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April 20, 2014 / 20 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Saeb Erekat’

Israel, PLO ‘Talk’ Over Sanctions, Not Status

Monday, April 14th, 2014

Israeli and Palestinian Authority negotiators are warning each other over what will happen if each walks away from the negotiating table — and neither is talking about the subject for which they were brought to the table.

Israel has warned the PA that if the entity does not cease its violations of an agreement to refrain from joining international treaties and organizations, the Jewish State will respond with more unilateral actions of its own.

And the Palestinian Authority negotiators are responding that they just don’t care — they will simply sign more international treaties and conventions, including one giving the entity membership at the International Criminal Court in The Hague — and establish recognition for their entity as a new country, albeit one without recognized, negotiated borders, that way.

Both are adroitly avoiding the real reason they are sitting there: how to wrestle with the knotty problem of finding a solution to an unsolvable crisis — a looming deadline for talks on an issue that cannot be solved to anyone’s satisfaction by Western standards. The Palestinian Authority is actually TWO entities, not one: Gaza, run by Hamas, and Ramallah-controlled areas of Judea & Samaria. Worse, all of these populations have now been effectively brainwashed into thorough hatred of Jews and Israel — fed on a daily diet of media incitement sponsored by the PA government and the surrounding Arab nations, in total violation of the internationally-recognized Oslo Accords.

There is no way to dial that back, even if they wanted to — and perhaps some of the PA leaders do — but most of them would not even if they could. The question now is how to keep this fiasco from blowing up in everyone’s faces while keeping American mediators — who tend to complicate the picture and only make things worse — at bay.

But at least Israelis and PA negotiators are meeting — until this point, the Americans have been at the table for every single encounter since November, and PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, whose presence was required, has not been.

The PA negotiators allegedly refused to come to the table without them; but one has only to read the autobiographies of the founders of Israel to see what was going on in negotiations during prior wars to wonder what the real story is behind this account as well. What is certain is that the media is only hearing part of the tale — and the public even less.

Regardless, the PA move is intended to create a de facto recognition of the entity as an independent sovereign nation by evading the Oslo Accords. The 1993 agreement signed by the late PLO chairman Yasser Arafat and Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin require the PA to negotiate a final status agreement with Israel. It includes a requirement for the PA to abandon terror and negotiate final borders, among other issues.

The Israeli sanctions have already begun. Jerusalem has begun to deduct sums from taxes it collects each month – some $110 million — on behalf of the Palestinian Authority. The money will be used to pay down the massive debt the PA owes to Israel for the electricity it receives, use of Israeli hospitals and provision of specialized medical care. The PA owes Israel nearly half a billion shekels. The PA is screaming over the reduction of the funds because the taxes Israel collects and transfers to its coffers each month represent nearly two-thirds of its income.

Nevertheless, Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) official Nabil Shaath brushed aside the Israeli threat when speaking with reporters on Sunday after a meeting with a German delegation in the Samaria-based PA capital of Ramallah. The move, he said, “will not stop us from joining international treaties and conventions,” according to the PA news agency WAFA.

Israel-PA Negotiators Back to Work in Jerusalem

Thursday, April 10th, 2014

U.S. mediators are in Jerusalem “helping” Israeli and Palestinian Authority negotiators get back to the table and back to work. Again.

Chief negotiators Tzipi Livni for Israel and Saeb Erekat for the PA are scheduled to meet today with U.S. envoy Martin Indyk and others. Indyk, Livni and Erekat have already met three times this week. Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman is in the United States, and met last night in Washington D.C. with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.

“We note that the contact in meetings between the negotiators is continuing and note that they are engaging in serious and intensive efforts to find a way out of the current impasse,” said U.S. State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki at a briefing Wednesday night. She was careful not to confirm that a meeting between the two sides would actually take place Thursday in Jerusalem. One cannot ever predict what will happen in Jerusalem and the Obama administration is now sadder and wiser.

Kerry kept his words upbeat while speaking to media ahead of his meeting with Liberman. “We are working hard to find a way forward. And both parties indicate they would like to find a way to go forward in the talks.”

