Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Kerry's Proposed Talks: Is This Any Way To Conduct A Peace Process?

Barry Rubin writes that the incompetence underlining Kerry's attempt to get the Abbas regime to agree to talk peace with Israel is Foreign Policy Farce: U.S. Conduct of Israel=Palestinian Peace Process
The United States of America officially announced the resumption of negotiations when they are nowhere near arranged. The mass media breathlessly followed each claim and got it WRONG.
Indeed, instead of the media reporting the facts
  • No one pointed out that the Palestinians have refused to negotiate for 13 years.

  • No one pointed out the PA cannot negotiate peace because it cannot commit the Gaza Strip to anything

  • Nobody pointed out in the establishment that the United States is supposed to be on Israel's side or why the settlements are NOT the problem for peace.
Of course, one could add that Abbas is now in the 9th year of his 4 year term and has no constitutional authority to agree to anything.

Then again, perhaps the Obama administration just finds it more convenient to conduct peace talks with a dictator -- assuming of course you think that Abbas has both the willingness and the ability to keep any agreement that he signs on to.

John Kerry
John Kerry announced the talks in Jordan -- alone,
without representatives of either side. A hint?
Credit: Wiki Commons

Meanwhile, as Rubin notes, we are seeing the repeat of the pattern from 2010 when Obama announced plans for renewed talks went nowhere because of Abbas demands for preconditions.

So we are faced with a situation where we are told that the Arabs want peace, yet make a point of demanding preconditions before they will even sit down to begin to talk. Furthermore, demands are placed on Israel to release Palestinian terrorists who have murdered civilians at a time that the Abbas regime continues to demonize Israel and incite hatred against it.

More importantly, the US promised Israel that it would support a border based on the 1949 armistice lines which would recognize facts on the ground that include certain blocks of settlements. Now Kerry is allowing talks that take those armistice lines as actual borders with minimal exchange of areas.

Read the whole thing.

This may explain the current mood of Israel towards these nebulous talks as reported by Dr. Aaron Lerner of IMRA: Poll: 61%:26% Israelis oppose expected deal with Palestinians
The survey was conducted by Maagar - Interdisciplinary Research and Consulting Institute Ltd., managed by Professor Yitzhak Katz.

The survey was commissioned by The Orly & Guy Morning Program - Channel 10 TV and conducted by telephone on 22 July of a sample of 503 respondents, constituting a representative sample of Israel's adult population (aged 18 and over - including Israeli Arabs).

Statistical error +/-4.5 percentage points.

Are you for or against Israel entering negotiations with the Palestinians in the wake of the visit of US Secretary of State John Kerry to the region?
Total: For 59% Against 31% Other replies 10%
Jews: For 49% Against 41% Other 10%

In principle, are you for or against signing a full peace agreement with the Palestinians on the basis of the 1967 borders, including the exchange of territory and release of prisoners?
Total: For 29% Against 57% Other replies 14%
Jews: For 22% Against 62% Other 16%

Are you for or against signing a peace agreement with the Palestinians on the basis of the 1967 borders, including the evacuation of communities with the exception of settlement blocs, exchange of territory, Palestinians recognition of Israel as the state of the Jewish People, and release of Palestinians with "blood on their hands".
Total: For 26% Against 61% Other 13%
Jews: For 18% Against 71% Other 11%
As Dr. Lerner notes:
It is particularly interesting that the results are almost the same when give next to no details of the "deal" and when provide details.
And we already know how unimpressed the Arabs are about the prospects for peace talks.

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