≡ Menu

Kerry’s Israel-Palestine “Framework” is DOA

I can’t think of anything more dry and boring than talking about a diplomatic “framework.”  It’s enough to give diplomacy a bad name.  A framework is not a deal, it’s not tangible, it doesn’t mean much–unless both sides want it to.  And usually two sides that can agree on a framework could also agree on a deal, so there’s no need for a framework.

Tom Friedman offers his typically Olympian wisdom in today’s column, in which he doles out bits of Kerry’s purported framework.  I’m sorry for being so blunt, but this sucker is gonna tank, and I’ll be happy when it does.  That may sound callous.  But ultimately, it’s not.  To explain, I’ll juxtapose two short passages from Friedman’s summary of the provisions in Kerry’s plan in order to point out its fatal flaws:

Has the number of Israeli Jews now living in East Jerusalem and the West Bank become so much larger — more than 540,000 — that they are immovable?…

It [the framework] will call for the Palestinians to have a capital in Arab East Jerusalem and for Palestinians to recognize Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people. It will not include any right of return for Palestinian refugees into Israel proper.

What’s so egregious in the calculus of the Kerry plan is the assumption that in order for Palestinians to undo an Israeli injustice, the theft and resettling of their land with half a million Jewish settlers, they must also turn their backs on the prospect of righting another Israeli injustice: the forced expulsion of 1-million Israeli Palestinians in 1948.  In this purported framework, what have Israelis given up?  Sovereignty over the Territories, land which most Israelis could easily dispense with anyway.  So for the average Israeli this is a great deal: he or she gives up something she doesn’t really care for anyway and gets a refugee-free Jewish country and a cleansed moral conscience.  Such a deal!  Who could refuse?

When you read the second paragraph above, you realize that the price the Palestinians are being asked to pay for removing settlements (and only part of them), is abjuring all claims for the return of refugees and recognizing Israel as the state of the Jewish people.  So the question you must ask is: are the Palestinians that desperate that they would prefer a deal offering half a state and the retreat from sacred Palestinian principles; to no deal at all?  My money is on the latter.  I’ll tell you why.

Clearly, if they had their druthers, Abbas and the rump West Bank Fatah leadership would cave and go for a deal.  But I don’t believe either Palestinians in the West Bank and certainly not in Gaza would allow them to do so.  I predict an internal Arab Spring or Intifada that would literally prevent leaders from signing a deal.  If this were to happen, it would be a good thing.

Whenever Abbas goes too far in caving to Israeli interests, there is a storm of criticism and he retreats.  That will happen this time too if he has the effrontery to bargain away Palestinian national rights.

On the Palestinian side, there is simply no leader, when you put the deal this way (and opponents will, trust me), who could support it.  That is why no deal is better than this shabby one.  Yes, it will mean continuing bloodshed, continuing deterioration of Israel’s democratic values, things will get worse.  There is no way around this.  But there are times, and unfortunately this is one, when one side has too much power and thinks it can lord it over the other.  Time will wear down the dominant party and rob it of its superior strategic position.

Palestine will never beat Israel on the battlefield.  But like Joshua blowing his horn at the walls of Jericho, those instruments will eventually chip away at the impregnable fortress that is Israel.  An advantage will become a deficit.  Superiority will turn to desperation and decline.  Only then, when Israel’s hubris has been humbled, like Pharaoh’s heart, will a just, fair negotiated solution be possible.

When Kerry fails, you’ll undoubtedly see a picture with Bibi smiling like the cat that swallowed the canary.  When peace talks fail it’s music to the Likud’s ears.  They think they can live forever.  They think Israel can hold out forever.  But the fortunes of nations, like people, rise and fall.  You’re up one day or decade and down the next.  Israeli hubris will lead to overreaching.  The world will eventually vote with its feet and abandon Israel, the garrison state.  Eventually, it will have no choice but to settle for the half a loaf it probably could’ve had in 1948 (if not then, then certainly after 1967), if Ben Gurion had conducted affairs differently.

Friedman in concluding his column, warns that the failure of the Kerry project will doom the two-state solution.  If it does, it won’t be such a bad thing.  I say this as someone who once embraced the two state solution.  I say it as someone who doesn’t really know or understand what will replace it and whether it will be workable.  But finally I say this as someone who understands that Israel has made a mockery of the two-state solution; turned it into a Potemkin village behind which sits the wretched refuse of Occupation.  You can only dishonor an idea so long before it becomes a rusting, useless hulk.

So I, with a heavy heart, hope for failure for Kerry’s initiative.  It is the only path to a real solution.

Bufferfacebooktwittergoogle_plusredditlinkedintumblrmail
youtube
{ 39 comments… add one }
  • Oui January 30, 2014, 3:14 AM

    I’ll keep it simple, Friedman has no inside track on the principles of the Framework Agreement to be written and released by Secretary Kerry.

    I can only read and watch carefully how the power politics play out in Israel. Plenty of turmoil, moaning and threats. Many options have been launched as trial balloons and shot out of the sky by one or another cabinet minister. I’m sitting back and ordering some more popcorn, it aint over ’til its over. Obama promised 2014 as a year of action. Netanyahu failed during the last 5 years to invest in Barack Obama, he is set to see the returns in the Kerry negotiations. There is a power play across the ME region as we speak, the stakes are high in Syria, Iran and Israel. I have only one fear, an outside event (Ukraine) may disrupt the relationship between Kerry and Lavrov.

