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

 

April 7, 2014

Kicking a Dead Middle East Camel

The latest excuse for negotiating towards finding an acceptable peace which the Israelis, Palestinians, Arab World and the world in general can accept and live with reportedly was blown up towards the end of last week. Who is to blame depends on who is doing the telling. There are a plethora of reasons which can be found, sometimes more than one at a single news source. So as not to be outdone, let’s see how many we can list. The Palestinians are pointing their collective finger at the Israelis for not releasing the fourth and final batch of twenty-six terrorists prisoners, most of which were serving life sentences for committing or planning multiple acts of terror against civilian targets resulting in numerous deaths, critical injuries and often maiming victims for life. Israelis have defended their position claiming they had only postponed the release as the Palestinians had made new demands about who was to be included and the Israelis wanted to negotiate at least some Palestinian concession as compensation for the new demands and point out that the terrorist prisoner releases were presumably dependent on progress achieved during the negotiations, something the Israelis claim had become obviously lacking as the Palestinians were threatening to blow-up the negotiations as soon as the final group were released.

 

Of course the Israelis are accusing the Palestinians of causing the negotiations to fail through their constant demands for additional Israeli concessions while refusing to compromise on even a single point, especially their refusal to recognize Israel as the state of the Jewish People, the Israeli basic and minimal demand. Further, the Palestinians instead of negotiating when, as the Israelis claim, Israel withheld the final terror prisoner release insisting that there be some Palestinian concession in return for meeting the new Palestinian demand that particular prisoners be included, they applied for inclusion in fifteen United Nations and international agencies, treaties, conventions and institutions which violates the initial tenets and restrictions which were presented and defined under the Oslo Accords. Once the Oslo Accords requirements have been transgressed and its restrictions become violated, then there is not only no reason for the current negotiations, there can be no further negotiations as such a move removes the only existent framework and basic agreements upon which everything else is predicated.

 

The Arab world has been strangely silent as individual countries over this latest disruption and confrontation between Israel and the Palestinians. The Arab League did respond to the call by Mahmoud Abbas for an emergency meeting where they voted and fully backed the Palestinian positions with special emphasis on the refusal to recognize Israel as the home for the Jewish People and the Palestinian refugee right of return as well as every other demand made of Israel while denying the need to accommodate any Israeli demands.

 

Then there is the ever neutral United States making carefully crafted statements through which they equally spread the blame, distributing it equally by simply claiming that both sides had taken steps which proved unhelpful. Come-on and just tell us how you really feel. Secretary of State Kerry did give an astonishing update which showed his unbelievable grasp of the obvious. Secretary Kerry stated while in North Africa on the Peace Process situation stating, “You can facilitate, you can push, you can nudge, but the parties themselves have to make fundamental decisions to compromise. The leaders have to lead, and they have to be able to see a moment when it’s there.” Secretary Kerry also spoke of conferring with President Obama to assess the situation and possible courses available going forward but expressed great reservations pointing out that, “I will be having conversations with the administration today, including the President, and we’re going to evaluate exactly what is possible and what is not possible. There are limits to the amount of time and effort that the United States can spend if the parties themselves are unwilling to take constructive steps. Both parties say they want to continue, neither party has said they want to call it off; but we’re not going to sit there indefinitely, this is not an open-ended effort.” And Secretary Kerry’s detractors claim the man does not catch on and sometimes appears to be rather slow witted. Of course, if he should continue making efforts anywhere near the constant flights and the large investment of time and people which has been expended over the past year, then maybe those detractors might have a point. One would think that at some point all third parties would throw in the towel and simply walk away claiming that the Israelis and Palestinians are a waste of their efforts and deserve each other.

