Beyond the Cusp

April 17, 2014

An Alternate Path to Palestinian Arab Israeli Peace

By now one would think that the world would have realized that the traditional method of forcing negotiations between the Palestinian Authority and Israel were a dead-end making peace unattainable and another route would have been sought. Despite all the claims and blaming of Israel for the failure of these efforts, the truth indicates that it is largely due to Palestinian intransigence and refusals to compromise on even a single item that has doomed all previous efforts. The old tried and failed method of applying pressure on Israel to make ever more grand compromises and concessions only to have the Palestinians to wave all offers aside and claim that there are just a few more concessions they require from Israel before they can make peace will have the same result as have all past attempts of this method. The Palestinians rarely itemize and list their additional demands and they change them making for the appearance of change which is inevitably perceived to imply advancing towards a real and final agreement. Nothing could be further from the truth. Just because the Palestinians choose some different main point to base their rejection upon at each turn does not mean that they have had previous demands satisfied nor does it mean they have moved any closer to reaching a point of agreement. All it is a measurement of is Palestinian refusal to negotiate in good faith and instead to be implementing the standard Arab response to making peace with Israel formed at the Khartoum Conference and known as the “three no’s” which are; no peace with Israel, no recognition of Israel, no negotiations with Israel. The Palestinians have amended the third point to no successful negotiations with Israel which they view as in keeping with the spirit and underlying themes of the Khartoum Conference.

 

So, what might produce a way around this impasse? Since it should have become evident that there does not exist any combination of concessions or offers that the Israelis could ever propose that would be acceptable to the Palestinians, why not try to approach the whole peace process from the other side, request that the Palestinians provide terms that they would accept and would be willing to offer Israel and work from that end. Of course this approach would require something that had only been in evidence by its absence up to now, honesty and a rational means of judging and endorsing any offers, expectations and efforts concerning all parties involved. It is not helpful in reaching a peace agreement to always blame Israel for every impasse or collapse of the talks and if any blame is aimed at the Palestinians side, always equivocating and adding reasons that Israeli actions were most likely the real cause simply allows the Palestinian intransigence to become set in stone and unmovable. The honesty would be applied upon receiving the conditions and concessions proposed by the Palestinians of the Israelis, and then having the mediating nation’s representatives review and consider whether or not such terms would be even remotely acceptable if demanded of their country in similar negotiations. This could easily be accomplished by simply asking themselves one question and, the difficult part by all appearances, answer if they would even deem to consider, let alone actually accept, the proposed offer if an adversary were to offer them in a theoretical peace negotiation with their country.

 

Follows is a partial list of some of the poison pills which the Palestinians might include in their peace proposals, assuming they would even deign to offer anything and not simply demand that Israel be tasked with making the offers as it is far easier to just say no than it is to draw up an agreement at the risk that the other side might accept them and then be stuck with a resolution by their own hand. The most obvious is one they use repeatedly to end negotiations in the past is the “right of return” for over five-million Arab refugees and their descendants some of which three generations removed from the original refugee. One might recognize the term right of return as the exact phrase and system by which Israel by which Jews to return to their native lands of Israel in what is referred to as making Aliyah. This is one of many terms and historical facts about the Jewish heritage and claims to these lands which the Palestinians have woven their own version out of whole cloth and which much of the world accepts blindly knowing full well they are fabrications and a totally false narrative. Another demand which would be difficult to accept would be the redividing of Jerusalem and retuning all of the Old City including all of the Jewish Holy Sites to Palestinian control which would mean that the Temple Mount and the Western Wall would once again be denied visitation for Jews just as was the case when these areas were under Jordanian control. The Jordanians also guaranteed universal religious rights to visit the Holy Sites for Jews and Christians causing the long years of thirst and hunger for visitation rights where people of both faiths suffered with only a few sparse and individual moments where visitation by non-Muslims was ever permitted by Jordan. The Palestinian promises would be equally empty of any true intent to allow non-Muslims rights to visit their holy areas within the lands they control. The surrender of half of Jerusalem with the high probability of losing the capability for visitation to the Temple Mount and other Holy Sites having actually been offered by the Israelis under the deal proffered by Prime Minister Olmert should be a solid indication that Israel is willing to make very serious and even damaging concessions in order to attain a lasting and real peace.