    Netanyahu accepts Bennett non-apology, ending coalition crisis
    Lapid: EU considering striking central treaty with Israel if peace talks fail

  • Peter Belmont January 30, 2014, 7:34 AM

    RS: I agree. Potempkin, indeed. Even without knowing the secret details of Kerry’s work, I am certain that it does not offer Palestine MORE land than WB&G; more water than 50-50; removal of all the waste (toxics, sewage, ordinary trash dumped by Israel and Israelis on WB land, a proper and wide highway from G-to-WB, ALL of occupied East Jerusalem, etc. whatever it is, it is heavily Israel-influenced and is thus an attempt to get Palestine to accept less than their due; and this ignores all the fake “security” crap.

    If Israel wants to continue “as” Greater Israel, it can do so only “as-is” (blatant, “vibrant” apartheid) on all or part of OPTs (and withdrawal from the rest, perhaps only as in Gaza, with continued control and warfare) or democratic (one-state for two-peoples). My money is on continued-blatant-apartheid-as-long-as-possible because at the end of the day “the horse may speak” before BDS shuts the whole operation down.

  • Rain January 30, 2014, 8:08 AM

    Amusing that you spend so much telling your readers how right-wing and pro-greater Israel most Israelis are and then write this…

    In this purported framework, what have Israelis given up? Sovereignty over the Territories, land which most Israelis could easily dispense with anyway. So for the average Israeli this is a great deal: he or she gives up something she doesn’t really care for anyway

    So which is it? Are most Israelis both right-wing and yet could easily dispense with the territories?

    • Richard Silverstein January 30, 2014, 1:09 PM

      @ Rain: Because the majority of Israelis don’t care about retaining settlements doesn’t mean they’re left wing or tolerant. It just means they have other priorities that are more important to them. I should also add that though the majority doesn’t care about settlement, a minority does care fiercely. And the majority has acceded to the minority on this issue, which is a large part of the dysfunction that is Israeli society.

  • ben January 30, 2014, 9:03 AM

    Well for me I hope that Kerry is able to get this done. We all know that the Israeli’s and the Palestinians are way off from a settlement but what Kerry is attempting to do is the framework deal.

    Something that I feel is important because it forces both sides to deal with reality.

    The reality is Israel will never accept all the decedents of hostile refugees. It’s simple no government on Earth would do that. (Can you name a precedent in history that would claim contrary to this?) Though there is room for negotiation for family reunification and a setup for a commission to reimburse those who did loose land in the conflict and help re settle either in the country of their choosing or the newly established Palestine. (I read a slip up when Harper was in Israel that apparently Canada was willing to accept large swaths of refugees as part of a peace deal. Canada is huge and we got more then enough room) I know Richard you would love for an egalitarian Israel that is just a state like any in the west, but the mid east is not the west. Just look at what is going on in Syria Lebanon Egypt and potentially Jordan the entire region is clamoured in secratarian conflagration.

    The main reason why I hope for Kerry plan to work is two fold. One I actually want there to be a free Palestine that has equal rights for all persons living in its borders and two if Kerry does fail we will end up with uprising 3.0 which will lead to Gaza 2.0 due to obvious international pressure that will force Israel to react irrationally… which will cause areas a and b being disengaged unilaterally by Israel and subsequent annexation of area C to Israel.

    This will mean even less water rights no refugees and no chance of having a capital in a shared Jerusalem.

    At some point in time people need to accept reality and move on and make peace. Remember what Kerry is going for is compromise and in a compromise neither side is happy but can live with the solution. And from the looks of it no one is happy with Kerry so it must be a good idea.

    • Oui January 30, 2014, 9:30 AM

      Bravo. Let the people decide in a referendum. The leadership should back the final deal.

      In a diary I wrote to abolish boundaries set by the Sykes-Picot Agreement. Let the nations in the ME carve out a new mosaic of states according to ethnic/religious/cultural/tribal values in Syria, Jordan, Palestine, Lebanon and Iraq. Even across borders of Turkey and Iran. People don’t want to live under a dictatorship and need democratic principles of freedom and equal representation. People seek their identity and independence.

      • ben January 30, 2014, 5:39 PM

        Its a shame great people like Faisal bin Hussein bin Ali al-Hashimi were denied the ability to full fill their dream of a greater arab nation.

        • Richard Silverstein January 30, 2014, 7:00 PM

          As usual, you use the thimble-full of anti-Arab, anti-Palestinian knowledge that’s been doled out to you by your hasbara sources & allow that to shield the fact that you actually know almost nothing of any use in understanding real Arabs or Palestinians. Rather pathetic. And finally, your comment was OFF-topic. Comments must relate directly to the post. If your comment isn’t directly connected to the content of my post, then it’s off topic.

