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October 1, 2014 / 7 Tishri, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘unilateral’

PA Accuses Israel of ‘Blackmail,’ Threatens Return to UN

Tuesday, April 1st, 2014

The Palestinian Authority is accusing Israel of “blackmail” and instead says it is heading back to the United Nations to appeal for recognition as a sovereign nation if U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry can’t force Israel to release 30 terrorists.

The group comprises the final of four tranches to have been released last Friday from Israeli jails. Included were at least 20 Israeli Arab citizens, a controversial list opposed by nearly all of the ministers in Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s coalition government, especially in view of the fact that all of the major concessions since the talks began — as before — seem to have been made by Israel only.

Incensed PA officials rejected the alternate proposal advanced instead of the release last Friday by Israel’s government. Israel allegedly offered to released hundreds more terrorist prisoners if the PA continue final status negotiations beyond the April 29 deadline – but this time take the talks more seriously.

The response of Israel’s “peace partners” was not encouraging.

“Israel is practicing a policy of blackmail and linking its agreement to releasing the fourth tranche of prisoners with the Palestinians accepting an extension of the negotiations,” a PA official told news agencies in Ramallah.

“If Kerry doesn’t provide a clear answer on the release of the 30 prisoners [we] will initiate steps for acceptance to United Nations organizations,” Mustafa Barghouti, an independent PA parliament member, told news agencies Monday night.

The move would be a clear violation of all agreements the PA has made with Israel and the United States.

Since July 2013, Israel has freed 78 PA Arab terrorists and made numerous other concessions that endanger the security of its citizens in “good will gestures” to encourage the PA to remain at the negotiating table.

But the four-stage release of terrorists incarcerated in Israeli jails was conditioned upon the active participation in direct talks by PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas — and the Arab leader has not made good on his end of the deal.

It’s an old pattern, this “let’s talk some more about it but I can’t sit down with you until you give me what I want” — a game as beloved, familiar and ingrained in the Middle East as that being played out with Washington by the Iranians in Tehran.

Youngsters and tourists quickly learn the drill in the storefront alleyways of Jerusalem’s Old City market. And it’s profitable and even fun, until it turns deadly.

Survival makes it essential to learn to tell when the game is deadly, and when you can’t, it is equally important to have enough sense to trust your friends to tell you when it is.

US State Dept. Rejects Recent Israeli Announcements on Settlements

Monday, December 3rd, 2012

Mark C. Toner, DOS Deputy Spokesperson, on Monday night released this statement: The United States opposes all unilateral actions, including West Bank settlement activity and housing construction in East Jerusalem, as they complicate efforts to resume direct, bilateral negotiations, and risk prejudging the outcome of those negotiations. This includes building in the E-1 area as this area is particularly sensitive and construction there would be especially damaging to efforts to achieve a two-state solution.

We have made clear to the Israeli Government that such action is contrary to U.S. policy. The United States and the international community expect all parties to play a constructive role in efforts to achieve peace. We urge the parties to cease unilateral actions and take concrete steps to return to direct negotiations so all the issues can be discussed and the goal of two states living side by side in peace and security can be realized.

Khaled Abu Toameh: Unilateral Withdrawal a Recipe for War

Sunday, June 10th, 2012

Israel’s Defense Minister Ehud Barak believes that Israel should consider a unilateral withdrawal from the West Bank if negotiations with the Palestinian Authority fail to bear fruit.

Under the current circumstances, such a move would lead to the creation of another radical Palestinian Islamic entity, this time in those parts of the West Bank that would be handed over to Mahmoud Abbas and Salam Fayyad.

Any land that is handed over to the Palestinian Authority would end up in the hands of Hamas.

In the summer of 2005, Israel pulled out of the Gaza Strip, passing it to Abbas and his 40,000-strong Fatah-dominated security forces.

A few months later, thanks to a free and fair parliamentary election that was held at the request of the US and some EU countries, Hamas came to power.

One of the main reasons Hamas scored a victory in that election was because it took credit for driving Israel out of the Gaza Strip through rockets and suicide bombings.

A year later, in the summer of 2007, it took fewer than 10,000 Hamas militiamen to defeat Abbas’s security forces and bring down the entire Palestinian Authority regime in the Gaza Strip.

Hamas’s rule over the Gaza Strip has since brought more suffering and bloodshed for both Israelis and Palestinians.

Once Israel carries out a unilateral withdrawal, the same scenario is likely to be repeated in the West Bank.

Even though Hamas does not have a strong military presence in the West Bank, the movement seems to enjoy much popularity among Palestinians.