 

The same was evidenced by the releasing of over seventy-five terrorist murderers and terror planning masters as demanded by the Palestinians during these past negotiations and the sole reason Israel withheld the final release was due to additional demands made by the Palestinians concurrent with threats to blow-up the talks as soon as the final group was released. Almost all of the terrorists released by Israel were serving life sentences or multiple life sentences for their horrific and horrendous acts of murderous terrorism against innocent civilians including women, children, seniors and even in some cases infants. Another demand recently added by the Palestinians about a year ago, which has not received general circulation or even notice, was the rights to hold military exercises with any nation or nations and the hosting of such exercises without any limit on the forces participating as well as unlimited rights to raise and arm a military force to any potential deemed necessary. This demand was expressed as a reaction to the Israeli request that any Palestinian state be demilitarized with their security from any outside attack provided by the Israelis upon any request from the Palestinians. The Palestinians claimed that the sole reason they would require a military and such protection would be from belligerence coming from Israel. Another item which Israel has demanded and been informed by the Palestinians and is completely out of the question is that any agreement be the final and complete end of any disagreements and be considered to end all demands from wither party on the other. The Palestinians demand that they be permitted further grievances and the continued right to continue their resistance to the occupation of the remainder of Palestine. They claim it is their right to continue terror attacks for as long as the state of Israel exists and that they will only end their resistance when all of Palestine from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea has been liberated and cleansed of its Jews. This is not a complete list of the grievances perceived and claimed by the Palestinians but should get the point across that the main argument and complaint the Palestinian demand must be addressed is the fact that Israel exists. Placing the onerous responsibility of producing a final and lasting peace agreement on the Palestinians would reveal their complete intransigence, belief in blood libels, and their litany of unappeasable demands which can only be satisfied with the complete eradication of the Jewish State and the casting of Israeli Jews to the corners of the world back into the Diaspora, just as was inflicted by the Romans almost two-thousand years ago and with the identical intent as today’s Palestinians, the annihilation of Judaism as a faith, peoples, and nation from the face of the earth. When this tack also fails and proves absolutely that the Palestinians do not desire peace but the destruction of Israel, then the world must be prepared to accept the One State Solution with the leadership of the Palestinians made to return to their exile as they returned under false pretenses and thus should not be permitted to remain to continue to sew unrest and hatreds.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

April 11, 2014

Netanyahu Back in Familiar Position with Coalition in the Crosshairs

As the great sage of baseball said, “It’s deja-vu all over again.” Last time that Bibi Netanyahu was Prime Minister and had a believed-to-be strong coalition, the Clinton administration forced concessions and heaped blame on the Prime Minister leaking damning reports to the press in both the United States and Israel until the coalition broke and new elections were forced. Then the Clinton political machinery sent many of its top election specialists including his pollster, Stanley Greenberg, his campaign guru, James Carville, and his image-maker, Robert Shrum. This was preceded by Secretary of State Albright blaming him for the lost chance for peace with the Palestinians. Just as was noted here, we are witnessing a repeat of that strategy and the aim was to force Prime Minister Netanyahu into a position of making excessive and unreasonable concessions to the Palestinians in the hope that they would be sufficient to force a signing of some form of treaty. The importance of this to the Democrats coming into the mid-term elections, where the polls show them losing and losing big, is immeasurable. An Israeli-Palestinian peace treaty signed on the White House lawn would be just the foreign policy victory the Obama administration could use to ride the Democrats through the November elections with even a glimmer of hope on retaining their numbers. They likely see forcing Israeli complete and total capitulation as their sole route to salvation. This is what was behind Secretary of State Kerry’s blaming of Israel for the failure and breakdown of the peace talks before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee where he stated, “Israel didn’t release the Palestinian prisoners on the day they were supposed to be freed, and another day passed, and another day, and then another 700 settlement units were announced in Jerusalem, and ‘poof’…that was sort of the moment.”