Since the talks have yet to make any real progress at all, let alone move the “peace process” even one concrete inch on core issues, one questions exactly where “forward” each party means to go when they make that statement to the United States. It seems that Israel has made all the concessions – like freeing dozens of bloodthirsty terrorists in repeated “good will gestures” – and no visible reciprocal moves have been made by the Palestinian Authority.

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu finally ordered all government ministries except those related to defense, and all negotiators except Tzipi Livni, to cease civilian and economic contacts with the PA. The move came Wednesday in response to the PA’s brazen violation of its commitment not to sign membership for international agencies, treaties and organizations until the end of talks with Israel, slated for April 29.

PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas signed on to 15 global treaties, as head of the ‘State of Palestine,’ four days after Israel failed to release a group of 30 terrorist prisoners, among them 20 Israeli Arab citizens over which Abbas actually has no jurisdiction whatsoever.

That group was the last of four whose releases were supposed to be linked to progress in the talks and the active participation of Abbas at the negotiating table. But Abbas had not been present since last November, and no progress had been made.

Israeli ministers balked at releasing the final group of prisoners in the face of no progress, a month ahead of a deadline for talks that had accomplished nothing. Instead, Israel advanced a proposal to extend the talks until the end of 2014 and release 400 more prisoners in addition to the group of 30 scheduled to be freed – but the PA rebuffed the offer and instead walked away.

When talking to media in Washington, Liberman was blunt but polite about his view of what crashed the negotiations, choosing his words carefully.

“Unilateral steps,” he said, would only “undermine all our efforts.” A final status deal that would bring peace means a lot to Israel. The Jewish State is “ready to sacrifice a lot for this goal.”

Abbas to Kerry: ‘Please Beg Me More!’

Monday, April 7th, 2014

Abbas and the Palestinian Authority leadership have concluded that the Obama Administration is prepared to do almost anything to show some kind of “victory” in the peace process between Palestinians and Israelis. Palestinian demands therefore have continued to increase almost every day.

Palestinian Authority [PA] leader Mahmoud Abbas is now waiting to see what the U.S. Administration will offer him in return for refraining from pursuing his bid to join various international treaties and institutions.

In recent weeks, according to Palestinian officials, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has literally been “begging” Abbas to agree to the extension of the peace talks after the end of April.

Hours after Abbas signed the applications for joining a number of international bodies and treaties, he received an urgent phone call from Kerry asking him to refrain from further moves that could “derail” the peace process.

Abbas is convinced that it is only a matter of time before Kerry rushes back to the region in yet another desperate effort to “salvage the peace process.”

Last Wednesday night, Abbas and the PA leadership received the first sign that the U.S. Administration was nervous and confused following the PA’s surprise decision to join 15 international organizations and treaties.

Kerry’s envoy, Martin Indyk, invited Chief PLO negotiator Saeb Erekat and Israeli Justice Minister Tzipi Livni to an emergency meeting in Jerusalem to find ways of preventing the “collapse” of the peace talks in the wake of Abbas’s decision to apply for the memberships.

The meeting lasted for several hours and, according to Palestinian sources in Ramallah, Indyk and Livni “reprimanded” Erekat for surprising Israel and the U.S. Administration with the new decision.

Abbas dispatched Erekat to the meeting to see what the Americans and Israelis are prepared to offer him in return for suspending this bid.

So far, however, Abbas does not seem to be satisfied with what his emissary, Erekat, heard from Indyk and Livni. Abbas is therefore expected to step up pressure on the two parties in the coming days and weeks, if he can, in the hope of extracting as many concessions as possible.

Abbas and the Palestinian Authority leadership have concluded that the Obama Administration is prepared to do almost anything to show some kind of a “victory” in the peace process between Palestinians and Israelis. Palestinian demands have therefore continued to increase almost every day.

Realizing how desperate Kerry is to achieve an extension of the talks, Abbas decided that this was the right time to set new conditions, such as the release of jailed Fatah militia leader Marwan Barghouti and Ahmed Sa’adat, Secretary-General of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. Barghouti is in prison for his role in terrorist attacks against Israelis during the second intifada. Sa’adat is serving a lengthy prison term for his role in the assassination of Israel’s Tourism Minister Rehavam Ze’evi.