          • ben January 30, 2014, 7:17 PM

            how was the comment off topic? Oui was talking about dividing up the mid east based on a referendum and Faisal tried to unite the mid east under a single Arab state that would prevent the collapse of the propped up arab nations we see today that were the result of WWI.

    • Richard Silverstein January 30, 2014, 1:22 PM

      The reality is Israel will never accept all the decedents of hostile refugees. It’s simple no government on Earth would do that. (Can you name a precedent in history that would claim contrary to this?)

      No one has ever asked Israel to accept all the refugees and their descendants. Israel is being asked to accept all who wish to return. That is a far different proposition. The number that would do so has been variously estimated at around 400,000. That’s less than half the number of Soviet Jews who made aliyah in the 1980s and 1990s. As for whether any country has or hasn’t allowed refugees to return home: first, your claim is false; but even if it was true it’s irrelevant. Committing an injustice doesn’t absolve a country of repairing it just because no other country has ever done so. I’m not interested in what others have done. I’m only interested in what Israel must do to repair this situation. And it must allow refugees to return. There is no way around this and there will never be a final treaty that does not satisfactorily address this.

      BTW, what gives you the right to personally determine what the outcome should be, and what Israel can or can’t give up? Are you a government negotiator? Academic expert? If not, it seems you have quite a bit of chutzpah to substitute your own personal views for what others far more important and well-versed (hopefully) should do.

      Canada is huge and we got more then enough room

      So you’re offering Palestinian refugees asylum in the Canadian tundra? Thanks for your magnanimity. How long before Harper and his Tory loons start baying at those hundreds of thousands of Palestinian refugees flooding your towns and cities? Unless you were only talking about taking 100 as a token gesture, which is much more likely.

      the mid east is not the west. Just look at what is going on in Syria Lebanon Egypt and potentially Jordan the entire region is clamoured in secratarian conflagration.

      That is an avowedly racist statement, whether you recognize it as such or not. If you don’t, then you’re utterly ignorant about the Middle East.

      which will cause areas a and b being disengaged unilaterally by Israel and subsequent annexation of area C to Israel.

      Yes, and I think annexation is an excellent idea since Israel will undoubtedly refuse to give the Palestinians whose homes are annexed equal rights. This in turn will lead to a vast internal struggle which eventually will guarantee them rights equal to all other Jewish citizens. Then Israel will become a truly democratic country. And of course, it will eventually accept those refugees you claim will never be accepted; and Jerusalem will become Israel’s capital. But it won’t be shared because there will only be one state, not two. And Jews will be a minority within it. And you and Bibi will have only yourselves to blame for this.

      At some point in time people need to accept reality and move on and make peace.

      You have absolutely no right to tell a Palestinians what he should do. None. The fact that you do indicates you don’t know anything about Palestinians or Palestine.

      • ben January 30, 2014, 5:33 PM

        How can you quantify the amount of people who would wish to return or not? Are you a mind reader? The vast majority of refugee camp Palestinians are taught that one day they will reclaim all of Palestine not just a portion of it. My Palestinian friend reminds me often that she fully intends on taking back Haifa. Though from what you write you fully support this and no longer think that Israel has a right to exist.

        I thought it would have been a good idea to go with MK Jamal Zahalka idea linked here: http://www.jpost.com/Diplomacy-and-Politics/Balad-pushes-bill-to-make-Israeli-Arabs-autonomous-minority-316881

        Also the idea to make Christians a separate minority like the Druze. I think that with more Arabic peoples taking a active role in the Zionist experiment it will eventually lead to full integration of all minorities.

        You say my claim is false and you are correct that for already “established” countries that refugees would come back… That is the reason why The Palestinians have their own UN refugee organization because Israel was the country they came from if Jordan and Egypt had aloud the West bank and Gaza to become Palestine then the refugee problem would have been solved 60 years ago. A much more fair comparison between Israel and Palestine would be Pakistan and India. Imagine if the descendants of the 11.2 million refugees were put in camps and told one day all of their descendants would return to their homes. That would be crazy and serve no purpose other then to eternally perpetuate the conflict until one side was annihilated.

        Thank you for the ad hominem attack on my character. what does it matter whom I am? Who are you who is anyone? We live in free and democratic countries and are free to express our opinion about subjects. Perhaps instead of attacking my grammar and pros you could actually think about the arguments and post something constructive. How about this, “out of the mouth of babes”…

        IF there was some sort of hard cap as you say perhaps 2-4 hundred thousand than that’s something you could sell to Israeli’s. You are correct I don’t speak from the POV of Palestinians or Palestine but I do from your average Zionist Diaspora Jew who has family that lives in Israel and like it or lump it I will defend Israel’s intrinsic right to live as the nation state of the Jewish people but not its religion.

        What is wrong with Canada? 90% of our population live within 100 miles from the american border. Ontario where heavily populated is south of large chunk of continental America. Toronto alone is growing by 100 000 people a year. I believe as Mr. Harper said its a Canadian thing to do what is right not because its popular but because its the right thing to do. I am sure that as Canadians we would be more the willing to accept a good chunk of the refugees who are denied the right to settle in host countries.