The so-called Arab Spring, which has seen the rise of Islamists to power in a number of Arab countries, has emboldened Hamas and other radical Palestinian groups, such as Islamic Jihad.

These groups have managed to attract many followers by offering themselves as the best alternative to Western-backed corrupt secular dictatorships in the Arab world.

As before, Hamas’s chances of taking over the West Bank are high after the failure of Abbas’s ruling Fatah faction to implement significant reforms or combat rampant corruption.

Fatah lost the 2006 parliamentary election mainly because of its leaders’ involvement in the embezzlement of public funds. Since then, Fatah has failed to draw the conclusions from its defeat and has not even been able to come up with a new list of capable candidates that could attract Palestinian voters.

The same Fatah men who lost the vote are, in fact, continuing to run the show in Ramallah — as if they had never lost.

Even if the Islamists do not take over the West Bank in the aftermath of a unilateral Israeli pullout, it is almost certain that the Palestinian Authority would not be able to prevent local gangs and clans from seizing power.

The case of Jenin, a city in the West Bank, is a good example of the weakness of the Palestinian Authority security forces, especially with regard to imposing law and order: Palestinian Authority officials have admitted that Jenin has been controlled over the past two years by Fatah militiamen and thugs who worked closely with many top Palestinian security officers, imposing a reign of terror and intimidation on the city’s residents.

A unilateral withdrawal from the West Bank could mean that Palestinian cities like Ramallah, Nablus, Jenin, Bethlehem and Hebron would fall either into the hands of Hamas or armed Fatah gangs.

Abbas and Fayyad would not be able to do much to prevent a return to scenes of anarchy and lawlessness that were once prevalent on the Palestinian street.

The chaos and violence inside the Palestinian cities would also spill over into Israel, forcing it to launch another “Defensive Shield” type of operation, like the one in 2002, to clear the area of armed gangs.

Before withdrawing from any area, Israel needs to make sure that those who would be in charge would not run away, handing the territories to Hamas or any other local gangs. Under the current circumstances, a unilateral and unconditional withdrawal would only be a recipe for more violence and bloodshed and repression.

Originally published by Gatestone Institute http://www.gatestoneinstitute.org

Since Unilateral Disengagement Worked So Well The Last Time…

Wednesday, June 6th, 2012

In a recent speech, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak suggested that Israel consider unilaterally disengaging from Judea and Samaria.

“If it is impossible to reach an agreement with the Palestinians,” he said, “we should consider an interim arrangement, or even a unilateral disengagement.”

Now, why didn’t anyone else think of extracting this exquisitely brilliant idea from history’s dust bin? Where are all the smart liberal idealists? How could so many Israeli government officials, university professors, military strategists and other great minds be so blind to so obvious a solution staring them in the face?

The Gush Katif expulsion of nearly ten thousand Jews – the destruction of their homes, the obliteration of beautiful communities that stood as a defense line for cities, towns and villages within the Green Line – has worked out just fine, hasn’t it?

To Barak, apparently, the tranquil nights, quiet days and neighborly love experienced by the residents of Sderot, Ashkelon, Ashdod and elsewhere are illustrative of how unilateralism, though designed to punish the uncooperative side in the conflict, can become the brilliant solution that has evaded Israel since the Six-Day War.

Disengagement, they call it in English, hitnatkut in Hebrew. It is a situation where one side is disconnected, detached and disentangled from the other. It is a state of affairs in which I concentrate on doing my thing while you do yours. We are both left alone to proceed as best we can toward the horizon of peace and prosperity, safety and well being, as each of us sees fit.

Why does Defense Minister Barak – who ran away from Lebanon, was ready to gamble away the entire West Bank and Jerusalem to the arch-murderer Arafat, enthusiastically supported the expulsion of the Gush Katif Jews, and blatantly tramples on the rights of the settlers – seem to be the only one with such clarity of mind?

How I wish Ariel Sharon would wake up to see the Messianic days of redemption and goodwill he heralded with his unilateral move to punish PA President Mahmoud Abbas for not playing fair. How I wish the clock could be reversed a bit to allow Barak to congratulate Sharon for brilliantly executing a step in the right direction.

I can visualize the two men sitting in the residential quarters of Sharon’s sprawling farm, drinking a toast to the past and contemplating similar success in the future. We are blessed, truly blessed, by minds such as these.

Then again, if Sharon were around and if they did sit down and discuss the implementation of the next assault on Jewish lives, homes and businesses, who would take credit? It is said that two kings cannot sit on the same throne.

