Monday, February 17, 2014

Abbas Shuts Down the Peace Process

Tom Wilson
Last week, Jonathan Tobin wrote here of how we were on the eve of a fourth Palestinian "no" to a peace agreement. It would appear that has now arrived, albeit slightly sooner than anyone had expected. Many observers assumed that once Secretary of State John Kerry got around to submitting his framework for a negotiated peace, Palestinian Authority head Mahmoud Abbas would then set about finding an excuse for rejecting it. What few could have predicted was that Abbas would find a way to reject the proposal before it was even submitted. Yet, this is precisely the impressive feat that Abbas has now accomplished.
Earlier today, Abbas's spokespeople in Ramallah announced the PA's new set of red lines in any negotiated peace settlement. Each and every one of these red lines blows to pieces anything Kerry was about to propose, as it does to the prospects for an agreement between the two sides in general. These red lines which Abbas details in a letter being sent to the U.S. and the Quartet seamlessly preempts whatever Kerry was likely to outline in his own peace parameters. In this way Abbas artfully dodges a scenario in which the Israelis would agree to a peace plan and the Palestinians would come under pressure not to derail yet another effort to resolve the conflict.

Abbas's new red lines block just about every concession that the Israelis, and even the U.S., have requested. Abbas demands: a total Israeli withdrawal from all territories that went to Israel in 1967; that Israel complete that withdrawal within three to four years; that the Palestinians not be required to recognize the Jewish state; that east Jerusalem be specified as the capital of a Palestinian state; the release of all Palestinian prisoners; and resolving the refugee issue along the lines of UN General Assembly resolution 194, which in essence means sending those Palestinians claiming to be refugees, not to a Palestinian state, but to Israel, thus terminating the existence of the Jewish state Abbas refuses to recognize.

"Without these principles there can be no just and comprehensive peace in the region," stated Abbas's spokesman Abu Rudeineh. So it seems we can now bid farewell to Kerry's rather shambolic efforts for reaching a negotiated peace, much of which have been marred by the trading of insults and accusations between the State Department and Israeli politicians, all the while with the EU standing on the sidelines, issuing threats about the repercussions for Israel should talks fail. In fact, earlier today EU parliamentary president Martin Shulz was in Israel's Knesset lecturing Israelis (in German) on making "painful concessions for peace," bemoaning the hardships he accused Israel of having inflicted on the Palestinians. 
Israel's chief negotiator, Tzipi Livni, recently suggested that on the matter of the Palestinians accepting the Jewish state we might be in for a surprise. As it turned out, we weren't. No one will be surprised by this rejection from the Palestinians, even if its early timing will have caught some a little off-guard. Even President Obama, who had been speaking of Kerry's framework having a less than 50 percent likelihood of success, won't be surprised when he receives Abbas's letter. And Kerry, who was seeing all of this unfold close-up, surely won't be able to claim to be surprised either.
As it was, the State Department was increasingly looking like it was about to try strong-arming the Israelis into accepting a framework, even on such unacceptable matters as a full Israeli withdrawal from the Jordan valley. Kerry was beginning to issue thinly veiled threats to the Israelis about what might become of Israel should it not find a way to appease Palestinian demands. There were also rumors that the State Department was trying to get the White House to back efforts to pressure the Israelis into accepting a deal even less to Israel's liking than the one it originally seemed Kerry was about to come up with. Now, presumably, Prime Minister Netanyahu won't have to worry about being asked to accept parameters that no Israeli leader could be expected to inflict on their people. Instead, Abbas has most likely deflected that whole unpleasant business.
What remains to be seen is how the EU, the State Department, J Street, the boycotters, the writers of Haaretz and the New York Times, and indeed Abbas himself will manage to pin this whole debacle on Israel and Netanyahu.   
PA tells Kerry no to framework deal in current form
Palestinians informed US secretary central elements of his proposal are unacceptable, Ramallah officials say
BY AVI ISSACHAROFF  February 14, 2014
The Palestinian Authority has informed US Secretary of State John Kerry that it will not accept his framework peace proposal as it currently stands, PA officials told The Times of Israel.
The officials claimed that the Obama administration's current proposal, which is intended to serve as the basis for continued talks on a two-state solution, includes pretty much everything Israel demanded - almost down to the last detail - but does not address vital requirements from the Palestinian side. (Israeli officials have voiced numerous objections of their own to the reported terms, with Israel's Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon quoted as describing the security aspect of the document, for instance, as "not worth the paper it's printed on.")
The Palestinian officials detailed to The Times of Israel what they said were the main clauses of the framework proposal.
Peace talks resumed last July and are due to end in April unless Kerry can persuade the two sides to continue negotiations.
Israeli officials have indicated that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is inclined to accept the framework terms, on the basis that they are non-binding and that he can express objections to them, though this has not been confirmed. Netanyahu is to meet with President Barack Obama in Washington on March 3.
Central clauses of the framework deal as presented by Kerry, and rejected by the PA, the Palestinian officials said, are as follows:
Borders: The peace agreement is to be based on pre-1967 lines, but will take into consideration changes on the ground in the decades since.
Settlements: There will be no massive evacuation of "residents."
Refugees: Palestinian refugees will be able to return to Palestine or remain where they currently live. In addition, it is possible that a limited number of refugees could be allowed into pre-1967 Israel as a humanitarian gesture, and only with Israeli acquiescence. Nowhere is it written that Israel bears responsibility for suffering caused to the refugees.
Capital: The Palestinian capital will be in Jerusalem.
Security: Israel has the right to defend itself, by itself.
The Jordan Valley: The IDF will retain a presence in the Jordan Valley. The length of time the IDF will remain will depend on the abilities of the Palestinian security forces.
Border crossings: Israel will continue to control border crossings into Jordan.
Definition of the countries: Two states will result, "a national state of the Jewish people and a national state of the Palestinian people."