 

When Prime Minister Netanyahu informed Secretary Kerry that to go forward with the newly demanded release of terror prisoners demanded by the Palestinians and backed by Indyk would likely bring down the governing coalition, that was the moment that Kerry and the Obama administration knew they were close to getting the new Israeli elections they need to elect an Israeli government more to their liking. This was likely part of the move to place a new face at the head of the Labor Party to play the role of American gadfly making charged statements against Netanyahu and giving press releases which could be used to undermine support for Netanyahu on the way to Israeli elections. Once the wedge has succeeded in breaking apart the current governing coalition in Israel we can expect to see the two more liberal and secular parties being wooed by Labor with some behind the scenes pressures from the United States with Labor Party Head Isaac Herzog in the role filled by Ehud Barak in 1999.

 

This is the impetus surrounding the latest mix of pressures and offers to continue the peace talks and the offer to release Jonathan Pollard to Israel in exchange for Israel releasing possibly four-hundred additional terrorist prisoners and freezing all construction in Judea, Samaria and East Jerusalem. Meanwhile, Abbas is attempting to force even greater concessions demanding that any extension of talks would require an acceptance of Jerusalem as the capital of a future Palestinian state along with calling for the satisfying the rest of the previous conditions leveled by Palestinian Authority officials. Of course all of these demands cannot be met and the likelihood is that Secretary Kerry or Martin Indyk will give assurances to Abbas that the United States will work, and possibly even guarantee, that Israel will meet all their demands. This would not be any stretch as they reportedly have already said as much in a letter the Palestinians claim was provided stating such guarantees before they entered these last negotiations.

 

This game has been played ever since the onset of the Oslo Accords with the United States pressing Israel into further and further concessions and the Palestinians steadfast in their refusal to accept anything short of the destruction of the state of Israel. Using the endless pressures placed on the Israelis by their presumed friends, the Americans, the Palestinians have pushed the Israeli position back to where they will soon be left with but one unmet demand, the acceptance of the complete right of return. We can expect that the near future the United States peace team will pressure and threaten the Israelis to accept at least a partial influx of Palestinian refugees as a compromise on the right of return. Once Israel accepts even one single refugee returning, the battle will have been lost and the wall of resistance broken. After that the only item left to debate then is the exact number that Israel must accept to prove they are not hateful and refusing to negotiate in good faith. Trust that the target number of the Palestinian leadership, and thus the United States position though such will never be admitted, will be somewhere close to five-million returning refugees. Do not get this wrong, the entirety of the Oslo process has been the complete destruction of the Jewish State of Israel and the forcing of the Israeli Jews back into the statelessness of living in the Diaspora once again. This was the original intent of the British when they first chopped off seventy-eight-percent of the Mandate lands to form the Arab state of Transjordan (Jordan) and then allying with the United Nations in 1947 to attempt to cut the remaining land between the Jews and Arabs despite and contrary to their promises in the Churchill White Papers which guaranteed the British would never further allow for the division of the lands west of the Jordan River. The saving grace for the Israelis has been the Palestinian leadership’s refusal to accept anything short of the complete destruction of the Jewish State as a direct result of any negotiations, something that would be impossible to force any Israeli government to accept.

 

Thus any presumed gains reaped through negotiations could potentially be lost should Israel ever decide to annul the Oslo Accords over the refusal of the Arab Palestinian’s refusal to fulfill their obligations. This has become an even more probable option as the Palestinians making unilateral moves to gain international recognition and to declare their state independent of negotiations with the Israelis is in direct negation of the terms of the Oslo Accords. With the Palestinian refusal to accept anything short of a complete capitulation and thus the defeat through negotiations of the Jewish State of Israel, the only result is the inevitable ending of the charade of the Oslo Accords and Israeli annexation of at the very least the major Jewish settlements including East Jerusalem. This would entail granting, or at least making the offer, to as many as fifty-thousand Arab Palestinians Israeli citizenships or, minimally, resident visas permitting them to remain in their homes and farms within Israel. Such a resolution would likely be denounced and rejected by much of the rest of the world, much as the annexation of East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights has been left unrecognized. This should be of little consequence as actions of much of the world tends to display that the existence of Israel has yet to be fully accepted by much of the world, so why would anything else be any different. The only difficulty is that despite the lack of acceptance by much of the world, the Jews and Israel is and will remain to exist and will persevere against any odds. In the meantime, it remains to be seen whether or not the pressures applied and news stories leaked will once again prove sufficient to destroy a governing coalition in Israel and whether a leftist and more pliable coalition can be forthcoming with the able assistance of the current American administration should elections become necessary. This is what was accomplished in 1999 which still did not produce the complete and total surrender by the Israelis then and will not do so now.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