Sharon is not waking up and Barak’s latest suggestion for another unilateral disengagement/expulsion reveals him to be either sleepwalking or comatose in his own right.

Neither condition bodes well for Israel.

Isaac Kohn is senior vice president of Prime Care Consultants.

Time to Kick the Palestinian Can?

Sunday, March 11th, 2012

Would it be prudent for Israel to launch now the kind of unilateral initiative proposed by former Yesha Council Director Naftali Bennett, or is it best to leave well enough alone?

Under Bennett’s plan, Israel would annex Area C – where Jews live – granting full citizenship to the Palestinians residing in the area while at the same time Israel would make the heavy infrastructure investment required so that Palestinians residing in the remainder of the West Bank (under a “full” autonomy subject only to security-related limitations and restrictions on the return of refugees) could enjoy complete freedom of movement within and between those areas.

What’s wrong with continuing with the status quo?

That question itself hinges on a critical assumption, namely that the status quo can be reasonably expected to continue for the foreseeable future.

Will the Palestinians be able to change the situation on the ground or will they only spin their wheels in an ongoing series of international resolutions, declarations, and photo ops?

Would a second term President Obama pull all the stops to impose his vision on the West Bank, Jerusalem, and Gaza Strip?

Would a world facing a nuclear Iran seek to appease it by forcing Israel to make dramatic concessions to the Palestinians?

What’s the downside to acting now?

Would it shift the focus away from Iran?

Certainly in column inches and broadcast minutes, but that’s not necessarily the relevant measure.

As it stands today it would appear that an American and/or international decision to use force against the Iranian nuclear program would be driven by assessments of intelligence regarding progress in the Iranian program, with Israeli-Palestinian relations having little if any impact on – or relevance to – the decision making process.

And finally – is it better to implement Bennett’s plan already or instead to make preparations so that the plan can be implemented if and when the Palestinians cross some red line?

Is it realistic to assume that Israel would be able to annex Area C after the Palestinians took their move?

Certainly a lot to think about.

One thing is certain.

It would be a terrible mistake to postpone thinking this through.

 

Originally published by IMRA http://www.imra.org.il/story.php3?id=55982

Congress Unfreezes $40 Million in Aid to Palestinians

Tuesday, February 7th, 2012

Members of Congress have released some $40 million of frozen U.S. assistance to the Palestinian Authority, according to an Associated Press report.

The $187 million in economic and humanitarian assistance was frozen in September 2011 after the PA submitted a unilateral bid for UN membership.

The funds were released as a result of intense lobbying on the part of the Obama administration.

Annexing Area C – Israel’s Turn For Unilateral Move?

Thursday, January 19th, 2012

Following the Palestinians’ unilateral bid for statehood at the United Nations, many expect the Israeli government to announce their own large scale unilateral move. The Oslo Accords, signed between the Palestinian delegation and Israel in 1993, allow one side to respond with their own unilateral action if the other side decides engage in one first.

MK Yaakov “Katzeleh” Katz (National Union) is not waiting for the Israeli government to propose their own unilateral endeavor and has submitted to the Knesset a new piece of legislation that would allow Israel to annex the portion of Judea and Samaria known as Area C from the Oslo 2 agreement, signed in 1995.

Approximately 350,000 Israeli citizens live in Area C, a portion of Judea and Samaria which is currently under Israeli military control. The Israeli citizens who live in Area C currently do not enjoy the same legal status and rights that they would receive if the area was annexed. There are also between 56,000 and 150,000 Arabs living in Area C. Knesset Diaspora Affairs Committee Chairman MK Danny Danon (Likud) and Knesset House Committee Chairman Yariv Levin (Likud) have signed on as co-sponsors of Katzeleh’s bill.

Outside of the Knesset, Pinchas Polonsky is leading a new peace initiative involving the annexation of Area C which will target American politicians. The plan calls for promoting the strategy to Republican congressman and presidential candidates and would lead to a speech at the Republican National Convention in August. There are now more than a dozen Congressmen who have signed on to the objective.

The new initiatives come on the heels of the European Union’s plan to invest in infrastructure in the Arab areas of Area C. According to the E.U.’s numbers only 5.8% of Judea and Samaria’s Arabs live in Area C, which comprises 62% of Judea and Samaria.

The likely outcomes of the current attempts to annex Area C are not favorable, but it does signal the beginnings of a debate on the Israeli side about alternative unilateral moves.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/analysis/israels-turn-for-unilateral-move/2012/01/19/

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