Negotiations and the American Set of Principles
- Shlomo Brom
- Secretary of State Kerry's original intention was to mediate between Israel and the Palestinians and draft a framework agreement that would be signed by both.
- Only after it became clear that the gaps between their positions were too wide to reach such an agreement did Kerry adopt the more modest goal of drafting an American set of principles that the two sides could accept in principle even if they expressed reservations about part of the content.
- The U.S. is proposing an alternative system that would prevent the smuggling of weapons and people through the Jordan Valley without an Israeli presence.
- However, there are no signs that Israel has relinquished its demand for IDF forces to have a continued presence in the Jordan Valley for many years. In addition, Israel is demanding the right of hot pursuit in any part of the Palestinian state.
- It is difficult at this stage to see how Kerry will succeed in squaring the circle in the area of security.
Palestinian Demands Western Wall Be Returned to PA
Jerusalem, including the Western Wall, rightfully belongs to the Palestinians, PA Minister of Religious Affairs Mahmoud al-Habbash told Israel Channel 10 TV.
"All the holy places, including the Aksa mosque and the Western Wall," must be returned to the Palestinian Authority, Habbash said.
The Cost of the "Peace Process" - Elliott Abrams
- Once upon a time, the U.S. worked hard to give Yasser Arafat, a terrorist and thief, a state to rule. That policy was changed in the George W. Bush administration, when we began to care not only about the borders of the new Palestine but what was within those borders. Bush said he would not support establishment of a Palestinian state if that state would just be another dictatorship, another kleptocracy, another home for terrorism.
- It is widely believed that corruption in the Palestinian Authority has exploded since the departure of former prime minister Salam Fayyad, who fought it. For example, the Sunday Times of London reported in October that "billions of euros in European aid to the Palestinians may have been misspent, squandered or lost to corruption, according to a damning report by the European Court of Auditors, the Luxembourg-based watchdog."
- Has the U.S. reverted to the position we had in the 1990s, when Yasser Arafat visited the White House 13 times and our policy goal was to hand him a state, no questions asked? How can it possibly contribute to the building of a decent, peaceful, democratic Palestine for the U.S. to be indifferent to the actual conduct of the Palestinian Authority?
- State Department spokesmen issue statement after statement about Israeli settlement activity, seemingly whenever one brick is laid atop another, yet ignore these serious issues. What kind of Palestine is it that the U.S. is seeking to create?The writer, former deputy national security adviser in the administration of President George W. Bush, where he supervised U.S. policy in the Middle East, is a Senior Fellow for Middle Eastern Studies at CFR.
Suppressing the Urge to Survive - Wesley Pruden
The Israelis have this unreasonable itch to survive. Self-preservation is the strongest human urge, but only the Israelis, alone in the world, are expected to suppress the urge and die without making a lot of unseemly fuss and noise about it. You don't have to be Jewish to share the outrage.
Mr. Kerry has devised a formula that might look good on a State Department white paper, but it assumes that everyone will be nice. Too bad, but Israel's critics and tormentors don't do nice.
The Palestinians could have their state on the West Bank if they would give up the fantasy of destroying the Israelis and getting it all. The Israelis would be pleased in the event to help the Palestinians make a success of nationhood.