April 10, 2014

Israel Fault and Lack of Flexibility End Negotiations

The evidence keeps rolling in with one presumably credible source after another pointing the finger of blame on Israel over the latest failed peace initiatives. United States Secretary of State Kerry was probably one of the closest people to this last round of talks which he negotiated into place with promises from both the Israelis and the Palestinians that the negotiations would proceed for nine months and would likely end with a resultant peace by or before April 29, 2014. The initial agreement appeared to be one-sided though there were demands made of both sides. From Israel, Secretary Kerry gained the concession demanded by the Palestinians as their demand required for them to even consider entering negotiations with the Israelis. This concession consisted of the Israelis eventually releasing one-hundred-four terrorist prisoners who had been incarcerated since before the September 1993 signing of the Oslo Accords. These prisoners had been convicted of carrying out or planning terror attacks responsible for multiple fatalities and near countless injuries of which many caused permanent physical impairment as well as a wider amount of mental difficulties. Many of the terrorists to be released were serving at least one life sentence and a fair number more than one such sentence. These terrorists were to be released in four groups of twenty-six and each subsequent release was predicated on advancements achieved through the negotiations.

 

On the Palestinian side, Secretary Kerry managed to arrange for them to agree to meet the Israelis providing the terrorist prisoner releases could be arranged. It was at the outset of the negotiations that Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu made the demand that the Palestinians recognize Israel as the home of and for the Jewish People. From the start Palestinian Chairman Abbas refused to grant this demand exclaiming repeatedly that neither he, nor the Palestinian leadership nor the Arab World would ever recognize Israel as the state for the Jewish People. Chairman Abbas went further stating that it was impossible for a nation to be based upon a religious idea thusly the Jewish People could not be the basis for a nation anywhere on Earth. Despite his stating such, Abbas also held to the idea that any lands which would result in being under Palestinian control as a result of the negotiations would necessarily be cleansed of any Jewish population residing there. Another demand made by Chairman Abbas was that Israel would necessarily be forced to accept resettlement of as many as six-million Palestinian refugees and their descendants, in some cases four generations of family would have gained that right under the rules which are applied by UNRWA and are reserved only for the definition of refugee status for the Palestinians. Also from the outset of the negotiations, despite the Palestinians choosing to demand the terrorist prisoner releases and forgo a building freeze, Abbas and the other Palestinian leadership constantly demanded that Secretary Kerry pressure and force the Israelis into also enacting a building freeze. This request was even spoken of disapprovingly by Secretary Kerry though he eventually sided with the Palestinians on this issue making it an additional demand on the Israelis if the negotiations were to continue beyond the initial nine months. Secretary Kerry also sided with the Palestinians when he posited that it was unnecessary and foolish that the Israelis were demanding that the Palestinians recognize Israel as the home of the Jewish People. His reasoning was that it should be sufficient that the United States recognized Israel as being the state for the Jewish People and after all the Palestinians and even Arafat had recognized this fact though no actual quote was ever produced, let alone confirmed.

 

Despite there being imposed at the insistence of Secretary Kerry a gag order making the progress and machinations of the peace negotiations secret and not released to the press or public, there were almost constant little bits of information leaked by the Palestinian side. Often accompanying these leaked pieces of information were demands of the Israelis which either had not been discussed due to their improbability of being agreed upon or had been refused by the Israelis and the Palestinians believed they would gain the Israeli surrender by appealing to the world in general. When these tactics appeared to have been generally failing and with about ten weeks left before the April 29 deadline for the talks to have reached at the very least a framework agreement, the Palestinian negotiators staged a walkout of the talks declaring they were done with the intransigence of the Israelis. This denunciation was despite the fact that the Palestinian side has also refused to compromise on even a single item during the talks. After a big fuss was made publically, the Palestinians returned to the negotiations even more stridently defending against any need for them to offer any compromise on any subject. Meanwhile there were constant comments to the press and in general decrying the unfairness of the talks and how Secretary Kerry and his main staff were being used by Jewish forces within the United States government. Abbas was constantly noting that he and the Palestinian negotiators were remaining at the negotiating table solely to gain the release of the final twenty-six terrorist prisoners and were planning on “blowing-up” the negotiations immediately after receiving these final prisoner releases.