Palestinian reservations

Senior Palestinian sources told The Times of Israel that many of the above clauses are unacceptable to the PA for several reasons.
For a start, the references to the borders and settlements leave too much room for Israeli interpretation. "What does 'There will be no widespread evacuation of residents' mean?" asked one official. "This means that Israel will want to keep a bigger percentage of the West Bank and this point is not acceptable to us. What does 'Taking into consideration changes on the ground since then' mean? I mean, Israel continues to build settlements."
The official continued: "The same with the refugee issue; there is no recognition of Palestinian suffering. We want an expression of regret, an Israeli admission of the suffering caused to us. Where did it disappear to? And the humanitarian gesture [for a limited entry of Palestinian refugees into Israel] that depends on Israel's consent doesn't leave much to the imagination," the official said, indicating that Israel would not likely be generous on this issue.
The official added that a still more problematic issue for the PA is Jerusalem.
"When the Palestinian capital is defined as 'in Jerusalem,' what does it mean? In Shuafat? In Issawiya? We demanded that the Palestinian capital would be al-Quds a-Sharqiya (East Jerusalem). But Netanyahu refused firmly, and the US administration accepted his position.
"What about security and the Jordan Valley? What does it mean that Israel has the right to defend itself, by itself? We will not agree to the entry of Israeli troops into the PA territory. And as for the ongoing presence of the army in the Jordan Valley, it's ridiculous to set the timeline [for the IDF's exit] according to 'the abilities of the PA security forces.' Who will determine that ability? And who will say, 'That's it, the PA is ready to assume responsibility for the Valley'?"
(For its part, Israel would likely have significant objections to the Kerry framework terms if they are drafted as claimed by the Palestinians. Israel has indicated that the relatively minor alterations to the pre-1967 lines envisaged by the PA are inadequate, and that there will have to be larger land swaps to accommodate most of the settlers. Netanyahu further wants any Jews whose settlements are on the Palestinian side of an agreed border to be given the option of staying on under Palestinian rule, an official in his office told The Times of Israel last month - a stance rejected by Abbas. Israel is adamantly opposed to any "return" for any Palestinian refugees to today's Israel. Netanyahu has reportedly insisted that there be no suggestion of legitimate Palestinian claims to Jerusalem in the framework document. And he has insisted that the IDF secure the West Bank-Jordan border even after Palestinian statehood.)
On Tuesday, when Nabil Abu Rudeineh, PA President Mahmoud Abbas's official spokesman, referred to Kerry's framework agreement, he surprised observers by saying that if both sides get to raise objections to its content, as Kerry has said they will be permitted to, it would empty the agreement of all its content.
Rudeineh's statement was hard to fathom, given the significant reservations the Palestinians have with the current version. Almost all senior Palestinian officials with whom The Times of Israel has spoken in recent days made clear that the PA does not have the legitimacy, in the eyes of the public, to accept the Kerry proposals.
"We said 'No' to him in the past, and we will say it again in the future," a senior PA administrator said. According to this official, accepting the current version of the framework accord is unthinkable for the PA. The official did not hide his anger toward the US administration, and of course, toward Israel.
"We have reached many achievements in recent years. We have attained stability and quiet [in the West Bank]," he said this week in Ramallah. "But you [the Israelis] are now allowing the situation deteriorate. Your security echelon understands the problems and the difficulties. But the political leadership does not care at all. Everyone is acting on the basis of his or her own political interests. [Foreign Minister Avigdor] Liberman is winking at the center; Netanyahu is afraid of the right; the Jewish Home party is hardening its position; and [Justice Minister and chief negotiator Tzipi] Livni is too weak. So you ask me if there is a partner for peace? The answer is 'No.'"
Asked how events would play out if the PA rejects the framework proposal when Kerry presents it, the official said, "All options are open to us, whether contacting international institutions [to seek to advance Palestinian statehood unilaterally] or in other ways.
But, he warned, "I have no doubt that the situation on the ground will get worse. For both sides. The stability we have grown used to will start to crack."
There are a number of reasons for this, he went on, and listed a litany of grievances. "One, the steps of the Israeli occupation and the settlers. The arrest, land confiscations, house demolitions, and of course violence against settlers. Two, the high youth unemployment rate. There are no economic opportunities for young Palestinians and one of the central reasons for this is lack of land for development. Area C - 60% of the West Bank - is under full Israeli control, and we are not allowed to build there or invest in various projects. Three, the stopping of international aid programs. I include here UNRWA budget cuts. This leads to a sharp increase in poverty and unemployment, specifically in the poorest places like the refugee camps.
"Four," he continued, "Hamas and the extremist factions don't want the situation to stabilize, and are doing a lot in order to undermine it. I'm talking about dozens of cells that have been detained in the past year by Palestinian security forces, which planned attacks against Israelis and against the PA. They are also initiating demonstrations and popular protests, and are using the settlers' crimes in order to attack the PA. Five, Jerusalem and al-Aqsa. Your actions there, such as the visits of right-wing politicians to the mount, hurt the feelings of every Arab and Palestinian."
The PA is also having trouble digesting the Israeli insistence on the Palestinian recognition of Israel as a Jewish state, he noted.
"We have no intention of dragging this conflict in a religious direction. Every sensible person in the Middle East is trying to keep religion away from the various conflicts, except for you. What's in it for you? The conflict between us is not religious. So why do you need our recognition that your state is Jewish? In your ID cards, your nationality is listed as 'Israeli' and not as 'Jewish.' You never asked such a thing of Egypt or Jordan. What is your concern? We are telling you outright: the peace agreement will bring about the end of the conflict and the end of all claims. So what is all this nonsense you are saying that this proves we won't accept the state of Israel? The whole world recognizes you. These are not the days of the founding, when the world didn't accept you. But you're still stuck in that mindset."
Netanyahu has called Palestinian recognition of Israel as the "Jewish state" his "first and most unshakable demand." "Recognizing Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people means completely abandoning the 'right of return' and ending any other national demands over the land and sovereignty of the State of Israel," he said last October. "This is a crucial component for a genuine reconciliation and stable and durable peace."

'Israel is in touch with Hamas and Dahlan'

