before he was shot dead at the Allenby Bridge border crossing on Monday.

“Israel regrets the death of Judge Raed Zeiter yesterday at the King Hussein (Allenby) bridge and expresses its sympathies to the people and government of Jordan,” according a statement from the office of the Prime Minister.

“In light of our commitment to the peace treaty, Israel has already shared with Jordan the results of its preliminary investigation of the incident,” it continued. “Israel has also agreed to a Jordanian request to establish a joint Israeli-Jordanian team to complete the investigation.”

The IDF stated Monday morning that its “preliminary conclusions regarding the Allenby Bridge incident” followed “a comprehensive investigation” and that “the investigation included extensive questioning of witnesses by security personnel.”

“The preliminary conclusion of the investigation indicates that the terrorist attacked the soldier,” IDF spokesman Lt. Col. Pete Lerner said. The attacker “charged at the soldiers shouting ‘Allah Akbar’ [Allah is great] with a metal pole, and then attempted to seize the soldier’s weapon prompting the soldiers to respond by firing towards his lower extremities, in line with standard operating procedures. The suspect then began to strangle a soldier and the force resorted to using live fire once again.”

The attacker later was named as a judge from Jordan who originally is from Shechem, and that is when the proverbial manure apparently hit the fan.

Gertrude Rose might have written today that “a terrorist is a terrorist is a terrorist” but not if he is a judge.

Jordan claims that the judge was unarmed, and the Jordanian Muslim opposition castigated Israel’s “brutality” in killing the alleged attacker.

If the IDF’s initial probe reached the wrong conclusion and the soldiers wrongful fired, the whole incident will be very bad for Israel.

If it is true, and so far the IDF has not amended its preliminary conclusions, that does not change the fact that Prime Minister Netanyahu needs Jordan more than ever right now. The last thing King Abdullah needs is a Palestinian Authority state on his borders. Jordan is country of refugees, mostly “Palestinian” and an increasing number from Syria.

Israel protects Jordan’s eastern border, which would become Swiss cheese if the Palestinian Authority were to be stationed there.

That explains the Prime Minister’s hurried apology and agreement set up a joint commission to investigate the incident.

Obama to Invite Abbas to White House

Monday, February 24th, 2014

President Barack Obama is ratcheting up the pressure and will invited Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas to the White House, Arab media reported Monday.

A summit in Washington with Abbas would “even things out” politically since the president is scheduled to meet with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu next week, when the Prime Minister will address the annual AIPAC policy conference.

Meanwhile, Abbas and his “peace talks” negotiator Saeb Erekat continue their globetrotting expedition to shore up support for their conditions for creating the Palestinian Authority as a new Arab country within Israel’s current boarded.

Erekat is meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Moscow, which is strongly in Abbas’ corner.

Abbas, Kerry to Hold Second Paris Meeting

Thursday, February 20th, 2014

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas have agreed to meet for a second day to discuss core issues in the Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations.

Kerry and Abbas met for two hours on Wednesday evening  in Paris, where they “had an in-depth discussion about the core issues” surrounding a peace deal and agreed to continue the discussion on Thursday, according to news reports citing an unnamed senior State Department official.

Kerry reportedly will present in the coming weeks a framework agreement for continuing the nine-month, U.S.-brokered peace negotiations, which currently are scheduled to end on April 29.

Deputy State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf, told reporters Wednesday night in Vienna that recent remarks by chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat, including suggesting that Israel is planning an incursion into Gaza to take the focus off of the peace negotiations, and that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is hoping for Abbas’ assassination, are “unhelpful.”

“The secretary will make clear that these kinds of comments are disappointing, that they are unhelpful, especially coming from someone involved in the negotiations, indeed the lead negotiator,” Harf told reporters.

She would not address Israeli news reports that Kerry’s proposal will include a request that the Israeli government freeze all construction in settlements outside of the large blocks of communities that Israel intends to keep in a final status deal.

When asked to clarify whether the official U.S. position recognizes Israel as a Jewish state, Harf replied that it does. She cited President Obama’s Sept. 24, 2013 speech to the United Nations General Assembly, when Obama said: “I’ve made it clear that the United States will never compromise our commitment to Israel’s security, nor our support for its existence as a Jewish state.”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/abbas-kerry-to-hold-second-paris-meeting/2014/02/20/

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