        You then go on and claim I am a racist because I have eyes and can read about over 120 thousand killed in Syria. How about the 20 000 starving Palestinians in southern Damascus? Where is the international outcry for them? How about ISIS and al nusra front which are tearing apart Syria Iraq and now Lebanon? How about the almost daily suicide bombings in Iraq on either Christian or Sunni or Shia holy sites? Or the rights of Nepalese as foreign workers building the world cup stadium that have had all their rights taken away and are dying daily? I directly support international organizations trying to help people like this can you say the same? Or are you just an Arm chair defender of human rights sitting with hubris as you try to discourage the very people you should be engaging in debate with. I think its terrible what is going on in the Mid east I wish earnestly that they could catch up with the west and embrace concepts are personal religious freedoms and female rights real democracy and right of the minority and sexual plurality!

        “At some point in time people need to accept reality and move on and make peace.” I was referring to Jew and Arab the fact that you did not know this indicates you jump to conclusions and at times can be a hot head.

        • Davey January 30, 2014, 6:55 PM

          Maybe I got lost here — Are you suggesting that 5.5 million Israelis go live in Canada? I was gonna offer Florida and New Jersey.

          • ben January 30, 2014, 7:29 PM

            7.908 million Israeli’s already live in Israel I am not suggesting any of them go anywhere. One the the major blocking points of Kerry’s plan is no refugees in Israel Proper. I know Israeli’s and I am pretty confident in saying that they will allow some as Richard points out a few hundred thousand is a number they can live with but they cant accept the idea that its up to each and every person whether they choose or not to… its simply something that Israel will not accept.

          • Davey January 31, 2014, 9:36 AM

            7.9 million Israelis, is it? Is this an Israeli government stat? Is so, it’s probably not true.

          • Richard Silverstein January 31, 2014, 8:13 PM

            @ Davey: I believe the population numbers are 7 million Jews, 1 million Palestinians. Total: 8 million.

        • Richard Silverstein January 30, 2014, 8:46 PM

          @ ben: You make a whole series of errors typical of someone who’s never commented here before and also never spent much time reading this blog. I don’t make my facts and figures up. They all come from reliable, reputable sources. So instead of presuming that I do make them up, you might want to question my source, rather than presume I’m as lazy as some right wing commenters here (who do make things up). In fact, the experts negotiating the Geneva Accords made that 400,000 estimate. I’ve never heard anyone dispute it. Therefore I believe it likely to be close to what actually happens when refugees do return.

          Though from what you write you fully support this and no longer think that Israel has a right to exist.

          Another comment rule violation: hasbarists like you do NOT get to characterize my views because you’re either too ignorant or too malevolent to be trusted to do so accurately. Needless to say, your claims about what I believe are wrong. I do not allow people to lie about my views here. Do it again & you’re toast.

          I told you that comparing the Palestinian refugee problem to other countries has no bearing at all on the Palestinian situation. Yet you persist in trying to do just that. If you want to continue commenting here, follow my direction.

          I will defend Israel’s intrinsic right to live as the nation state of the Jewish people but not its religion.

          I don’t know how you distinguish between Jewish peoplehood and Judaism, the religion. Unfortunately, Isrsaeli nationalism has mixed the two so inextricably that it’s almost impossible to separate them. There is no way that you can say that Israel as currently constituted isn’t the state of the Jewish religion. Or at least, Jewish religion as practiced by the settler extremists.

          I am sure that as Canadians we would be more the willing to accept a good chunk of the refugees who are denied the right to settle in host countries

          If you think a far right ideologue like Harper will accept Palestinian refugees you are both naive & mistaken. But good luck to you.

          Thank you for the ad hominem attack on my character

          You don’t know what “ad hominem” means. I generally don’t engage in ad hominem and I certainly didn’t attack your character. My comments deal with your stated views, not with you as a person since I don’t know you.

          IF there was some sort of hard cap as you say perhaps 2-4 hundred thousand than that’s something you could sell to Israeli’s.

          That’s the first sensible thing I’ve heard from you. With a comment like that it might be possible to negotiate if only you represented Israel.

          I’d urge you to stop caring so much about Arab suffering (which you don’t really care about except as a cudgel you can use against Arabs) and start caring about the injustice committed by Israel on Arabs and Palestinians. That’s something you can do something about if you care to. If you don’t, then you’re a hypocrite and I have no interest in hearing your sob stories about the poor Arab refugees about whom you could care less. Not to mention that this subject is entirely off-topic. Stay on topic, focussed on the specific topic of the blog post, not on whatever it is you think would score the most hasbara points.

          I think its terrible what is going on in the Mid east I wish earnestly that they could catch up with the west and embrace concepts are personal religious freedoms and female rights real democracy and right of the minority and sexual plurality!

          That’s it, buddy. I don’t want to hear another word from you about Arab backwardness. It offends me. It’s racist. Try this crap again & you’re history.

          As for what you claim to know about Palestinians, you couldn’t even fill a thimble with it. So don’t bother to tell us what Palestinian refugees are taught. If you ever spent a millisecond, let alone a day in a Palestinian refugee camp or school I’d faint away.

          My Palestinian friend reminds me often that she fully intends on taking back Haifa.