 

Talking about people who never give up no matter how desperate a situation becomes, the European Union has chosen the current situation in which to interject themselves and attempt to add their assistance to the kicking of the Middle East dead camel known as the Peace Process. European Foreign Ministers speaking for the European Union issued a statement claiming they, “fully supported efforts by US Secretary of State John Kerry to keep Middle East peace talks alive.” This was echoed by European Union Foreign Minister Catherine Ashton who stated, “We support the efforts of Secretary of State Kerry.” German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier chimed in on Saturday stating, “Kerry’s initiative is without doubt in a critical phase.” The massive variety of concept and delivery from this group of virtuoso wordsmiths is astounding. What is even more impressive is that these same people who have exhibited such brilliance will likely continue to finance the Palestinian Authority answering their every plea for additional funds. They will even continue to finance the very Palestinian schools and children’s camps where the incitement to violence and dehumanizing of Israelis, and especially Jews, is tied intricately into these systems and is the initial stage of the lifetime exposure to such propaganda utilized to prepare their population’s life of hatred for everything Israeli. Add the individual European governments financing Palestinian hate-filled all-encompassing incitement and you have the basic fuel that allows Palestinian leadership to threaten Israel with violence and be assured of a near endless number of terrorist volunteers and independent violence perpetrated regularly against Israelis. The recent specialty has been the launching of large rocks, bricks and cinderblocks at motorists driving vehicles with Israeli license plates. Often European anarchists make trips to Israel to enter the Palestinian areas and instigate violence against Israeli farmers and IDF anti-terror checkpoints usually including having video recordings made to be edited later and posted to the Internet and used for anti-Israel and anti-Jewish propaganda. The European Union and many individual European governments have worked with European and international leftist NGOs all working towards the destruction of Israel as a Jewish State.

 

It would be easy to understand the intensive efforts almost exclusive of anything else to force a solution to the Israeli Palestinian ongoing and seemingly eternal Peace Process if there were not so many others equally, if not more pressing, problems throughout the world. Since the start of just the Oslo Accords and the Peace Process that was spawned by them, the world has ignored or paid minimal attention to such atrocities as the Rwandan genocidal war, the Syrian civil war, the ongoing revolutions in Myanmar, the Darfur genocide in the Sudan, the murderous war against the Christians in Nigeria and numerous other atrocities around the globe, but the United Nations, European Union, numerous Human Rights NGOs and countless other agencies and government institutions spend an inordinate amount of time, effort and treasure on the Israeli Palestinian Peace Process. Every American President since the inception of the Oslo Accords has had their efforts dwindle away into just another unsuccessful pressing of the Peace Process which resulted in at best nothing and at worst increased violence such as the Second Intifada which was the result of extreme efforts and unprecedented offers only to see Yasser Arafat stomp out of the negotiations refusing to even answer or offer a counter proposal and return to the West Bank and loose a three year war on Israel utilizing massive suicide homicidal attacks all the time blaming the Israelis for the failed talks and forcing the Palestinians to resort to violence. Much of the world media and many European nations, organizations, along with the United Nations all reinforced the Palestinian claims only to have the truth eventually come out that the Second Intifada had been in planning months before the Peace Talks had even begun and were all set up and awaiting the right trigger, the cause with which to place the blame on Israel and then be launched. As has been said in numerous places, if the world really desires to end the Palestinian Israeli deadlock, then just walk away and pay the entire situation no mind and keep your money at home, your own economies are in more need of those funds and simply set your own houses in order and allow the Palestinian and Israelis the privilege and rights to do the same on their own. Whatever you have tried has failed so let the native peoples tend their own problems and you tend to your problems.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

April 5, 2014

Is There a Future for the Arab Israeli Peace Process?

Should the world, particularly the United States, finally simply wash their hands of any future attempts to force a peace between Israel and the greater Arab world, which has been rebranded to the Palestinian-Israeli peace process in order to frame the Arab side as vulnerable and weak against the Israeli menace instead of the honest assessment that it is tiny little Israel against the wider Arab and Muslim worlds. But perhaps a quick review of the origin of this kicked dead horse called the Oslo Accords is required. The entire suicidal death spiral which owes its origins to the leftist conceived dream called the Oslo Accords that was negotiated in secret and sprung upon Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin as a fair accompli by a cabal headed by Yossi Beilin and Simon Peres may have finally hit rock bottom. The Oslo Accords defeated the progress which had been established which was incorporating the Palestinian Arab population into Israeli society eventually ending the steady rise in economic stability and higher standard of living for the Arab Palestinians in Gaza, Judea, Samaria and East Jerusalem. The Oslo Accords returned arch terrorist Yasser Arafat and his leaders of the PLO to the West Bank from their exile in Tunisia. This almost immediately froze the advance of the Palestinian economic gains and reversed the trend resulting in an economic collapse returning much of the population of Arab Palestinians to the levels they suffered under Jordanian governance. It is highly doubtful that the Oslo Accords could ever have been enacted if the negotiations had been conducted out in full view and under the light of reasoned inspection. Instead of open honesty and working to incorporate the Palestinian Arab population into Israeli society and raising their standard of living, the secrecy that produced the Oslo Accords drove the Palestinian Arab areas into the arms of Yasser Arafat and the PLO which led to the destruction of the Palestinian economy and the theft of billions of dollars of aid which had been given to aid the Palestinian people but instead ended up in Yasser Arafat and his cronies’ Swiss bank accounts.

 

The news has given some cursory coverage to the latest fiasco disguised as peace talks falling upon the hard and sharp rocks of reality and lying smashed at the bottom of a dark chasm quoting numerous American administration officials giving equivocating reasons as to where lies the blame, needlessly to point out, placing it equally on both parties as impartiality is far more urgently important than honest evaluations. This particular rendition of the painfully never ending rounds of mislabeled peace talks had as their original foundation, as every other beginning session has contained, an Israeli set of concessions as a bribe to give Palestinian leadership cover for negotiating with the Israelis. The first rule of the Palestinian-Israeli peace process is every installation of process must have at its origin Israeli concessions and the Palestinians must never be requested to make any form of reciprocal offers. This time the bribe was in the form of Terrorist Prisoner releases, one-hundred-four of them in four groups of twenty-six. The initial understanding was that Israel would release the first group as the negotiations began and the following releases would be conditioned on the progress made within the negotiations. Despite the near complete lack of measurable progress, the Israelis kept their end of the arrangement in hopes that maybe there could be a breakthrough bartered or forced by the United States. When a little more than six weeks before the end of the initial nine-month end of negotiations, there began pronouncements by different Palestinian spokespersons calling for them to quit the peace negotiation as they saw no future in the talks as they were determined not to compromise on even a single one of their demands. Abbas repeatedly refused to walk out of the talks promising he would remain talking just to get the last twenty-six terrorist prisoners released. This spawned growing animosity on the Israeli side towards going forward with the final release of terrorists. When it became apparent that the ruling coalition could break down over releasing the last group, Prime Minister Netanyahu informed Secretary of State Kerry that he would require some sign of progress towards a real and lasting peace in order to release the final group of terrorists otherwise releasing them would force new elections in Israel thus placing the entirety of the talks in jeopardy. When Israel held back on the final release of terrorists demanding some sign of progress towards reaching a peace agreement, the Palestinians blew-up the peace talks walking away and applying to fifteen United Nations and international groups, conventions and agencies. This move not only violated the conditions around this set of peace talks, this directly negated the entirety of the Oslo Accords.

 

When Secretary of State Kerry then attempted to have the Palestinians recall their applications in order to reinstate the talks, Palestinian Chairman Abbas refused regardless of any offer. Probably in response to Secretary Kerry’s interest in reestablishing the peace talks, Chief PA negotiator Saeb Erekat cited the seven conditions to be relayed to Israel on Wednesday night. The seven demands were:

1. A written letter from Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in which he gives a commitment that the Palestinian state will be established and that its capital will be East Jerusalem.

2. The release of 1,200 terrorists, which the PA says was agreed upon when Ehud Olmert was prime minister. These include multiple-murderer Marwan Barghouti, PFLP leader Ahmed Saadat, and Fuad al-Shubaki, who was responsible for the attempt to smuggle a huge amount of arms into Gaza on board the Karine A.

3. Implementation of the agreement on checkpoints and removal of the siege on Gaza.

4. The return of the Church of Nativity expellees. (The IDF besieged the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem April 2 to May 10, 2002, as part of Operation Defensive Shield, after 39 terrorists had holed up there. The terrorists took shelter in the famous church, and used about 40 priests and nuns as a shield, knowing Israel would not take a chance on inadvertently hurting priests and nuns. The siege was ended through an agreement that involved exiling the terrorists to other countries.)

