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December 20, 2014 / 28 Kislev, 5775
 
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Posts Tagged ‘Settlement freeze’

Abbas Reportedly Will Accept ‘Unannounced’ Settlement Freeze

Thursday, March 21st, 2013

Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas supposedly is willing to accept an unannounced freeze on building by Jews in Judea and Samaria in order to pave the way for a return to talks with Israel, according to The New York Times.

The newspaper more often than not follows the Obama administration policy line and serves as vehicle to float its ideas.

A document authored by PA negotiator Saeb Erekat was document quoted by the Times stated that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu “can pledge to you [presumably Obama] secretly that he will stop settlement activities during the period of negotiation.”

An “unnanounced” freeze would be Abbas’ grandiose “concession” to Israel, allowing Netanyahu to freeze building without officially admitting it to the nationalist Jewish Home party, a key partner in the new coalition government.

Whether true or not, the report will help President Obama put more pressure on Prime Minister Netanyahu to let both Abbas and the American government to climb down from the weak limb of the “peace process.” which has been the corner stone of American involvement in the attempt by the Palestinian Authority to establish an independent country based on the Temporary Armistice Lines drawn in 1949, otherwise known as the Green Line.

Why Israel Will Go Along with Obama’s Next Gambit

Sunday, February 10th, 2013

Originally published at Rubin Reports under the title, “The Real Meaning of the Obama Visit to Israel and U.S.-Israel Relations in Obama’s Second Term.”

The international media is speculating on Obama’s visit scheduled for late March. The argument is that he would not come unless he gets some breakthrough, that is, some Israeli concession, and he wouldn’t leave happy unless he received one.

So what would this concession be? The most likely candidate would be a freeze on constructing building within existing settlements, as Israel gave him three years ago. At that time, despite a ten-month freeze, the Palestinian Authority only came to talks at the last minute, offered nothing, and then quickly demanded another freeze. In other words, Israel did precisely what Obama asked and got nothing in return, either from his government or the Palestinians.

Actually, it is not technically true to say “nothing.” Secretly, the U.S. government promised to accept that Israel could annex “settlement blocs,” (a promise originally made by Obama’s predecessor, George W. Bush) that is keep the largest existing settlements near the border, in exchange for territorial swaps in a peace agreement, and to continue building in east Jerusalem.

What happened? A few months later, a visiting Vice President Joe Biden threw a tantrum about an announced zoning board decision that at some future point Israel might build in pre-1967 Jordanian-ruled territory. In effect, that was a violation of the agreement.

Then, while not explicitly going back on the settlement bloc agreement without notifying Israel, Obama made a major speech in which he put the emphasis on Israel’s return to the pre-1967 borders (that is, giving up the settlement blocs), though he did leave the door ajar for territorial swaps. That was not breaking the pledge but certainly undermined it.

After doing what Obama wanted and then getting little or nothing in exchange, Israel is now faced with claims that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu never made any concessions to get negotiations going. After going along with Obama, it is now said in the United States that he tried to undermine Obama or didn’t cooperate.

And after the Palestinian Authority repeatedly killed negotiations—even after Obama announced in 2010 that they would begin shortly at Camp David and Netanyahu agreed—it is a mainstay of mass media coverage that Netanyahu is responsible for the failure of negotiations to happen.

A friend joked that Netanyahu should change his first name from Benjamin to “Hard-line” since that’s the way he’s usually presented in the Western mass media.

Thus, Israeli cynicism should be—if people knew the factors behind it—understandable. After all, the sum total of international wisdom on the now-dead (but pretended to be alive) “peace process” is that this means Israel giving up things and getting nothing in return.

Yet Israel is prepared to go along with Obama again in some fashion. Why? Because it is necessary to preserve the strong relationship with the United States. Obama will be president for the next four years and some help from him is needed on the Iran nuclear issue, the likely growing threat from Egypt, military aid, and other issues.

That is political reality.

At the same time, though, the idea—again, prevalent in mass media coverage—that Netanyahu must “moderate” to form a government is not true. First, a very important lesson: Ignore everything said by Israeli politicians and media during the coalition-forming period because it is invariably misleading. This is what experience has shown virtually without exception.