          Now you’ve revealed yourself as a liar. You have no Palestinian friend and if by some odd chance you do, she never said this. I dare you to identity, even privately to me, who she is and have her send me an e mail repeating this. Until then, I characterize this as a smear and a lie.

          • ben January 30, 2014, 9:15 PM

            how did they come to the conclusion that only 400 000? surely given the time since the accords that number must have grown.

            how cant you compare one refugee to an other what makes one more special then the other? are we not all human are we not all equal?

            its like when mr harper said if you dont look at every one and condemn them for their actions and only signal out the only jewish state then you sir are a hipocrate.

            Forgive me for saying you thought Israel should not exist. I took it when you said that you hope for a one state solution that this new country would no longer be Israel. I assumed you meant that Israel would be no more and we would be left with only Palestine. Apologies for that.

            Why would I want to expose my friend? To her i am her second Jew friend as she likes to say. Her mothers family is from Jenin who were refugees from Haifa. Why on G-ds green earth would i want to expose who she is. I used her comments as a reference.

            If you looked at Western society 80 years ago we were homophobic denied woman rights committed evil unto those who were of different religiions. Even in Toronto there were signs saying no jews aloud on the beach.

            Richard its called social evolution. It takes steps. Its not racist to say that the mid east has some catching up to do with human rights.

            I am sorry i cant just stop carring about people. In canada some of my best friends are arabs. Its a shame that the places they come from are not on the same level of development.

            “BTW, what gives you the right to personally determine what the outcome should be, and what Israel can or can’t give up? Are you a government negotiator? Academic expert? If not, it seems you have quite a bit of chutzpah to substitute your own personal views for what others far more important and well-versed (hopefully) should do.”

            so that was not a comment on who i am and if i have the right to make an opinion.

            You know Richard you cant teach an old dog new tricks and unfortunately you are rather stubborn.

            even though i enjoy reading your blog. you seem incapable of having an adult conversation and being reasonable.

            Furthermore the information you receive can be reliable but the way you interpret it is subject to debate. Opinion polls from 14 years ago may not be so accurate any more.

            Congrats Dick. I shall enjoy being smug when Israel lives side by side with Palestine two states for two peoples and Israel is an accepted member of the Arab league.

          • Richard Silverstein January 31, 2014, 12:50 AM

            Congrats Dick

            You’re moderated & the next time you pull that crap you’ll get the old heave-ho. Moderation means future comments will be reviewed by me before they’re approved for publication. Until I can be certain you’ve read the comment rules and respected them, you will continue being moderated.

            how did they come to the conclusion that only 400 000?

            The Geneva Accords had the benefit of scores of experts on all manner of issues related to a peace agreement. Instead of asking foolish questions like “how did they do that?”, you’d best go back & read it. It’s available online.

            when you said that you hope for a one state solution

            Once again, I said no such thing. I don’t “hope” for a one state solution & never used those words. I believe Israel’s leaders are guaranteeing a one-state solution. It is they who are to blame if one comes about. In future, I’d suggest you quote my exact words, since you seem to have an inability to accurately characterize my views.

            I assumed you meant…

            Your first mistake. Don’t assume. Quote.

            Why would I want to expose my friend?

            I didn’t ask you to “expose” her. I asked you to tell her to send me an e mail saying exactly what you claim she said. I don’t want to expose her. I want to test your credibility. And so far, you’ve failed. Until you prove she exists, she doesn’t.

            If you looked at Western society 80 years ago we were homophobic denied woman rights committed evil unto those who were of different religiions

            You’re claiming today’s western world is so much better than 80 yrs ago? Why? Because we’ve killed 1-million Iraqis? Targeted 3,000 Muslims for drone death? Watched as 300,000 Croatians, Bosnians and Serbs slaughtered each other for years? Sorry, but any claim that western society is superior to anyone, Arab or otherwise, is nonsense.

            Its not racist to say that the mid east has some catching up to do

            It’s not for you to say anything about the Middle East until you know more about the subject and don’t sound so absolutely ignorant in doing so. Not to mention that whatever deficiencies Arab societies may have, our western flaws are just as toxic and lethal.

            I am sorry i cant just stop carring about people. In canada some of my best friends are arabs. Its a shame that the places they come from are not on the same level of development.

            You don’t have any Arab friends if you spout bullshit like this at them.

            so that was not a comment on who i am and if i have the right to make an opinion.

            Not at all. I asked you to establish your bona fides as a knowledgeable person with expertise in the subject. In this blog, I frown on people spouting their prejudices as you have. I far prefer people actually arguing based on knowledge, expertise, credible sources, and facts. Almost none of which you have. My criticism of you is based on your “arguments,” such as they are.

            You know Richard you cant teach an old dog new tricks and unfortunately you are rather stubborn.

            I am rather stubborn and old-fashioned about things like facts and evidence. And I’m proud of that. Those out of date values must irk you.

            I shall enjoy being smug

            No, you already are smug. As for your delusional predictions, never happen.

          • Oui January 31, 2014, 12:52 AM

            @Ben: I retract my comment to your first post. Clearly you are a fraud and RS has a far better judgement of your posts as a [paid] hasbarist for a corrupt state. Corrupt as in political institute and moral guidance. People like you invigorate me to write about the I-P issue and BDS support.