As Kerry increased his pressure on the Palestinians to agree to an extension, Abbas added two more conditions: the release of hundreds of Palestinian prisoners and a complete cessation of construction in settlements and east Jerusalem neighborhoods.

Abbas has also made it clear that his decision to join international organizations and treaties does not mean that he is interested in a “clash” with the U.S. Administration.

Abbas is right. Of course he does not want a “clash” with President Barack Obama and Kerry. Rather, Abbas wants the two men to continue begging him not to walk out of the peace process and turn their entire Middle East policy into another blunder. He wants them to exert pressure on the Israeli government to accept both his old and new demands.

Abbas Inches Towards the ‘No State’ Solution

Thursday, April 3rd, 2014

Reality has returned to the traditional Arab-Israeli divide, at least for the time being, and none other than a veteran Arab journalist and retired professor of  journalism wrote on Wednesday that given the hapless Arab strategy, “Palestinians will end up with no state.”

This is no surprise to no one except the U.S. State Dept. Thomas Friedman, the European Union and perhaps President Barack Obama, although it is more probable he couldn’t care less just as long as he can stick the Arab-Israel dossier into his “forget” folder.

With Martin Indyk acting on an emergency rescue mission, armed with everything except a Magen David Adom ambulance, the prediction by Abdallah Schleifer may be a bit too soon.

The fact that Israeli negotiator Tzipi Livni and her Palestinian Authority counterpart Saeb Erekat rushed to meet last night proves they want to save U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s chance for a Nobel Peace Prize, which he would really would deserve if he would worry about the disappearing South American Rain Forest instead of stirring up trouble in Cairo, Moscow, the Ukraine, Jerusalem, Benghazi, Ankara, and Tehran.

The Bethlehem-based Ma’an News Agency reported that Livni and Erekat went at each other’s throats last night in the presence of Indyk, who was unable to tame the peace partners “fierce political battle.”

Specifically, according to Ma’an, “Erekat reportedly told the Israeli side that ‘we are here to negotiate in the name of the UN-recognized State of Palestine, not in the name of a Palestinian Authority whose inputs and outputs are controlled by Israel.’

“Israeli negotiators responded by threatening to put “endless” sanctions on the Palestinians, the sources said….

“Erekat responded to Israeli threats of sanctions by saying the PLO would go after Israeli officials as ‘war criminals’ in international institutions.”

And now for the full and unabridged version from Livni’s spokeswoman in answer to a question put forward by The Jewish Press, to wit: “Can you confirm or deny…that Minister Livni threatened Erekat with sanctions?

“No comment.”

First of all, it shows Livni is not stupid. As much as the Palestinian Authority tries to convince the media establishment that it’s all Israel’s fault that the myth of peace talks has been unmasked, it is not so convincing to anyone outside of the Arab world, so wht argue that 2+2=4 when others know the answer is 5?

The Jewish Press reported here last night that Livni entered the meeting with Erekat to help Abbas climb down from his lofty perch and would exit the meeting with praise for her peace partner. That did not happen, but it’s not over until it’s over.

We also reported that everything is on hold until the Arab League meets next week. It will realize that the time is not yet ripe to ditch the United States and will come up with some mental gymnastics to prolong the agony of the peace talks, or it will go for broke.

Enter Schleifer, the Arab journalist who wrote in Al Arabiya Thursday that with the apparent collapse of the talks, “There is increasing talk about the impossibility of a two-state solution and increasing talk on the Palestinian and pro-Palestinian side of a one-state solution.”

Schleifer is not to be dismissed as another hack writer. He served for nine years as NBC News Cairo bureau chief, was a special correspondent for the New York Times based in Amman, served as Al Arabiya’s Washington D.C. bureau chief and is associated with the Middle East Institute in Washington D.C. as an Adjunct Scholar.

He is a card-carrying champion Palestinian Authority and opponent of the “Occupation,” but at least one of his views of history is on the money

“Back in the 1930s and 40s noble -minded Jews who connected at some level with Zionism were calling for a bi-national rather than exclusively Jewish state, but neither the Zionist leadership nor the Palestinian leadership wanted it which in both cases, figures,” he wrote.

