If early reports are to be believed, United States Secretary of State John Kerry’s meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas was agreeable and revolved around restarting the peace process and what needs to happen in order to persuade Abbas to return to the negotiations. Secretary Kerry has insisted that Abbas give up his preconditions of an Israeli building freeze, right of return for millions of refugees, and a return to the pre-June 1967 borders. One would think that having Mahmoud Abbas back away from his insistence upon such preconditions would remove those as obstacles and that is true for as far as it goes. The problem arises when one pays attention to the details of the results of the meetings. The small bits which have been mentioned point to some agreements between Kerry and Abbas on certain items which would be desirable to accomplish before the start of actual negotiations, though these items are not being labeled as preconditions, just things that should be accomplished before negotiations start.
The first of these items which have been hinted are for Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu present Secretary Kerry with a map showing what will be the borders for the Palestinian State and to reach an agreement on what should be the desired goal, but of course this will not have any relevance or appearance to the pre-June 1967 borders. Kerry and Abbas are also apparently in agreement that Israel be required to release a number of terrorists from Israeli prisons before the resumption of negotiations. President Abbas was quoted stating that prisoner releases were a “top priority” upon which everything else was dependent. Thus far no number has been discussed but one can figure that Secretary Kerry will most likely push Netanyahu as hard as he is able to meet the fullest numbers of Mahmoud Abbas’s desired numbers. Also mentioned was that the Palestinians could not abide by any Jewish construction in Judea, Samaria and eastern Jerusalem, particularly Israeli planed project in E1 area between Jerusalem and Maale Adumim as this would isolate Jerusalem.
These discussions were not the most troubling though they do provide a view of a coming problematic series of negotiations with Secretary Kerry even before negotiations with Abbas can even begin. This was further amplified when one learns of some of the offers which Secretary Kerry was reported to have plied Mahmoud Abbas to return to negotiations. These were offers initiated by Secretary Kerry and were not in response to anything asked, demanded or even stated as a wish by Abbas. These are just more items being suggested by members of the Obama Administration who appear to enjoy seeing if they can invent demands on Israel which are even more outlandish and extreme than the ones emanating from the Palestinians themselves. These new ideas proposed by Secretary Kerry to be conditional for the restart of negotiations were for Israel to surrender much or all of Area B to Palestinian control and be included in Area A which is under complete Palestinian control and forbidden to IDF troops, Israeli civilians or any manner of Israeli control. Kerry also promised to have all of the tax funds Israel is holding be turned over to the Palestinians immediately and that Secretary Kerry and the Obama Administration would assure that these funds never be withheld or delayed again in the future. Even more troubling is the indications that Secretary Kerry is proposing that the Palestinians be granted jurisdiction over lands currently within Area C which is currently under complete Israeli control and beyond Palestinian reach. Area C were the lands which were originally considered to be the areas which Israel would retain and would never be granted to the Palestinians when the Oslo Accords were first negotiated and implemented. This plan also would allow for the Palestinians to be allowed to build with relative ease and mostly unabated wherever they had a need within Area C. So, Kerry is by implication of these moves to grant the Palestinians with total right to build anywhere within Judea and Samaria and East Jerusalem while curtailing any Israeli control or rights to these lands.
Kerry apparently wishes to provide the Palestinians with control and freedoms throughout the contested areas while forcing Israel from any influence or rights in these areas. This would inevitably lead to the slaughter of the Israeli living in Judea and Samaria and would inevitably lead to the surrender of all the contested areas to Palestinian rule without any need for further negotiations. Abbas would simply have to sit across from Netanyahu and repeatedly claim to have to consult after every point is brought up for discussion, leave for consultation for a couple of weeks, return and decline to accept any offer and simply build the Jews back beyond the Green Line. The question then would be how much further Secretary Kerry with the full backing of the Obama Administration would try to force Israel to surrender? Would Abbas once again be boasting on how he would build the Palestinian capital in all of Jerusalem as he had when former Prime Minister Olmert was making ever more generous offers of land for empty promises? The promises and gifts which Secretary Kerry is proposing to Abbas are beyond anything which Israel can allow if there are to be real and productive negotiations. Kerry cannot be allowed to give away the store as if Israel was having a going out of business sale.
Prime Minister Netanyahu must do more than simply tell Secretary Kerry that he has no deal and that if Secretary Kerry honestly believes that negotiations are simply supposed to be Israel granting the Palestinians anything and everything their dark little hearts’ desire, perhaps he should check with President Obama whose recent message to President Abbas was to drop the preconditions while also pointing out the settlements were not an obstruction to peace. The Prime Minister had also better make sure that MK Tzipi Livni understands the limits and what areas are off limits and beyond her power to surrender in negotiations. There have also been rumor that MK Livni has concluded that the Israeli insistence to be recognized as the Jewish State is an unnecessary demand and thus one she is willing to surrender away. It has been reported that a Western source well-versed in the diplomatic contacts saying Livni “has become convinced that Israel’s insistence on this condition could prevent the resumption of negotiations, and did not rule out the position presented to her, according to which the most Israel can receive from Abu Mazen is a recognition of the solution of two states for two peoples.” Without this point being recognized there can be no insistence that terrorism and violence to liberate the rest of Palestine cannot be made honestly as releasing the Palestinian leadership from making this recognition is the sole route to defining the lands contained within the final agreed borders are truly Israeli lands and not just more Palestinian lands to be liberated. Without the recognition of Israel as the Jewish state there is no two nations side-by-side; there is only current Palestine and to be liberated Palestine side-by-side as far as Fatah, Hamas, and the Arab world are concerned. That is the reason Israel must insist on recognition as the Jewish state if the violence is to be ended. And that is also the reason that Secretary Kerry needs to be sent packing well chastised with his tail between his legs never to return as long as he holds the concept that peace means Israeli complete and total surrender and subservience to the Palestinians and the Arabs. Never Again means Not Now, Not Ever will Israel surrender and allow the Jews to be made homeless again.
Beyond the Cusp