    • Say that again? January 30, 2014, 8:07 PM

      ben: “The reality is Israel will never accept all the decedents of hostile refugees.”

      It isn’t being asked to. The position of the PLO is that the refugee issue needs to be dealt with via a mutually-acceptable solution that is *consistent* *with* UN Resolution 194.

      And UNR194 does not insist on “return”, nor does it argue “no way, just go away”. It uses this formula instead: return or compensation.

      That’s what the PLO is insisting upon i.e. Israel has to make restitution for that wrong, and the form that this takes is that Israel EITHER accepts them back OR it pays them a hefty compensation.

      That’s what the PLO is holding out for, and what Kerry’s Framework plan is suggesting is that these refugees simply aren’t Israel’s responsibility.

      That’s utterly unacceptable to the Palestinians, precisely because Israel *is* responsible for those people becoming refugees.

  • Oui January 30, 2014, 9:31 AM

    Left derides Bayit Yehudi MKs for attending prayer rally against peace talks

    (JPost) Jan. 28, 2014 – Meretz and Labor MKs called a prayer rally against peace talks featuring senior religious Zionist rabbis and Housing and Construction Minister Uri Ariel grotesque and shameful, Tuesday.

    On Thursday, Ariel, MK Orit Struck (Bayit Yehudi) as well as major religious Zionist figures such as Kiryat Arba Rabbi Dov Lior, former Sephardic chief rabbi candidate Shmuel Eliyahu, Bnei Akiva Yeshivas chairman Rabbi Haim Druckman and others will participate in a prayer rally at the Western Wall to fight “American pressure on Israel to give up portions of the land.”

    The invitation to the rally used language reminiscent of the Scroll of Esther, calling for the public to pray “to cancel [US Secretary of State John] Kerry’s decree.”

    Meretz leader Zehava Gal-On called Ariel’s participation in the rally an embarrassment.

    According to Gal-On, Ariel’s cooperation with Rabbis Lior, Druckman, Eliyahu and others reveals the truth about the Bayit Yehudi, that it is “an extremist, messianic group that is promoting a terrifying vision of apartheid within the government” and “a hypocritical, shameless group that has been sitting on powerful economic seats for a year – The Economy Ministry, Housing Ministry, Knesset Finance Committee and Israel Lands Authority – and protests at every opportunity against the government of which it is a partner.

  • yankel January 30, 2014, 11:01 AM

    The sad fact is that too much of the proverbial pizza has already been digested and the locals, Palestinians and Israelis alike, know too well there’s no likely prospect of a mutually acceptable, lasting agreement under the current political constellation.

    Both parties play they required roles as best they can in a game aimed at ensuring the other side gets as much of the blame for yet another bloody failure.

    • Say that again? January 30, 2014, 8:21 PM

      Sure, but Kerry’s attempt to get this Framework document out the door is especially galling since its ONLY purpose is to force Abbas to stay in this farcical “peace process” until Hell Freezes Over or The West Bank Is Paved Over With Settlements.

      Whichever comes first.

      Abbas understood perfectly well that these 9-month-long negotiations were pointless, but that he had to endure them anyway before he could then go to the UNSC and the ICC. Kerry is now trying to force him to stay seated even after the 9 months is up.

      Q: And the reason why Kerry wants Abbas to remain seated?
      A: To stop Abbas going to the UNSC and the ICC.

      Nothing more.
      No less.

      After all, that’s all this “peace process” has ever been i.e. all “process”, with absolutely no prospect of “peace”.

  • Shoshana January 30, 2014, 1:14 PM

    Yeah. Let’s build some peace castles in the shifting sand of the Middle East.

    Ten years ago the US military, and it’s allies in Iraq, pressed it’s full weight on Falluja to eradicate that city’s jihadi menace.
    Today, the US is gone and we see the black flag of al Qaeda flying over Falluja and the central government is powerless.

    Gives you a warm feeling, doesn’t it?

    • Richard Silverstein January 30, 2014, 8:52 PM

      @ Shoshana: This comment is off-topic. Stay on topic and I mean it.

      • Shoshana January 31, 2014, 1:28 AM

        I was oblique. Sorry.

        How does the United States guarantee Israel’s security when the surrounding governments are unstable?

        • Oui January 31, 2014, 2:35 AM

          Shimon Peres on Israel’s security: “That fear belongs in 1948, when we had no canon, tank, or airplane against seven armies.”

          • Shoshana January 31, 2014, 7:32 AM

            Shimon Peres is an old fool.

            Massive rocket fire aimed at Israel’s central, concentrated population centers would be a national disaster.
            A few crude rockets launched from the West Bank will close down Ben Gurion airport.
            The separation barrier is porous. I’ve recently seen West Bank laborers being smuggled into Israel. A few terrorist infiltrators could cause havoc.

            The United States is leaving the Middle East for good, and she is not going to send in the 7th Cavalry went things there go teats up.

            Oui. Do you live in Israel? Do you have family there?

          • Richard Silverstein January 31, 2014, 8:17 PM

            @ Shoshana:

            Shimon Peres is an old fool.

            He is, but not for the reasons you believe.

