“What nation would give up those hundreds of years? The tombs of its forefathers?
“Can we surrender, can we tire out? 400,000 residents will prove… I think this is sinking in to the Israeli consciousness.
“Even the Australian Foreign Minister has said she doesn’t understand why settlements are illegal.”
Nonetheless, the ever-eager John Kerry is reportedly going to present his “framework document” for the negotiations by the end of January. As is the norm, we have nothing but rumors to go on.
But what seems to be the case is that Kerry is hedging details and specificity sufficiently to presumably make it tolerable, if not palatable, for both parties. According to Palestinian Arab sources cited by Al-Hayat, the document consists of “general ideas that are elastic and fuzzy.” This provides each side with the opportunity to interpret the ideas in the document as it chooses to do so.
That’s all well and good, from Kerry’s perspective, since he wants to avoid offending either party and causing the collapse of the talks that he wishes to extend now beyond nine months. But if specificity will cause the talks to collapse, then it does not take a rocket scientist to see that there is no realistic hope for an agreement.
According to a JPost article, citing these Palestinian Arab sources, “Sovereignty and control over the border and natural resources will effectively remain in the hands of Israel.” They said that the 1967 borders would be “cancelled.”
What I make from this, quite simply, is that there is Palestinian Arab discontent because Kerry is not following their line – negotiations based on the ‘67 “borders,” etc. Beyond that? Who knows.
Reportedly, Jordan’s King Abdullah will be involved in what Kerry is planning next, with Kerry’s document to be announced at the Jordanian port of Aqaba. We regularly see attempts to buoy Abdullah, as he totters on his throne. The king has met with both Abbas and Netanyahu in recent days; Netanyahu made an unannounced visit to Jordan last week.
According to Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon, Kerry is due here later this week, and efforts are being made to promote a Netanyahu-Abbas summit under Jordanian sponsorship. This strikes me as a decidedly bad idea.
But I’m hardly the only one who doesn’t like this. Yesterday, 200 nationalist activists met in Ofra with Deputy Transportation Minister Tzipi Hotevely and other MKs to develop strategy for preventing Netanyahu from making concessions when pressured by the US.
“Talk of keeping only settlement blocs is adopting the path of Yossi Beilin and is a sin against the Right,” Hotevely declared. “The way to stop such destructive plans is via the Likud and the coalition. The prime minister must understand that he will have no coalition and he will have no party if he accedes to a diplomatic agreement.”
Head of Habayit Hayehudi, Naftali Bennett, is working along the same lines to secure the support of a sufficient number of MKs to block any proposal Netanyahu might advance that involves concessions. What is more, he is working with a sufficient number of MKs from the combined Likud-Yisrael Beitenu faction to prevent Netanyahu from replacing Habayit Hayehudi from being replaced in the coalition by Labor.
May Heaven strengthen their efforts.
I see all of this as working in one of two different ways. Either the prime minister might simply see that he doesn’t have the political backing to make concessions, and, choosing not to bring down his government, not go there. Or, he might use this to strengthen his capacity to say “no!” In other words, Bennett and Hotevely and company might give him the rationale he is looking for: “Oh, Mr. Kerry, you can see how I have been working for peace. But my government will fall if I do this. It cannot happen.”
I personally see his tendency to go with the second option. This is why, ever the team player, he’s still making “creative suggestions” to advance negotiations.
I wish I had the time to explore additional issues – such as the fact that the UN apparently thinks telling the truth is bad for peace - but I have not. Not today.
I began with the good, and will end the same way...
It is sweet indeed for us here in Israel that Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper. who is a forthright and special friend, is visiting us. He was greeted by Prime Minister Netanyahu with great ceremony, which included an honor guard and blaring trumpets:
“You are a great friend of Israel and the Jewish people,” Netanyahu said. “I am not just saying that, I mean it deeply from the bottom of my heart, and I am speaking for all of the people of Israel.
“...This world is often cynical and hypocritical, and you have shown great moral leadership. When it comes to fighting terrorism, you know that there cannot be any politically correct double talk, but only unequivocal condemnation and united international action.
“When it comes to anti-Semitism, you have stood up unabashedly at the side of Israel and the entire Jewish people, I think at the side of decency and fairness to everyone: Jews and non-Jews alike. And when it comes to Iran's repeated calls for Israel's annihilation and its unrelenting development of nuclear weapons – you and Canada have stood unflinchingly on the right side of history.
”And finally, when it comes to peace, you recognize that a genuine peace, a lasting peace, must be based on mutual recognition and sound security arrangements on the ground. I think in all this and in so many other things, you have shown courage, clarity and conviction. And in standing up for the truth, your voice, Stephen, has been an indispensable one.”
Credit: Menahem Kahana/AFP/Getty Images
Just a very short while ago, Prime Minister Harper delivered a marvelous, an extraordinary, talk to the Knesset. A talk that brought MKs and invited guests to their feet several times, and caused a couple of Arab MKs to storm out in fury.
You can see the full speech here:
But I take pleasure in sharing some highlights (with emphasis added):
“...The friendship between us is rooted in history, nourished by shared values, and it is intentionally reinforced at the highest levels of commerce and government as an outward expression of strongly held inner convictions.