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Rubin Reports

Haaretz has reported an Israeli government announcement that negotiations will resume in Washington on Tuesday. The basis is supposed to be the 1967 lines–presumable with minor border modifications?–and recognition of Israel by the Palestinian Authority (PA) as a ‘”Jewish state.”  The PA has repeatedly said it would never do so.

In fact, there has been no actual agreemet to renew talks, it’s an illusion.

It should be remembered that such talks were conducted between 1991 and 2000 without any actual progress toward a final status solution. They were then suspended by the PA for 13 years. In short, this is renewal of a process which, in its comprehensive goal, failed for 23 years. The last renewal achieved under U.S, pressure lasted about a week.

No doubt the renewal of talks will be greeted as a major achievement. It isn’t. If two parties are forced to talka they are unlikely to succeed. Other motives are present.

Israel is being pressured by an Obama Administration which it doesn’t trust, under highly threatening regional developments including Iran’s development of nuclear weapons, a pro-Muslim Brotherhood U.S. policy in Egypt, a revolutionary situation in Syria where the Obama Administration backs hostile forces (though the forces on the other side are equally hostile) , and a hostile Turkey also supported by the United States. The entire Obama Administration foreign policy team is not exactly friendly toward Israel.

This is not a moment for additional antagonism to be generated.

Israel is releasing prisoners whose terrorist crimes the Western mass media don’t report and to which the Western political leadership is indifferent. It is not, however, making other material or diplomatic concessions. It is unclear, however, whether in the formulation of the 1967 frontiers whether the U.S. government is proposing to keep its promise to Israel about retention of settlement blocs. That is a diplomatic ambiguity that will haunt the U.S. mediators since it will still be disputed either way.

It is extremely difficult to believe that the PA is giving up its refusal to accept Israel as a Jewish State. If it is, the PA will be renounced as a traitor by Hamas and even other Palestinian groups, including non-Fatah organizations. The demand for any Palestinians who want to live in Israel to “return” has also not been dropped.

Indeed, a few days ago the PA Minister of Religious Affairs Mahmoud al-Habbash gave a Friday sermon in the presence of “”President” Mahmoud Abbas in which he justified any signed agreement with Israel, on the ultimate result of the Treaty of Hudaybiyyah. signed by Muhammad but only as a   ten year truce with opponents. This was followed by another agreement at Khay barpp with the Jews in the seventh century. This treaty made peace for a 10-year truce following which the Muslims attacked the Jews, killed all the men, and sold the women and children into slavery.

In  a more limited objective, the PA will probably continually increase its demands, hoping they will either be granted by the Obama Administration or wreck the talks in a way that will blame Israel, assured that the Obama Administration will never blame the PA.  

That doesn’t seem a good atmosphere for talks. Ignoring this, however, the Obama Administration should reap a good domestic political profit and praise.



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As a long time bemused observer of those 23 years of futile 'negotiations' it has been crystal clear to me since Sharon withdrew from the Gaza strip that there is no sense in Israel trying to negotiate peace with the Palestinians. They are simply in a state of total war with Israel and will settle for nothing less than Israel's destruction. So all I can guess is that Bibi, not being dumb, is playing along with the pretense of negotiation because he knows that Obama is hostile and using all the leverage he can to weaken Israel. In short I have to think Bibi is trying to minimize the damage this president is doing to the US Israel relationship. I suspect that by avoiding open conflict and pretending to go along with the faux press beat up of the 'talks' within the larger anti Semitic demonization of Israel by the Western press he is trying to preserve the long term alliance with the US. Europe is not Israel's friend, but so long as Israel avoids letting the Obama Administration put them in a position where they can make Israel look bad, then Israel will be ok in the long run. I further think that Israel understands the Middle East and the American administration doesn't. The Bush administration didn't understand it very well, but the post colonial policies of the current people in power in the US are fundamentally delusional. I have to believe Bibi has to understand that post colonial thinking well enough to keep one step ahead of it.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Netanyahu's positions for a peace deal:
First principle - recognition. Palestinians must truly recognize Israel as the state of the Jewish people.
The second principle is demilitarization. Any area in Palestinian hands has to be demilitarization, with solid security measures.
Whenever we discuss a permanent arrangement, Israel needs defensible borders with Jerusalem remaining the united capital of Israel.

Clear agreement to solve the Palestinian refugee problem outside of the borders of the State of Israel. For it is clear to all that the demand to settle the Palestinian refugees inside of Israel, contradicts the continued existence of the State of Israel as the state of the Jewish People.

Abu Mazen wants a state handed to him without concessions. So there can be no peace deal. If he agreed to Bibi's terms he would be branded a traitor and be killed just as Sadat was.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Why did Bibi agree to these talks? Even with the greatest of pressure, talks that only lead to the weakening of Israel make no sense. There must be something else that the U.S. is doing or else Bibi has lost it.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
suzuki, I have the same question.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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