Thursday, April 03, 2014

"Peace" Process

Questions about the Peace Process - Rick Richman

Why do people have to be paid - in the form of cash, prisoners, freezes, etc. - to convince them to show up to negotiate a state for themselves?

Why do people who have signed a formal agreement, obligating themselves not to take "any step" outside bilateral negotiations to change the status of the disputed territories, have to be paid to convince them to adhere to their agreement?                


Kerry’s Folly -Charles Krauthammer

The crowning piece of diplomatic Kerry’s frantic effort to salvage the Arab-Israeli negotiations he launched, also against all odds and sentient advice.

He’s made 12 trips to the region, aiming to produce a final Middle East peace within nine months. It is month nine. The talks have gone nowhere. But this has been a fool’s errand from Day One. There never was any chance of Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas concluding a final peace .

Now in the 10th year of a four-year term (there never was a reelection — he just stayed in office), Abbas doesn’t have the legitimacy. With half of Palestine (namely Gaza) controlled by his rejectionist mortal enemy Hamas, he doesn’t have the authority.

And he doesn’t have the intention. Abbas openly refuses to (a) recognize Israel as a Jewish state, (b) yield the so-called right of return (which would flood Israel with millions of Palestinians, destroying the state demographically) and (c) ever sign any agreement that ends the conflict once and for all.

Any one of these refusals makes a final peace impossible. All three make the entire process ridiculous. Kerry has given up trying to get a final agreement. He’s given up on even getting a “framework agreement.” He’s reduced to simply trying to keep the moribund talks going.

To keep stringing along the Israelis, some genius decided to dangle Jonathan Pollard. What’s he got to do with anything? Why is he being offered as an incentive for Israel to accept otherwise unacceptable conditions?

Instead of trying to stave off the U.N. bid with the release of Palestinian terrorists and an American spy, perhaps the administration could simply stop fighting Congress, which developed a far more effective method. Under law, any U.N. agency that recognizes “Palestine” has its U.S. funds cut off.

The Obama administration keeps trying to restore funding for UNESCO, which in 2011 defied the U.S. by recognizing Palestine. What kind of signal is this to the rest of the world? Financial sanctions are precisely the kind of pressure that can support diplomacy. Yet this administration seems intent on removing sanctions that might thwart Palestinian moves toward unilateral statehood, the latest Palestinian strategy for getting land without offering peace.

After all, that would be diplomacy with teeth. So 19th century.
[Washington Post]

Left Wing Minister Livni: We'll Not Release Prisoners for Nothing

Israel's chief peace negotiator, [left-wing] Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, defended Israel's decision to postpone the fourth prisoner release. "I made it clear to the Americans and the Palestinians that I will not release the Israeli (Arab) prisoners unless it's in a different context. This is something they knew since day one," she said. "I need to honestly look into the victims families' eyes and tell them - 'yes, we're making that decision for something real.'"

"We had no intention to free (the prisoners) and find ourselves a month later with (the Palestinians) walking out and turning to the UN." Abbas' decision to sign 15 international conventions, mainly through the UN, "was a blunt violation and a big mistake that is going to make it very hard on us to return to normal," Livni said.
(Ynet News)


John Kerry, testifying before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, blamed Israel for the failure of peace talks.

Kerry: Israeli Settlement Plan Derailed Peace Talks -Mark Landler

Secretary of State John Kerry said Tuesday that Israel’s announcement of 700 new apartments for Jewish settlers in East Jerusalem precipitated the bitter impasse in peace negotiations last week between Israel and the Palestinians.
While Mr. Kerry said both sides bore responsibility for “unhelpful” actions, he noted that the publication of tenders for housing units came four days after a deadline passed for Israel to release Palestinian prisoners and complicated Israel’s own deliberations over whether to extend the talks.

“Poof, that was sort of the moment,” Mr. Kerry said in testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
[New York Times]

Construction Tenders Were Not New - Tovah Lazaroff and Lahav Harkov

An Israeli official remarked that in every past peace plan it had been understood that Gilo would remain within Israel's borders. He said that these particular tenders had already been published in the past and had been republished last week.

(Jerusalem Post)

Is Israel to Blame for Peace Talks Collapse? - Jonathan S. Tobin

It is disingenuous to say that the publication of tenders for housing units precipitated the bitter impasse in peace negotiations last week between Israel and the Palestinians. Kerry knows very well that the negotiations were doomed once the Palestinians refused to sign on to the framework for future talks he suggested. PA leader Mahmoud Abbas wouldn't say the two little words - "Jewish state" - that would make it clear he intended to end the conflict. Since the talks began last year after Abbas insisted on the release of terrorist murderers in order to get them back to the table, the Palestinians haven't budged an inch on a single issue.

Thus, to blame the collapse on the decision to build apartments in Gilo - a 40-year-old Jewish neighborhood in Jerusalem that would not change hands even in the event a peace treaty were ever signed and where Israel has never promised to stop building - is, to put it mildly, a mendacious effort to shift blame away from the side that seized the first pretext to flee talks onto the one that has made concessions in order to get the Palestinians to sit at the table.    

So long as the Palestinians pay no price for their refusal to give up unrealistic demands for a Jewish retreat from Jerusalem as well as the "right of return" for the 1948 refugees and their descendants and a refusal to recognize Israel as a Jewish state and end the conflict, peace is impossible no matter what the Netanyahu government does.

Appeasing them with lies about Israel only makes it easier for the PA to go on saying no. 


Abbas Rebuffed Mutually Acceptable Wording on "Jewish State"
- Raphael Ahren

Israeli negotiators were willing to work with PA President Mahmoud Abbas during negotiations on the wording of a formula that would have described the Jewish people's and the Palestinian people's right to self-determination in precisely equivalent terms, and would have also included phrases to guarantee the rights of Israel's Arab minority.

"The goal of the process was to receive mutual recognition for two nation states, and that both the Jewish people and the Palestinian people have national rights," a senior government official said.

The proposed phrasing was "based on total parity." The Palestinians, however, resolutely refused to accept the very concept of such recognition, he said.
(Times of Israel)

Failure Is in the Eye of the Beholder - Shmuel Rosner
  • No one in the region was terribly surprised when the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks collapsed. Yet failure is in the eye of the beholder. And in this case only those who expected a deal - the Americans - failed.
  • But for the two parties with real interests at stake, the talks proved, once again, that there are things more important for them than peace and calm - things like national pride, sacred traditions, symbols and land.
  • Both parties entered the talks without any hope of reaching an agreement, and both are now exiting having reached their unstated aim: to avoid a deal in which they were never interested, without having to bear the full blame for dropping the ball. Each side would prefer to see Mr. Obama place the blame on the other side, but sharing it is reasonably tolerable.
  • There are two false perceptions that repeatedly distort discussions of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. First is the misguided idea that everybody knows what a final deal will look like, and that the inability to reach it is basically a diplomatic technicality. And second is the unfounded belief that Israelis and Palestinians want peace more than anything else. They don't.
  • Of course, Israelis and Palestinians, like all people everywhere, want to live without violence. But they also want many other things. They continue to battle it out because they have priorities other than the ones imagined by the mediator.

    The writer is a fellow at the Jewish People Policy Institute.
[New York Times]


LHwrites said...

Those are some good questions to ask. Sadly, the answer is that peace is not what's desired by the Palestinians; at least not a peace that includes Israel.

Bruce said...

Indeed, indeed.