The disaffection with Israel, as expressed by the Palestinian Authority leadership, is not confined to the dispute over the framework document and the terms of a final-status agreement. Abbas's associates have a growing sense that the Israeli government is working behind the Palestinian scenes to corner him politically and force him to compromise. They claim to have proof of a direct link between Israel and Hamas in Gaza, as well as with out-of-favor former Abbas confidant Mohammad Dahlan, despite Israeli officials' denials.
According to Abbas's affiliates, secretive talks between Hamas and Israel are being mediated by Qatar, and not Egypt, which views Hamas as a serious threat to regional stability.
"We see what Israel is trying to do here - to undermine our internal affairs and to force Abbas to compromise," said a PA official. "But this leads us to harden our positions rather than show any will to concede. You need to understand, the overthrow Hamas carried out in Gaza will not repeat itself in the West Bank. Instead of strengthening moderates, Israel is trying to weaken us. The entire region currently suffers from a rise of extremism and terror activities. You must cooperate with us in order to achieve peace, not fight with us."
It may be that the warnings about a likely deteriorating security situation, and even the pledge to say no to the Americans, some Palestinians analysts said this week, are empty threats by the PA. These analysts estimate that Abbas would prefer not to get into a direct confrontation with the US administration, and that, therefore, he is more likely to give Kerry a "Yes, but," rather than an outright "No."
Yet the sensitivity of Abbas's political situation, and the deteriorating reality on the ground, cannot be ignored. Criticism of the PA's governance is widely heard in the Palestinian street. More and more allegations of corruption are emerging, after years in which it seemed that the level of such abuse was receding.
Law and order in the West Bank is also said to be weakening. Residents of Ramallah-area refugee camps like Jalazun and Qalandiya, and those near Nablus and Jenin, increasingly speak of armed men moving around at night, worsening violence, and even a rise in drug use. PA policemen are involved in selling weapons in some cases, PA officials have acknowledged.
Some of the reasons for the decline in the PA's functioning are likely related to the departure of prime minister Salam Fayyad, and his replacement by Rami Hamdallah. Hamdallah is more focused on political confrontation with Israel and less on building a state, according to some Palestinian commentators. This is also seen in the significant weakening of the Palestinian court system, they said, and in the dwindling funds in the state treasury.
Of late monthly salaries to PA officials were paid without a reliance on foreign donations, PA Finance Minister Shukri Bishara recently announced. But Palestinian officials predicted that by next month, funds in the PA coffers will have dwindled again to the point where it would once again struggle to pay its employees.
Abbas Will Dismantle Kerry's Palestine Framework

David Singer
Published: Monday, January 20, 2014 7:59 AM
The League of Nations found no identifiable indigenous people already existing in Palestine when, in 1922, it decided to sanction the Jewish National Home in its ancient homeland.
No amount of doublespeak, winks or nudges will enable Kerry to present a framework agreement that has any chance of a diplomatic breakthrough unless the disingenuous Abbas narrative is abandoned.
PLO Chairman Mahmoud Abbas has wasted no time dismantling US Secretary of State John Kerry's proposed framework agreement with an intemperate outburst affirming the PLO will never recognise Israel as the Jewish State.
Abbas stated:
"We won't recognize and accept the Jewishness of Israel. We have many excuses and reasons that prevent us from doing that".
Israel's problem is that the Palestinian Arabs know more than the Israelis about history and geography, he said. "We talk about what we know," he said.
Kerry had alluded to the daunting problems he faced producing his framework agreement as the basis for ongoing negotiations between Israel and the PLO at a joint press conference with chief PLO negotiator Saeb Erekat in Ramallah at the beginning of January.
"There are narrative issues; difficult, complicated years of mistrust that have been built up, all of which has to be worked through and undone, and a pathway has to be laid down in which the parties can have confidence that they know what is happening and that the road ahead is real, not illusory."
The narrative issues raised by Abbas's latest comments underscore the two very different Jewish and Arab perspectives of their 130 years old conflict which appear certain to continue to remain irreconcilable.
These issues goes to the very heart of the conflict - and short of a complete retraction by Abbas - will continue to be the quicksand into which Kerry's framework agreement will collapse into political oblivion.