 

Also a little earlier than the start of the Palestinian threats to depart the talks Secretary Kerry lowered his expectations from reaching an actual peace agreement to establishing a framework and then extending the negotiations and using the framework as the guide in these additional negotiations. It was towards this end that the American team began negotiating with the Israelis in order to find some manner or path that would permit Israel to release hundreds, if not thousands, of additional terrorist prisoners including Marwan Barghouti, one of the worst of the worst terror planners who was responsible for some of the most horrific terror attacks in Israeli history. It was for these crimes that Mr. Barghouti was serving five life sentences. In addition to gaining the release of the additional terror prisoners the Palestinians were also demanding a complete and comprehensive Israeli building freeze by Israel. All the time that these demands were being issued, the Palestinians continued to threaten to walk away from the table and then recant and restate their remaining solely to attain the last twenty-six terrorists release before bolting. With there having been a complete lack of advancement resulting from the negotiations and the Palestinians continuously taking stands in complete opposition to every demand made by the Israelis while claiming that Israel was causing the talks to fail by making unreasonable demands and refusing to meet any of their obligations as were presented during the talks by the Palestinians. After weeks of threats and bluster from the Palestinians the final release date approached and the Palestinians added to their demand four additional prisoners released as well as the inclusion of Israeli Arabs who were incarcerated for terrorist crimes that caused an Israeli response to delay the final release and demand some return concession from the Palestinians due to the change in the Palestinian demands on the final releasing of terror prisoners. The Palestinians refused but the Israelis remained firm in their demand that the final release be totally renegotiated in order to accommodate the additional demands placed on this final Israeli concession warranting such a reexamination of the terms. This is what led the Palestinians to apply to fifteen United Nations and international treaties, conferences and agencies by the Palestinians as their first step to legitimacy through alternate means and without having to negotiate a settlement with the Israelis.

 

When Secretary of State Kerry appeared before the United States Senate committee he aimed the lion’s share of the blame for the talks failing on the Israelis though mentioning almost in passing that some of the actions by the Palestinians being unhelpful. But it was definitely the Israeli withholding the final release and their refusal to enact a building freeze as well as granting the terrorist prisoner releases and even announcing the request for tenders to build several hundred apartments within southern Jerusalem, building which the Palestinians had been informed were to be built before the negotiations commenced when they chose the terrorist releases over a building freeze. Of course the Palestinians felt that they should have been gifted a building freeze and did not understand why they should have to choose only one concession when there were so many concessions they desired to force from Israel. Obviously it was the fault of the Israelis by their demand that the Palestinians make at the least some compromise in return for the numerous compromises, concessions and allowances made by Israel, and not only during this session of talks but overall the negotiations for the past twenty-plus years. The Europeans also offered to assist getting the talks back on track and were implying that it was Israel’s responsibility to make concessions and agree to demands of the Palestinians in order to allow for their return to negotiations without losing face or standing. Of course the Arab League has completely backed the Palestinians and condemned Israel. What can be expected going forward will be the agencies, treaties and commissions which the Palestinians have applied will all agree to receive them and grant them full recognition of statehood. After they have pocketed these recognitions we can expect them to apply to another hundred or so followed by demanding recognition from the United Nations General Assembly and possibly seek membership by applying to the Security Council, especially if they can assure themselves that the United States will restrain from using their veto power. Whatever Israel does from now going forward is of little consequence as the initial stone had been skipped across the still waters and the ripples will only sell and become tsunamis with possibly horrendous consequences. Eventually the world will need to decide exactly how far they are willing to take Palestinian statehood. Will they be willing to intervene with troops and starting a war against Israel in order to retain the narrow strip of land coating the shores of the eastern Mediterranean? It is something we all should fear as such a war would not end well for anyone, least of all Israel.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

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