“The whole thrust of the Zionist movement for most Zionists, would be a Jewish state theoretically ready to absorb as many Jews from Europe, America, and the Arab world as would be willing and able to immigrate. And since the overwhelming population in Mandate Palestine was Arab, why would the Arab leadership in Palestine consider a bi-national state as just another way of denying the Palestinians the right to self-determination?”

That is one of the first opportunities that the Arab world missed, upholding a tradition that goes back to Biblical kingdoms, which refused to let Moses lead the people of Israel through their areas on the way to the Promised Land.

Then and now, the anti-Zionists say “no” and the Jews, like Livni, say “no comment. We’ll find a way. We are not known as a Start-Up nation for nothing.”

As for the new “one-state” solution promoted if not threatened by Palestinian Authority activists as well as Jewish anti-Zionists, Schleifer commented, “The one state solution still is a noble idea but noble ideas don’t cut much ice without significant power behind it…Unfortunately, neither a powerful mass movement nor the commitment of strong willed leaders exists as yet for the one state.”

With typical Arab blindness, he wrote, “A right-wing Israeli version of one state [is] based on ethnic cleansing and annexation.” Abbas repeatedly says no Jews would be allowed in a future Palestinian Authority state, but that’s not ethnic cleansing. That is “national identity.”

The kind professor and journalist offer two options. One is a utopian presence of two states “providing both sides with an opportunity to engage people to people without threats to their respective and very different concerns, apprehensions and fears.”

He correctly dismissed that as being viable, putting all the onus, of course, on Israel that constantly creates a hopeless situation by insisting that Jews can live in Judea and Samaria, reserved for Arabs.

And it is that hopelessness that provides the second option. Schleifer wrote, “it is almost inevitable there will be Palestinian jihadi attack killing a large number of Israeli civilians — like a bomb going off at the western Wailing Wall when the plaza is filled to capacity during key Israeli holidays.

“This would provoke a terrible ethnic cleansing of the Arabs of former Jordanian Jerusalem and the West Bank. The ultra-right wing government could then annex all of the West Bank and not worry at all about the ‘demographic threat.’”

Got it? Blame Israel for hopelessness – has anyone recently read the Biblical account of Hagar who sat around waiting for God to save herself and her child Ismael instead of looking for a water bottle?

Blame Israel for hopelessness, blame Israel for the Arab’s blowing up Jews and blame Israel for exploiting the massacre to defend itself by taking charge.

Fine, blame the Jews, what do we care?

Blame the Jews for what Schleifer himself says will happen:

“Short of more sophisticated Palestinian diplomacy backed by a growing BDS movement, the settlements will continue to grow and more and more Palestinian land will be confiscated and more and more Palestinians will be harassed, if not injured or even murdered by the settlers. And the Palestinians will end up with no state.”

So for once Livni is right.

“No comment.”

Kerry, Livni and Abbas Take a Seventh-Inning Stretch

Thursday, April 3rd, 2014

Here is an on-the-spot play-by-play report on Wednesday’s action in the Peace Talks Charades.

Tzipi Livin screws up her face and throws a spit ball at the Palestinian Authority, which swings and misses.

John Kerry calls Abbas and reaches first base.

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman steps up to the mound and pitches a curve ball by announcing he will vote against any proposal to release Arab murderers who carry Israeli citizenship.

Martin Indyk takes a walk to Jerusalem and scores a triple play with Livni and Saeb Erekat.

Commentator Samantha Power puts in her two cents, which is about all it is worth, and opines that unilateral actions by the Palestinian Authority “will be a profound threat to Israel and devastating to the peace process.”

Duh.

Housing Minister Uri Ariel, playing right field, urges Netanyahu to find another game and cancel the Oslo Accords, forgetting that they sank long ago in Foggy Bottom except when the State Dept. fishes them out for stale news.

Tourism Minister Uzi Landau, the government’s biggest windbag, carries his bat, points to the bleachers, and says that Israel can punish the Palestinian Authority by annexing Judea and Samaria and slapping sanctions on Ramallah.

His home swing misses by a mile, and he takes a shower.