Now, Netanyahu’s basic choice is to bring together at least two of the following three parties: The traditional liberal Yesh Atid led by Yair Lapid; the Sephardic religious Shas, and the right-wing Ha-Bayit Ha-Yehudi, led by Naftali Bennett. This is like the story of how you get the fox, the chicken, and the grain across a river without something getting eaten. It is very difficult.

Yesh Atid, led by Yair Lapid, has called for Netanyahu to work hard to get talks with the Palestinians going again. This has been treated as some major move of pressure. Of course not. That’s what Lapid is going to say and should say. And Netanyahu should also say—as he has done hundreds of times in the last four years—that he wants to get negotiations going.

Chauncey Gardner Is Alive and Well and Living in Foggy Bottom

Tuesday, December 11th, 2012

On Monday, December 10, 2012, State Dept. Spokesperson Victoria Nuland, during her regular Daily Press Briefing, started sounding like Jerzy Kosinski’s memorable character in Being There, Chance the Gardener, immortalized by Peter Sellers in the 1979 movie by the same name.

Here’s a short scene from the movie:

President: Mr. Gardner, do you agree with Ben, or do you think that we can stimulate growth through temporary incentives?

Chance: As long as the roots are not severed, all is well. And all will be well in the garden.

President: In the garden.

Chance: Yes. In the garden, growth has it seasons. First comes spring and summer, but then we have fall and winter. And then we get spring and summer again. President: Spring and summer.

Chance: Yes. President: Then fall and winter.

Chance: Yes.

Benjamin Rand: I think what our insightful young friend is saying is that we welcome the inevitable seasons of nature, but we’re upset by the seasons of our economy.

Chance: Yes! There will be growth in the spring!

Benjamin Rand: Hmm!

Chance: Hmm!

President: Hm. Well, Mr. Gardner, I must admit that is one of the most refreshing and optimistic statements I’ve heard in a very, very long time. … I admire your good, solid sense. That’s precisely what we lack on Capitol Hill.

And here’s yesterday’s exchange over the Quartet meeting in Brussels this coming Wednesday, dealing with the “peace process”:

MS. NULAND: We continue to work with Congress to make the case that continued U.S. support for the Palestinian people is in our national interest, is in the interest of the peace process. But again, there are a lot of views in the Congress, particularly in light of the move at the UN.

QUESTION: Just on this, there’s a Quartet meeting in Brussels on Wednesday, envoy level. Do you expect anything substantial or significant to come out of this, or is this just kind of a stock-taking exercise in looking at how dismal the chances are to get the peace process started again?

MS. NULAND: Well, I think it’s been a while since David Hale has met with his Quartet counterparts, so I think it’s an opportunity to look at where we are and if and when we might be able to be in a position to get these parties back to the table, obviously, in light of all of the factors. So it’s – let’s say that at this stage, it is gardening, but it is important gardening.

QUESTION: Gardening. You mean like weeding?

MS. NULAND: No, it’s nurturing of the soil. (Laughter.)

QUESTION: Are they actually planting? Are they –

MS. NULAND: Nurturing of the soil.

QUESTION: Are they planting any seeds? (Laughter.)

MS. NULAND: They’re always trying to plant seeds, as you know.

QUESTION: There’s more gardening? (Laughter.)

And here’s the rest of Monday’s exchange regarding freezing settlements as the surefire way of bringing peace and brotherly love to the region, which preceded the above botanical discussion:

QUESTION: On the Palestinian issue, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas stated today that he, in fact, called for the resumption of direct negotiations with Israel from the point where they were last and during the last negotiation session, and – provided that all settlement activity be frozen for the time being. Do you support such a call, or is that – you consider that to be conditional?

MS. NULAND: As the President has said all the way along, as the Secretary has said, we are prepared to be full partners in supporting negotiations if and when the parties are ready to enter into direct negotiations. So it always takes two to tango, as we say. So – and we’ve also called for both sides to come to the table without preconditions.