            A few crude rockets launched from the West Bank will close down Ben Gurion airport.

            Exactly when & how will this happen? You’re suffering from delusional thinking. You confuse your nightmares with reality. Here, we’d rather stick to facts & reality.

            The United States is leaving the Middle East for good…

            Really. You know this how? Have you seen some top secret Joint Chiefs report we’re not privy to? Barring this, I’d say this is yet another example of your delusional thinking. Thinking which has no bearing on reality.

  • Oui January 30, 2014, 1:49 PM

    Yuval Steinitz Slams Abbas as No.1 anti-Semite

    In recent days, the Obama administration has been called anti-Semitic (Abe Foxman – ADL) and Secretary Kerry received scorn from Minister Yaalon. Elie Wiesel made a clear statement: Anti-Israel Is Anti-Semitic! [??] Time for some anger management …

    Israel minister slams Abbas as ‘No.1′ anti-Semite

    (Ynet News) – “Since Ahmadinejad left the political stage, Abu Mazen is the number one leader in injecting anti-Semitic and anti-Israel poison,” Yuval Steinitz told a Tel Aviv security conference, using the name by which Abbas is popularly known in Arabic.

    “Under Abu Mazen the level of anti-Israel and anti-Semitic incitement in the (Palestinian) Authority has reached new highs, where the bottom line is the destruction of Israel,” said Steinitz, a member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party.

    “As someone who denied the Holocaust in his youth, he today denies the very existence of the Jewish people and their right to their own state,” he told the annual conference of the Institute for National Security Studies, according to a transcript on the INSS website.

    “As long as we do not see substantive change in the (Palestinian) educational system and media, a peace agreement is an illusion.”

    • Say that again? January 30, 2014, 8:14 PM

      Yeah, fancy that: the leader of a people who have seen the pointy end of a gun for decade after decade happens to have a low opinion of those who have spent decade after decade pointing a gun at him and his people.

      Who would’a thunk it, heh?

      I’m sure if the positions were reversed Steinitz would now be expressing his utter devotion and unbounded love for his gun-toting lords and masters…..

  • Davey January 30, 2014, 6:58 PM

    I’m with Peter: “My money is on continued-blatant-apartheid-as-long-as-possible because at the end of the day “the horse may speak” before BDS shuts the whole operation down.” The asymmetry is so huge, Israel can’t really do anything else, it will just follow the logic of appropriation, settlement and war to the bitter end. And, yes, in the end they will lose because, in the end, they cannot win. If Israel could win definitively, there would now be no issue and Kerry would have nothing to talk about.

  • Bob Reynolds January 31, 2014, 3:10 AM

    Let us suppose that the PA and Israel could agree to settlement based on what Kerry has outlined at Davos and elsewhere
    which is slanted towards Israel. What are the ramifications?
    1. Israel retains a military presence in the Jordan Valley for three years. But there is no guarantee they will
    withdraw after three years so we are back to new negotiations and perhaps more settlements to be argued about.

    2. Israel accepts a “token” right to return and in return the PA accepts Israel as a Jewish State. 400,000 may or may not be a realistic figure. Certainly if there are not
    other favorable options for those in the camps why would someone not want to move to Israel. But assuming that 400,000 to
    be absorbed what do they return to? Where do they return to?

    3. Aren’t Israel and those hosting the camps going to insist that the new Palestinian state is the home of the
    Palestinian refugees and that’s where they should go? Absent that, would Lebanon for instance be willing to grant full rights to the refugees and do what they have not done
    absorb them thus changing the balance of Muslim, Druze, Christian, Sunni and Shia ? As to sending them to other
    countries who speaks for those nations? Who determines where they go? In a PA/ Israeli settlement the
    fate of the refugees is critical to its success. So would the PA agree that other than the token Israel agreed to,
    the Palestinian refugees have a right to return to the new Palestinian state”?

    4. On the other side, the PA and Israel agree to swap land based on the Olmert proposals and even though the land
    given to the PA is desert and not contiguous an agreement is made. Now who can come up with a realistic
    agreement on the settlements. In this hypothetical agreement I draw a blank. The only hypothetical I can
    come up with is that in the settlements not contiguous to Israel the settlers agree to be Palestinian citizens while
    retaining their Israeli dual citizenship and right to return to Israel. And all questions regarding land rights etc
    are agreed to in favor of the settlers.

    None of this seems even remotely possible or realistic and does not even get into the details of water rights etc, etc, etc.

    Yet the status quo can not continue. A failure of the latest charade is going to create serious problems for Israel internationally even if Kerry blames it on the PA. And the PA will have no choice but to go to international bodies as they
    have threatened to. If they could get away with it, the extreme right position of annexing all of Palestine and expelling
    the Palestinians to Jordan is probably the only feasible solution.

    Some problems have no solutions.

  • Oui January 31, 2014, 7:16 AM

    2,000 Jews pray at the Western Wall.

    Deliver us from Kerry: Hardline Israelis rally against peace plan plus video

    (RT) – Thousands of Israeli Jewish hardliners gathered at the Western Wall imploring God to throw a wrench in a peace plan proposed by US Secretary of State John Kerry, which would see a Palestinian capital in Jerusalem and other territorial compromises.

