When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in a rather scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean – neither more nor less.”
—Alice in Wonderland
Ariga.com has another interesting column today on the latest developments within Israeli politics. Olmert has been saying that he’s willing to negotiate with the Palestinians over final borders, but that if these efforts are not successful then Israel will impose them unilaterally. We can see how interested Olmert really is in negotiating with the Palestinians using this metric:
Abbas called Olmert on Friday to congratulate him on the formation of a government and another pitch for a resumption of peace negotiations. Olmert’s office issued a chilly note saying there were still no plans for a meeting between the two.
India’s Renews reports an AP story disclosing this Israeli response to Abbas:
Olmert’s aides said a meeting with the moderate Abbas is possible, but ruled out negotiations as long as the Hamas-led Palestinian Authority refuses to recognise Israel or renounce violence.
In other statements, Olmert has said that Israel cannot negotiate with the Palestinians (or Abbas) as long as Hamas runs the PA. So essentially what we have here is the Israeli leader telling the world that he refuses to negotiate even with Mahmoud Abbas as long as Hamas is in power. Meaning, that Israel requires the Palestinians to topple the Hamas government BEFORE it will negotiate with any Palestinian, even one like Abbas with no Hamas affiliation.
Now, that’s some breathtaking chutzpah if you ask me. Shimon Peres has been telling the world that Olmert will meet with Abbas sometime after his visit to the White House. But tell me, why bother meeting Abbas if you won’t do anything than sit with him for a photo op and smile for the cameras? What use are pleasantries unless you somehow believe that such meaningless chatter will mollify your friends in the White House who make a pretense of supporting Abbas?
Ariga warns that the world might see through this subterfuge and not take kindly to it:
…If the press picks up on Olmert’s brush-off of Abu Mazin, whom the Americans want to strengthen, questions [will arise] about how sincere the Israelis are about trying to talk peace. Fact is, Haim Ramon explicitly stated tonight to Channel One that ‘we have to be sincere in our talks with the Palestinians, so we can then win international support for our unilateral moves when they see the Palestinians are not partners.’ In other words, we’re going to pretend to be sincere about talking peace, but only intend to do so to win approval for not trying to make peace.
Can someone explain to me how Israel is being “sincere with the Palestinians” when it has already made up its mind that they are not partners for peace?? I call that disingenuousness, cynicism, game-playing and sheer manipulation. Does Israel really think it can talk this way and win over the U.S. and world community to its clear-as-day plan to shut the Palestinians out of any opportunity to determine their own destiny (in setting borders)? Does Israel take the rest of the world for fools over whose eyes it can pull the wool?
Robert Rosenberg (editor of Ariga) also has an interesting take on Amir Peretz’s first days as defense minister:
…The last time a chairman of the Histadrut went directly to the defense ministry, it was the dovish Pinchas Lavon, who was swept up in the so-called Dirty Affair, in which Israeli Military Intelligence agents were caught setting off bombs in Egypt to try to undermine Nasser’s regime. The affair brought down Lavon, and ultimately Ben Gurion. It’s a cautionary tale that Peretz should heed: he better move quickly to make clear to the military that he, not they, is in charge.
Perhaps Peretz could order the opening of the Karny junction, heading off the humanitarian disaster in Gaza, where half the population lives on less than $2 a day, and more than 55,000 families depend on a Palestinian Authority salary, which the PA has not been able to pay since February’s wages.