QUESTION: Do you consider it reasonable to call for resumption of negotiations from the point where they ended?

MS. NULAND: Well, again, we support any scenario in which the parties can get back to direct talks, because it’s going to be the only way to settle all of the longstanding issues between them. It’s the only way to get to the two states living next to each other in peace that we all seek.

Abbas Endorses Dershowitz’s Settlement Freeze Offer – Someone Should Tell the Settlers

Wednesday, September 26th, 2012

Meeting Monday evening with about 10 Jewish leaders, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas endorsed Prof. Alan Dershowitz’s formula for returning to talks with Israel, participants said.

Abbas also told Jewish leaders that his U.N. speech would show greater sensitivity to Jewish and Israeli concerns.

All top Jewish organizational leaders declined to participate in the Abbas meeting, reportedly at the request of the office of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has discouraged Jewish meetings with Abbas until he gives up demanding a settlement freeze as a precondition for returning to talks.

Well, we needn’t worry about that any longer.

Both Abbas and his senior negotiator, Saeb Erekat, reacted with keen interest to a proposal that Dershowitz first made in January – that Abbas agree to resume negotiations as long as Israel freezes settlements once the talks start.

No Jewish leader at the Monday meeting proposed a freeze on Arab construction in the PA, to coincide with freezing Jewish construction.

Abbas signed a copy of the proposal, and Dershowitz said he would make the case again to Israel that it should agree to its terms.

Think of it as a holiday gift for the half million or so settlers in Judea and Samaria, who would be given, once again, the opportunity to live in more intimate quarters as their families keep growing.

The last time Israel suspended settlement building for 10 months, in 2010, it took Abbas nine months to return to talks, and he left as soon as the freeze was over.

Under Dershowitz’s formula, Abbas would be obliged to be at the table as soon as the freeze began.

Timing is everything.

The meeting was under the auspices of the S. Daniel Abraham Center for Middle East Peace. The center was established by Slim Fast Foods former Chairman S. Daniel Abraham and the late Utah Congressman Wayne Owens.

Perhaps those crammed quarters in the frozen settlements won’t seem as crammed if they all consumed more Slim Fast…

Among those who did attend the meeting, besides Big Idea Man Dershowitz, were CMEP director Robert Wexler—who is a top Jewish surrogate for President Obama, and Peter Joseph, who heads the Israel Policy Forum.

On July 13 the Israel Policy Forum sent a letter signed by 41 prominent American Jewish leaders and philanthropists that urged Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu not to adopt the Levy commission’s findings, which legalized the vast majority of Jewish outposts east of the “green line.”

Turns out Dershowitz was the right-winger in that room…

Dershowitz told Haaretz that the PA president promised to make “a positive statement” about the connection between Israel and the Jewish people during his Thursday address to the United Nations General Assembly.

Participants described Abbas as emphasizing what he said was the urgent need to return to talks with Israel because of protests and fighting roiling the Arab world and because of increased tensions with Iran. He asked his Jewish interlocutors why Israel was demanding that he recognize Israel as a Jewish state when he had repeatedly recognized its legitimacy.

He was told that insensitivity to Jewish claims helped fuel the demand, and was reminded that last year in his speech to the U.N. General Assembly, he noted only Muslim and Christian claims.

Abbas told the group to watch for his speech to the General Assembly, scheduled for Thursday at noon, saying that he would also note Jewish claims.

The office of the Palestinian representative in Washington would only confirm that the meeting with the Jewish leaders took place and that aspects of what was discussed would be featured in Abbas’ speech.

Among the Jewish leaders who declined to attend, representatives of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, the Anti-Defamation League and the American Jewish Committee either did not return requests for comment or declined comment.

The Israeli Embassy did not return a request for comment.

According to Haaretz, Abbas has assured President Obama’s Administration that he would not press for a General Assembly vote on the Palestinian request for non-state recognition before the upcoming November 6 presidential elections.
The JTA’s Ron Kampeas contributed to this report.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/abbas-endorses-dershowitzs-settlement-freeze-offer-someone-should-tell-the-settlers/2012/09/26/

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