...The onus is now is on the President Obama to clean up after his Secretary of State. And this problem is not going to be resolved by turning the screws on Israel and waiting.
IMRA Weekly Commentary..
20 March '14..
Here are the facts:
#1. During the course of July 2013 US Secretary of State John Kerry brokered an understanding between Israel and the Palestinians according to which negotiations would be renewed in exchange for the release of Palestinians being held by Israel.
#2. Israel offered in these negotiations that it would release the pre-Oslo prisoners, with the exception of Israeli Arabs.
#3. The Palestinians insisted that all the pre-Oslo prisoners be released, including the Israeli Arabs.
#4. Towards the end of July, Israel offered as a compromise to increase the number of prisoners it would release. Israel did not commit that these additional prisoners would be the pre-Oslo Israeli Arabs prisoners.
#5. Secretary of State Kerry knew that he did not have Israel's agreement to release the Israeli Arabs but decided to take a calculated risk and advise the Palestinians that Israel had accepted their demand.
#6. The talks began.
#7. On several occasions, Israeli officials made clear that Israel never committed to release the Israeli Arab prisoners.
#8. The Palestinians were aware of this discrepancy. They knew that Mr. Kerry took a calculated risk, promising something from the Israelis that he actually didn't yet have in his pocket.
#8. And so, in order to deny him any possible wiggle room, each time the Palestinians met with Secretary of State Kerry they insisted that he state for the record again that the Israeli Arabs would be released.
All of which brings us to the remark by Mahmoud Abbas at the White House this week:
"Mr. President, we have an agreement with Israel that was brokered by Mr. Kerry concerning the release of the fourth batch of prisoners…"
In simple English: as far as the Palestinians are concerned it doesn't really matter what Israel did or didn't actually agree to. Mr. Kerry told them the deal included Israeli Arabs and it is Mr. Kerry and Mr. Obama's problem to deliver.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu didn't create this problem.
This is a problem that broker Kerry created.
And it would be a terrible and unacceptable precedent for Israel to simply cover an unauthorized offer made by a broker.
The Palestinians are expecting to be "paid" what broker Kerry promised.
The onus is now is on the President Obama to clean up after his Secretary of State.
And this problem is not going to be resolved by turning the screws on Israel and waiting.
Dr. Aaron Lerner, Director IMRA (Independent Media Review & Analysis)