Currently United States Secretary of State Kerry is pressuring mostly the Israelis, particularly Prime Minister Netanyahu, into accepting and signing onto a framework agreement that would be the basic scaffold around which a final peace agreement would be crafted. All of this is theory until and unless Secretary procures signatures from both sides, but that is not how Secretary Kerry is acting in pursuit of a signed agreement; he appears to only be pressing to have an Israeli signatory without any apparent requirement for a Palestinian signatory as well. This would be a very confusing situation in normal circumstances but these negotiations are anything but a normal set of circumstances. This becomes glaringly evident simply by observing the efforts and location of the extensive support staff which Secretary Kerry has deployed to assist in his forcing some agreement, any agreement with at least, or possibly at most, one side signing onto the scheme President Obama’s administration is pushing. All of their offices and conference rooms are located in Jerusalem. All of the meetings and briefings are scheduled to Israeli audiences including Knesset Ministers, Senior IDF officers, Prime Minister Netanyahu’s staff and Cabinet Ministers and Prime Minister Netanyahu and the other coalition and opposition party leaders. This is not an attempt to leave out the contacts with the Palestinians. Secretary Kerry has had a number of brief and cordial meetings with Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas after Abbas initially rejected Kerry’s proffered plan in its entirety on their first meeting. Secretary Kerry has acted duly chastised as he has not appeared to place any further pressures on Abbas or the Palestinians as if their signatures are not actually required. In any normal situation such activities would be suspect but somehow when it comes to politics and Israel even the best possible situations the absurd is expected as it has become the new normal here.
So, considering the full court press by Secretary of State Kerry and staff, what should Prime Minister Netanyahu do in order to assure that he is not pressured into placing Israel in a vulnerable position? Obviously, there is some plan whereby procuring only an Israeli signature on the framework agreement will suffice for the application of the Obama Administration’s future plans concerning the Israel-Palestinian peace process. What appears to be the case is that once Secretary Kerry has succeeded in getting Prime Minister Netanyahu to sign onto some form of framework agreement, then will come the one-sided application of that agreement where Israel will be required to meet every letter and implied reference contained within the agreement without any reciprocating actions required from the Palestinians as how could they be expected to meet requirements of an agreement to which they were not signatories. Such a scheme is not as farfetched as many might suspect as it has been the driving concept behind President Obama’s entire views and solutions of the Israel-Palestinian conflict that if only Israel could be made to surrender sufficiently and meet the Palestinian demands then peace would easily be attained. From his first action upon entering the Oval Office and placing his first phone call of his administration, President Obama called Mahmoud Abbas and enjoyed an hour of pleasant conversation before making a call to a single actual leader of any of America’s allies. This was soon followed by President Obama demanding that Israel enact a building freeze as by forcing Israel to stop building the path to making peace would be almost automatic. Well, that did not quite work out too well as Abbas met once with Netanyahu and then waited well into the ninth month of the ten month building freeze before agreeing to a second meeting. At that meeting Abbas demanded the building freeze be made permanent before leaving as his position had been stated. President Obama was not done as he next stated that the United States new position concerning the Israeli-Palestinian conflict could only be served if Israel were to return to the pre-1967 lines with only slight changes through agreed swaps. Now it appears that President Obama has assigned Secretary of State Kerry to guarantee Israel signs onto an agreement with which they can be forced to grant the Palestinians everything which President Obama believes needs to be surrendered in his ideas of what is fair.
So, what can Israeli leadership do to avoid this squeeze play which is aimed to force them to basically surrender before the Palestinian demands? The only path that logically exists for Israel and Prime Minister Netanyahu to preserve Israel while not appearing to have the effrontery to insult and refute the President of the United States would be to agree to sing the framework agreement either in a joint signing where we would gladly allow the Palestinians the privilege of signing first or after the Palestinians have signed the agreement separately, then Israel will sign as well. Normally, no treaty could be considered valid with the signature of only one side. But the exception here is that this is not a treaty, this is simply a framework and a framework can be enforced and applied to only one side as a framework is whatever is defined within its terminology. From how the efforts are going this framework would state certain requirements, steps, and concessions expected from each side. These items would be separately applicable so that if only one side signed the framework, then that side would be obligated to fulfill all the requirements within the framework despite the absence of the other party. That is why once Prime Minister Netanyahu would sign any framework agreement the efforts would cease and everybody would go home happy and congratulating each other. Then would begin the full application of every single item contained within the framework and possibly a few implied items for good measure. For a taste of what might be contained within such a framework, the Kerry legions made known another item they believe should be included recently; that Israel allow for 80,000 Palestinian refugees to emigrate into Israel as a sign of good faith and recognition of the Palestinian refugee problem and respect for their claimed “Right of Return”. So, if the framework requires 80,000 Palestinian refugees be granted “Right of Return” could we expect that the final agreement might increase that number fifty-fold setting it at 4,000,000 Palestinian refugees, a number sufficient to cause the end of Israel as the Jewish State. Just the mention of such an idea should send shivers up the spine of anyone who loves Israel and leaves me speechless as such audacity is beyond any reason and frightening that such expectation is considered an honest and equitable demand to expect Israel to make without any reciprocation from the Palestinians, and not only no reciprocation, but the Palestinians are not even to be required to sign the framework while this is expected from Israel. I finally agree with Abbas, the United States is not an unbiased or fair mediator of the Israel-Palestinian conflict.
Beyond the Cusp