    Police say around 2,000 people attended the gathering in Jerusalem’s Old City, where participants called on God to strike fear in the hearts of those who might cause harm to the land of Israel.

    Housing Minister Uri Ariel and other members of the far-right Jewish Home party, which forms part of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s coalition but fiercely opposes a two-state solution, were in attendance.

    In a not-so-veiled reference to Kerry’s role in peace negotiations, Ariel said “thousands of people came to pray for the people of Israel, to strengthen the government and the one who stands at its head, that he may be able to stand firm against the different pressures coming from the other side of the ocean,” Israeli National News reported.

    Moshe Cohen, of the Beit El settlement, who was one of the Western Wall event’s organizers, told AFP: “Kerry’s plan endangers us since he wants to separate between the Jewish people and the Land of Israel.”

  • Oui January 31, 2014, 8:03 AM

    The JPost headline is a misrepresentation of the facts, there is no impasse or stalled talks. It is a Reuters story and the original headline reads: “Middle East peace mediators to meet in Munich.”

    Quartet to meet in Munich over stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace talks

    MUNICH, Germany (JPost) – Top officials from the United Nations, United States, Russia and European Union will meet on Saturday to discuss how they can help US Secretary of State John Kerry’s drive for a Middle East peace deal, the EU said.

    The meeting of the so-called Quartet of Middle East peace mediators will be held in Munich on the sidelines of the annual security conference there.

    EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said she would chair the meeting with Kerry, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Quartet envoy Tony Blair, the former British prime minister. “This meeting takes place in a moment when difficult and bold decisions need to be made. The dividends of peace for Israelis and Palestinians are enormous. I hope that together we can help those decisions to become a reality to continue working towards a negotiated peace agreement, setting an end to the conflict and fulfilling the legitimate aspirations of both parties.”

  • Renfro January 31, 2014, 8:32 PM

    Agree with RS. Slim to no chance of a US brokered deal that ‘willl actually work”. The US just is not capable of being a honest broker—any deal would have to satisy the US I-First Lobby–which means Palestiine would get the short end.
    The investment plan will not work either—experience tells us who’s pockets that investment money will end up in—–Palestines want to “own’ their own economy—not be cheap labor for Israelii or internatiional companies.
    Having originally supported 2 State solution I now think that is impossible. One State, even though it would no doubt mean a period of full blown correctly defined apartheid before that is also corrected is the best long term solution. The 65 year history of a aggressive, militant Israel intent on its Greater Israel vision thru every one of its administrations should tell us by now that a Jewish ruled, Jewish majority ‘bunker state is never going to work in the region. It has only lasted this long with massive support from the US and Germany and the forbearence of world, but Israeli hubris has gone too far and I dont expect that support to continue indefinitely.

  • Renfro January 31, 2014, 8:48 PM

    “The United States is leaving the Middle East for good…”

    Not totally. But the realist opinion is we will withdraw from being the ME cop. The US now gets less than 20% of its oil from the ME and that is easily replaced from other sources. Our only ‘real’ interest in the ME is ‘stability’—meaning no huge upset that interfers with oil supplies ‘to others’ in what is now our ‘globally connected economy’ because what effects their economies now also affects ours.The ME affects us indirectly not directly.
    There is also now a new factor for the US in the ME–Russia is back—and asserting its own interest. Personally I think that is a huge plus. Its one thing for US neos and zionist to lobby for picking up some ME state and slamming it against the wall and another thing entirely for them to agitate for a US confrontation with Russia. So Russia’s re entry into the ME may actually be the US salvation—preventing us from any more ME invasions.

  • Shoshana February 1, 2014, 7:54 AM

    At issue is the security arrangements for the Jordan Valley.
    Without an Israeli military presence there, infiltration will be more likely by the many Arabs who are not satisfied by the two State Solution and giving up the right of return.

    The United States is now energy self-sufficeint and is not longer reliant on Middle Eastern oil. So, what does the US need with a Sixth Fleet in the Med, when that fleet is needed more in the West Pacific?

    Richard. The Israeli military encirclement and clampdown is what’s prevented the proliferation of rockets there. In Gaza, which has a sea border and a porous border with Egypt, there are rockets aplenty.

    Where am I delusional?

    • Richard Silverstein February 1, 2014, 2:00 PM

      @ Shoshana: There is no infiltration in the Jordan Valley and not because of an Israeli military presence, but because the Jordanian army and security apparatus prevents it. With the U.S’s promised high tech support there is no need for an Israeli presence. Yuval Diskin, Israel’s last Shabak chief, said as much. Israeli ex-generals have said as much. Yet you, with no security background to speak of–substitute your own opinion for theirs. Oh, right, you’ve got a couple of ideological demagogues like Bibi & Bogie on your side. Big deal.

      The Israeli military encirclement and clampdown is what’s prevented the proliferation of rockets there.

      You mean Israel’s illegal siege of Gaza? The one which has no military value, but which is purely political and meant to isolate Gaza and Hamas from the rest of Palestine? That “encirclement?”

      A security analyst, you’re not…

Leave a Comment