Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Any Bets on Another Try for Kerry’s Middle East Fiasco?

...If Indyk is to retire from Kerry’s ill-advised foray into the delights of the Israel-Palestinian impasse, then it remains to be seen as to who will replace him. But no matter who Kerry puts on his team, it won’t change the fact that Abbas has just put Hamas prime minister Ismail Haniyeh on his.

Tom Wilson..
Commentary Magazine..
06 May '14..

Since the collapse of the U.S.-sponsored negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, Secretary of State John Kerry has been all dressed up with nowhere to go. But if the administration has anything to do with it, that may be about to change. The State Department is now denying earlier reports that it is dismantling its negotiating team. By all accounts plans are afoot to send them all back again. And if that wasn’t enough, apparently Kerry is still mulling submitting his parameters to the two sides. What on earth for? The last time he came close to doing so PA head Mahmoud Abbas preempted him by issuing his own impossibly outlandish list of red lines.

State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf denies that there are any plans to dismantle “the team” and simply stated, “We’re going to see where this goes from here and, you know, figure out what makes sense in terms of staffing.” Perhaps what would “make sense in terms of staffing” would be for Kerry to let his chief negotiator Martin Indyk go, which after all seems to be what Indyk wants. Rumor has it that after some off-the-record comments were attributed to Indyk, he is looking to resign and is eager to return to the peace and quiet of the Brookings Institution in Washington, away from all those tiresome Israelis. For the comments widely attributed to Indyk certainly make no secret of the speaker’s feelings toward that quarter.

The comments in question were such that they would irreversibly burn any bridges of trust between the Israelis and whoever said them. Would Indyk have intentionally made sure that it became known that the comments had come from him? If so, it would make for a pretty one-directional escape from the sinking ship of Kerry’s hubristic peace mission. Much like President Obama’s now infamous Bloomberg interview, the voice speaking in the Yedioth Aharonoth interview portrays Abbas as a Gandhi-like figure and the Netanyahu government as a cynical pack of colonialists, indifferent to peace, hell-bent on robbing the Palestinians of their land, and outrageously trying to nudge the outcome of the talks in a direction that might protect at least some of Israel’s security concerns.

Whoever made these comments either hasn’t been paying attention or is simply fabricating facts, particularly with their claim that talks collapsed on account of the settlements. Freezing settlement activity was never a predicate for the talks, and even after a dispute over prisoner releases and Palestinian moves at the United Nations the negotiations limped on, only finally and definitively collapsing when the Palestinians stunned Kerry and his team by announcing a Fatah-Hamas unity deal. That was the point at which talks were closed; settlements had nothing to do with it.

It is strange, however, that the U.S. official speaking in the Yedioth Aharonoth interview was so praiseful of Israel’s chief negotiator Tzipi Livni. If it were true, as the official claims, that Israel had an unreasonable negotiating position then why all the praise for Livni? Or are these comments really just about attacking Netanyahu and the Israeli right? Livni has her own political rivalries to think of and if Netanyahu had really dealt her a bad hand to play wouldn’t she have protested, if not to smear the prime minister then at least to save herself from being setup as the government’s fall guy? Yet Livni’s only real protests were against Abbas and his unreasonable positions.

If there was any doubt about the bad faith coming from the individual who made these comments, that is surely settled by their remarks about how, whether the Israelis like it or not, the Palestinians “will get their state in the end — whether through violence or by turning to international organizations.” This blatant indifference to the repercussions for Israel, and blasé attitude to Palestinian terrorism, would certainly ensure that whoever is speaking here can never come back from this as an impartial negotiator. Not surprising, then, that many have tied these comments to reports of Indyk’s return to Washington.

If Indyk is to retire from Kerry’s ill-advised foray into the delights of the Israel-Palestinian impasse, then it remains to be seen as to who will replace him. But no matter who Kerry puts on his team, it won’t change the fact that Abbas has just put Hamas prime minister Ismail Haniyeh on his.

Link: http://www.commentarymagazine.com/2014/05/06/another-try-for-kerrys-middle-east-fiasco/

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  1. Overlooked Psychology of the Arab-Israeli Peace Process
    by Mr. Cohen of the Derech Emet yahoo group 2014/4/27

    In a very famous Bible story, King Solomon threatened to cut a baby in half to satisfy the claims of two women who claimed possession of the same baby (Melachim Aleph, chapter 3, verses 16 to 28).

    The fake mother did not object to cutting the baby in half, but the real mother begged King Solomon to not do it because the real mother did not want to see her baby die.

    Arabs are very familiar with this Bible story and they apply it to the conflict over possessing “Palestine.” Arabs believe that just as the fake mother in the court of King Solomon was willing to divide the baby, the Israelis are fake owners of “Palestine” because they are willing to divide it.

    According to this logic, Arabs can never agree to less than 100% of “Palestine” because doing so would make them like the fake mother in the court of King Solomon who was willing to divide the baby.

  2. Refuting the Jew Haters by Mr. Cohen, 2014/4/27,
    moderator of the Derech Emet yahoo group,

    I do NOT suggest that any Jew waste his or her time arguing with Jew haters, for many reasons.

    First, our obligation as Jews is to serve G_d, not argue with Jew hating lunatics.

    Second, they can be dangerous, and even if you think you are anonymous on the internet,
    you are not as anonymous as you think you are, and they may find you, G_d forbid.

    Third, many Jew haters are fanatics and/or lunatics, who will never listen to anything you say, or even use your words against Jews in ways you did not anticipate.

    Still, there are rare situations when it helps to know how to refute their accusations against Jews; for example, when a sincere Gentile co-worker or neighbor is influenced by the accusations of the Jew haters.

    One favorite accusation of the Jew haters is that Jews have been expelled from many countries and cities. Jew haters use this to imply that Jews are bad people.

    This accusation can be countered.

    When a Medieval king expelled Jews from his country, Jews were usually not able to take their possessions with them, so all the possessions of the Jews became the property of the king, including: land, houses, furniture, gold, silver, jewels, farm animals, etc.

    Even if the Jews had some way to take their money with them, which was far from guaranteed, they could not take their larger possessions with them. This permitted the kings to increase their wealth quickly with little risk.

    So kings had big financial incentives to expel their Jews, as did lords and dukes.

    Another reason why Jews were expelled many times from Christian countries was that Medieval Christians did not tolerate people whose beliefs disagreed with their own.

    Medieval European Christians also persecuted other Christians whose beliefs disagreed with their own. For example:

    In October 1536 CE, William Tyndale was publicly executed because he translated the Bible into English, even though he was Christian.

    Most Christians alive today tolerate people with different beliefs, but this tolerance is around one or two centuries old.

    We Jews should THANK G_D that we live in an era when most Christians no longer believe their religion wants them to persecute Jews.