5. The granting of full Israeli citizenship to 15,000 Palestinian Arabs in a process of family reunification.

6. A halt to construction in eastern Jerusalem and the reopening of PA institutions there which have been closed down by Israel.

7. No more entry by IDF forces into areas under PA control, no more arrests and eliminations, and the handing over of Area C to PA control.

 

On Thursday, Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, who has been the Israeli negotiator in the peace talks with Palestinian Authority, announced that the fourth and final batch of terrorist releases has been officially cancelled due to the Palestinian Authority’s unilateral move. Following on Friday, Deputy Education Minister Avi Wortzman (Jewish Home) sharply criticized the Palestinian Authority stating, “They demanded independence, and we gave it to them. They demanded recognition of a Palestinian State, and we gave it to them. They demanded weapons and we gave them to them. They demanded Hevron, and we gave it to them. They demanded Gaza, and we gave it to them. They demanded terrorist releases, and we gave it to them, again and again. In response: we received attacks, we received wounded and dead, we received damage to our economy. Now they’re coming back and demanding we withdraw to ’67 borders, with eastern Jerusalem as their capital. If we do it, G-d forbid, what will they ask for tomorrow? It’s time to demand that we stop giving. It’s time to put our existential needs and our security before their demands. The time has come to say it clearly: this is our country. Ours; period.” Stated simply, Wortzman rejected the Palestinian’s demands.

 

Kerry declared he would be speaking with President Barack Obama about the future of the talks stating, “I will be having conversations with the administration today, including the president, and we’re going to evaluate exactly what is possible and what is not possible. There are limits to the amount of time and effort that the United States can spend if the parties themselves are unwilling to take constructive steps. Both parties say they want to continue, neither party has said they want to call it off; but we’re not going to sit there indefinitely, this is not an open-ended effort.” Kerry said in Algiers at the start of a trip to North Africa on Thursday, “You can facilitate, you can push, you can nudge, but the parties themselves have to make fundamental decisions to compromise. The leaders have to lead, and they have to be able to see a moment when it’s there.”

 

From the Palestinians came this report from an official adding that Kerry had stated that Israel was planning a harsh response against the PA over the move. He further claimed Abbas said in response that “our requests are not excessive. Israel’s threats do not scare anyone, and they can do what they want.” Additionally, former Palestinian Foreign Minister Nabil Shaath explained adding, “I believe that Kerry will be back because he has not yet abandoned the process. We will continue negotiations as agreed and I hope the patience of Americans will end towards the Israelis, not towards the Palestinians.” This statement gives the basic reason behind why these negotiations never make progress towards reaching peace, the Palestinians senseless demands that Israel acquiesce to their every demand while they never be expected to even address anything Israel posits they require. The Palestinians have a series of demands which if all of them are met there would be no Israel as a home for the Jewish People and if they ever do accept anything less; they will require that such an agreement leaves Israel almost completely unable to defend themselves from a future Arab attack.

 

The Israelis, with a few notable and expected exceptions such as Yair Lapid, Isaac Herzog, and Zehava Gal-On, appear to have finally reached the end of their collective ropes and may finally decide that annexation and incorporating the Palestinian Arabs who are willing to agree to accept Israeli rule into a pathway to full citizenship while offering those who refuse such the opportunity to accept a one-time payment of compensation to leave Israel and take up residence in another country. Such a move would also result in the end of any possibility for a right of return for the over five-million so-called refugees residing in other Arab nations. Perhaps, with even a minimal effort from the majority of Palestinians, the newly united Israel can return to the path on which the two societies were moving together before Oslo to the mutual benefit of all as fellow countrymen. It will require a complete overhaul of the Palestinian education system from one teaching separation and hatreds to one teaching unity and cooperation. This is the sole future that offers hope for both people and has a proven record in the industries and the Ariel University in areas of the so-called disputed lands where Palestinians and Israelis, Jews, Muslims and Christians work and study together with full acceptance and cooperation. It is exactly these ventures and examples which the BDS and other haters of Israel refuse to recognize and attempt to keep hidden from the rest of the world. It is also these ventures which have recently been turning the heads and opinions of numerous European politicians and leaders who have been shown the progress made in these efforts. May such efforts expand and a general acceptance and mutual assistance move the real possibilities for peace move forward.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

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