The Arab League, playing shortstop, forces everyone to take a rain check for a week, when it will meet to grunt and groan and come up with a face-saving pitch for Abbas.

Livni and Kerry Help Abbas Climb Down from His High Horse

Thursday, April 3rd, 2014

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry phoned Mahmoud Abbas, and Israeli negotiator Tzipi Livni sat down with her counterpart Saeb Erekat Wednesday, proving that the best way to get both sides talking is to create a crisis.

Livni officially is Justice Minister and unofficially is Kerry’s Under Secretary of Concessions. She talked tough earlier in the day, declaring that the Palestinian Authority “has breached its obligations by applying to the United Nations” and that “if they want a state, they need to understand that it will only be established on the negotiating table.”

Livni is good at talking tough. She is an abysmal failure at even showing a muscle, let alone using it.

She sat down with Erekat and Martin Indyk, President Obama’s Middle East salesman. Even before the discussion, she already was parroting the State Dept. line. “Even when peace seems very far away, and when the other side’s conduct is wrong,… we will return to the negotiating table; we are obligated to return to talks.”

A real fighter she is.

She said so herself, asserting that neither the Palestinian Authority  nor anyone else “can dictate to us whether or not we are fighting for peace.” Her idea of fighting for peace is hitting Israel over the head. Maybe if she hits herself on the head something will sink in, but until then, we can expect luvvy-duvvy words by tomorrow morning on how Erekat really is a peace partner and that the peace talks can be saved, meaning Kerry can be saved.

Despite all the headlines reporting the play-by-play of an imminent collapse in talks, Abbas and Erekat are not about to walk away without the release of the fourth batch of terrorists. Joining the he Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, one of 15 U.N.-linked bodies that have received an official Palestinian Authority request for membership, is not going help get the murderers out of jail.

Kerry kept up contact with Abbas on Wednesday, phoning him and getting assurance that they would continue to talk in the next few days.

Netanyahu has been conspicuously silent, enjoying a rare moment of peace and quiet while everyone else runs around and bumps into each other, knocks each other down and then tries to pick up the pieces.

Did Kerry Cancel His Meeting with Abbas Because the PA Broke Its Word?

Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014

For a second time this week, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry abruptly cancelled a scheduled meeting with Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas.

Reporters were told late Tuesday evening that Kerry’s meeting today (Wednesday) with Abbas was cancelled, with few details added. “We are no longer traveling tomorrow,” a senior State Department official said simply.

Abbas breached the conditions of his agreement with Israel – and the United States – by signing a PA application for membership in 15 United Nations agencies and organizations. “The demands (for membership) will be sent immediately,” Abbas announced at a briefing. “This is not a move against America or any other party. It is our right and we agreed to suspend it for nine months.”

The deadline for completion of the framework agreement talks was set for April 29. But Abbas has not actively participated in direct talks for months, according to reports quoting government minister Tzipi Livni (Hatnua). Nor has the PA made any “good will gestures” towards Israel comparable to those forced upon the Jewish States by U.S. President Barack Obama.

Meanwhile, the PA’s unilateral move is one that turns the clock back more than a year, dialing back efforts by John Kerry to keep the entity from attempting to unilaterally gain recognition in the U.N. as an independent sovereign nation. It also is a return to its attempt to evade the agreement it signed in the internationally-recognized Oslo Accords in 1993.

Two days earlier the PA chairman was have met with Kerry in Ramallah following talks between Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and the Secretary of State. But the meeting in Jerusalem ran longer than expected and John Kerry had to race for his flight to make a two-day meeting in Brussels.

The Israeli-PA negotiations over a “framework agreement” have been limping along for months now, with Israel making what appears to be all of the concessions. As a ‘good will gesture’ to bring Abbas to the table and keep him there, Israel agreed to free 104 PA terrorist prisoners in four separate tranches linked to the PA leader’s active participation in the talks. Three of the four have already been made, with some 78 terrorists freed.

The fourth and final group of terrorists scheduled to be released last week, however, included 20 Israeli Arab citizens – and at that point both government ministers and the entire Israeli population balked.

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.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/israel/obama-to-invite-abbas-to-white-house/2014/02/24/

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