Abbas has clearly signalled the continuing refusal of the PLO to accept the unanimous decision of the League of Nations on 24 July 1922 legally sanctioning the reconstitution of the Jewish National Home in its ancient and biblical homeland - as promulgated in the Mandate for Palestine.
The site for the Jewish National Home - originally intended to be established within 100% of the Mandate territory - was restricted to being created within just 22% of that area (now Israel and the "West Bank") by virtue of the application of article 25 of the Palestine Mandate on 23 September 1922.
The "two state" solution now being pursued by Kerry had its actual genesis in this decision - when the remaining 78% of Palestine (now Jordan) was set aside for Arab self determination (with the entire 22% to be the Jewish National Home).
The League of Nations found no identifiable indigenous people then already existing in Palestine - referring only to
1.    the " civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine"
2.    "safeguarding the civil and religious rights of all the inhabitants of Palestine, irrespective of race and religion"
3.    "The Administration of Palestine, while ensuring that the rights and position of other sections of the population are not prejudiced, shall facilitate Jewish immigration... and shall encourage ... close settlement by Jews on the land, including State lands and waste lands not required for public purposes."
In 1964 - when the PLO was formed - article 18 of its founding Charter consigned the Mandate and all subsequent decisions of the League of Nations and its successor - the United Nations - to the garbage bin - considering them all to be "fraud".
These long standing, international legally binding commitments were dismissed with even more contempt when the PLO Charter was revised in 1968 - article 20 unequivocally declaring:
"The Balfour Declaration, the Mandate for Palestine, and everything that has been based upon them, are deemed null and void. Claims of historical or religious ties of Jews with Palestine are incompatible with the facts of history and the true conception of what constitutes statehood. Judaism, being a religion, is not an independent nationality. Nor do Jews constitute a single nation with an identity of its own; they are citizens of the states to which they belong."
"Palestine", the name given by the Romans to the area, had also been miraculously transformed by the PLO Charter to become:
1.    "the homeland of the Arab Palestinian people"
2.    "an indivisible part of the Arab homeland
3.    "the Palestinian people are an integral part of the Arab nation"
4.    "an indivisible territorial unit with the boundaries it had during the British Mandate"
This amazing metamorphosis has been the driver seeking to delegitimize and denigrate the Jewish people's legal right to establish a state of their own sitting alongside 57 Arab and Moslem nations in the United Nations on equal terms and with mutual diplomatic recognition.
This narrative has resulted in the majority of those Arab and Moslem States  - and regretfully many other UN  member States - seeking to subvert the legal right of Jews to reconstitute their national home in Judea and Samaria (the "West Bank") as laid down by article 6 of the Mandate and article 80 of the United Nations Charter.
Having become members of the United Nations - thereby having agreed to accept the obligations set out in the UN Charter - including article 80 - these rejectionist States have become involved in a concerted Arab and Moslem campaign to relegate the Jewish State from world atlases back into the Bible  - where its birth and history was first recorded.
No amount of doublespeak, winks or nudges will enable Kerry to present a framework agreement that has any chance of a diplomatic breakthrough unless this disingenuous Abbas narrative is abandoned.
Abbas's knowledge of history and geography is demonstrably false and misleading.
Entrapped by a fictitious narrative that rejects binding international law, history and geography while maintaining an illusory belief they can be re-written - the Arab League and the PLO will surely miss yet another historic opportunity to end their conflict with the Jewish people.
So will Kerry.
Notes from Truth Provider: I wrote this bulletin last night and because of a glitch in my server could not send it until now.
Meanwhile, it was published that Abu Mazen met with a delegation of Israeli students and said to them things they wanted to hear: Among other thing, he does not intend for Jerusalem to be divided. The city, undivided, will serve as the Capital of both states. He does not demand the return of refugees to Israel. He will fight against incitement. He has never been a Holocaust denier, etc. etc.
Do not believe a word of it!!! Half of his forked tongue can speak English to Israeli students, while his other half, the Arabic one, is either silent, or says what the Arabs wish to hear.
This, by the way, is reminiscent of {resident Obama. I wonder if he learned this duplicity from the Arabs...
Hamas and some PA elements have already declared Abbas' promises to the students null and void.
And now for yesterday's bulletin:

Dear friends,
I do not have a crystal ball, but unlike the delusional left, I do possess some grains of reality in the cavity between my ears. No, I am not trying to be funny. I wrote "ears," because by profession I am trained to hear and discern tunes, harmony and tones. The music I hear coming from the "Palestinians" is the fourth movement of a symphony titled THE REFUSAL. The refusal to recognize Israel as the homeland of the Jewish people. Unlike the original one, this UNFINISHED symphony is full of dissonances and cacophony.
One thing I must admit: The "Palestinians" are consistent and have been so for over 100 years. They do not budge one iota. Only the fickle Israelis change their tunes every decade or so.
History entrusted the Israelis and their governments with 2000 years of a Zionist dream. The Land of Israel is the bank in which Zionism has been deposited for perpetuity to strengthen and gather fruits. This deposit belongs to all Israelis and all Jews around the world. Yet there are those among us who are perfectly willing to let go of this sacred deposit and hand it over to the enemies. The enemies that refuse to recognize us and our right to our land. This amounts to allowing robbers free access to the bank.
Luckily, the robbers and their helpers refuse to settle with a part of the loot. They want the whole thing.
It now looks evermore certain that the "Palestinians" will yet again, for at least the 4th time, say NO to the latest negotiations attempt.
The following articles explain why. Also, please log into for an excellent article on the subject by Jonathan S. Tubin.
The map below will help you understand the suicidal nature of any Israeli "Two Stater" even if the "Palestinians" agree to a demilitarized state which of course they will not. Why would they?
Your Truth Provider,

No comments: