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A main argument advanced by Western powers in favor of pushing for more negotiations in the going-nowhere peace process is that the conflict is unsustainable for both sides. Jonathan Tobin, writing at Commentary, demonstrates that this argument flies in the face of reality both in theory and as it currently exists on the ground:
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The notion that Israel is living on borrowed time has been a staple of Middle East commentary since its victory in 1967 and it is just as much of a fallacy today as it was then. Indeed, despite numerous problems, both domestic and foreign, Israel has become an economic and military powerhouse that cannot be wished away.
Friday, April 25th, 2014 at 8:14 AM | Stand For Israel
Dr. Reuven Berko, writing at Israel Hayom, illustrates why the Palestinians had no interest in the latest round of peace talks actually succeeding and why Israel’s strategy of engaging in the negotiations eventually made evident the emptiness of Palestinian demands for statehood:
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The inception of a Palestinian state alongside Israel is a recipe for internal Palestinian disaster. The objective limitations of security and space would force Palestinian leaders to refuse the descendents of the refugees’ demand for a right of return. The Palestinians would be forced to conduct transparent fiscal policies, devoid of the assistance of the Arab world and the West; they would have to put an end to corruption and take actual responsibility for their citizens, as they would have no “occupation” to blame for their failures.
Thursday, April 24th, 2014 at 8:26 AM | Stand For Israel
Lee Smith, writing at Tablet, says that the real reason Mahmoud Abbas wants out of the peace talks – or wants to be seen as holding a hard line should he remain at the table – is due to internal Palestinian politics. Specifically, Abbas fears that his rivals will use any concessions he makes against him. We’ve discussed this problem before and Smith’s piece is another example of the poisonous nature of Palestinian politics:
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For Abbas, staying in power requires keeping his rivals at bay. In particular, there’s Mohamed Dahlan, the former Gaza-based Fatah strongman who’s been licking his wounds ever since Hamas routed his men from the Strip in 2007. At just 52, Dahlan is still young. For the past four years, he has been living in the United Arab Emirates; my sources in the region tell me he recently spent a month in Marrakesh with Saudi intelligence chief Bandar bin Sultan, the former ambassador to Washington, who was in Morocco recovering from shoulder surgery.
Thursday, April 17th, 2014 at 8:19 AM | Stand For Israel
Tom Wilson, writing at Commentary, wonders if the future of the Israeli-Palestinian process depends on further negotiations, on continuing cycles of calm and violence, or on unilateral moves made by each side:
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There are two obvious problems with almost all of the unilateral proposals. One is security, the other is international opinion. Those plans that call for a near complete withdrawal from the West Bank risk recreating Gaza on a massive scale and on the strategically important high ground overlooking Israel’s population centers and vital infrastructure.
Friday, April 11th, 2014 at 8:12 AM | Stand For Israel
Israeli journalist Ben-Dror Yemini claims in this article that Israeli and Palestinian negotiators were much closer to a deal than is publicly known, but that John Kerry made the mistake of pressuring Israel and not the Palestinians. What followed, predictably, were more demands and a walk away from the table:
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Just as great progress was being achieved, Kerry made a series of statements about the boycott that Israel would be facing if negotiations fail. Even the Palestinians couldn’t believe that this man, the insistent broker, was saying these things. He started a campaign of accusations against Israel – just as Netanyahu was ready to make huge compromises. Kerry didn’t mean to – but he signaled the way for the Palestinians to once again raise the bar on their demands. Once again, they could refuse. Kerry made it clear to them that Israel would be paying the price alone. Nothing would happen to them.
Tuesday, April 8th, 2014 at 8:53 AM | Stand For Israel
In his piece in the weekend issue of Haaretz, Amos Harel, arguably the top military and defense journalist in Israel, engages in one of those common journalistic lines of reasoning that are repeated so often they come to seem like received wisdom but, upon further inspection, are nonsense. The article, which is behind the Haaretz pay wall, has this as the lead:
“If Israel remains stubborn and refuses to resume talks it will embark on a course that could result in a renewal of terrorism in Israeli cities.”
Did you catch that? It seems quite reasonable, doesn’t it. We’ve written before on these pages that the failure of the peace talks could likely lead to renewed terrorism. So, what’s the big deal?
The problem is that Harel’s construction of the argument has Israeli stubbornness as the genesis of Palestinian terror. Leave aside, for the moment, that we don’t agree with Harel that continuing to build in your capital city and insisting that your enemies promise a real peace agreement can be called “stubbornness.” But how, for people who are reasonable and rational and who believe in things like constructive negotiation, can Harel dismissively excuse Palestinian terrorism? Because, when you say that a new campaign of suicide terror is the totally natural result of the failure of peace talks, we have to ask, “in what way is suicide terror ever natural?”
Harel, who really is a good journalist, concedes in his piece that the Palestinians made ridiculous and unreasonable demands, that they aren’t negotiating in good faith, and that they likely can’t deliver on an agreement even if they ever could muster the courage to forge one. Still, the new wave of terror he foresees will be due to Israeli stubbornness. In this view of the conflict, there are two glaringly incorrect beliefs. They are shared by many on the Israeli left, in Europe, at the U.N. and other international institutions, and among international aid and human rights organizations.
The first is that the Palestinians are mere children, who simply cannot be expected to react to circumstances with…Read More » Comments (17) »
Monday, April 7th, 2014 at 8:43 AM | Stand For Israel
Jeffrey Goldberg concludes his obituary for the most recent peace talks by asking of U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, “how can we blame a man for seeking peace?”
Certainly, all people of goodwill would like to see a world at peace, and perhaps Goldberg meant that rhetorically. But let’s try to provide a few possible answers to Goldberg’s question:
When both sides tell you there is little to be accomplished by forcing them to the negotiating table, you can be blamed.
When one side has to bribe the other side by – at your insistence – releasing from prison hundreds of convicted murderers with nothing in return, you can be blamed.
When one side isn’t even the controlling political and military power in half of its putative country, and would almost assuredly be swept from power in the other half if left to its own devices, thereby making it clear to everyone that any agreement will be utterly meaningless on the ground, you can be blamed.
When the predictable failure of the negotiations is likely to bring about new Palestinian efforts to demonize Israel on the international stage, or a new cycle of violence and suffering on both sides, you can be blamed.
That last point may be the most salient. This was the overwhelmingly likely outcome and P.A. President Mahmoud Abbas’ move to join 15 U.N. committees as a result of the talks’ failure was equally likely. To push the one when the likely outcome is the other is, at best, negligent.
The Christian writer C.S. Lewis, whose own nation was plunged into a terrible war not long after being promised “peace for our time,” once wrote, “I think many would now agree that a foreign policy dominated by desire for peace is one of the many roads that lead to war.” Similarly, we have seen for years of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process that peace is impossible when one of the parties involved in negotiations has no real desire for it, and that negotiations under such circumstances may not…Read More » Comments (15) »
Friday, April 4th, 2014 at 8:40 AM | Stand For Israel