Bolton and Abu Mazen agree on somethingFormer US Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton and 'moderate' 'Palestinian' President
Here's Bolton - watch from about 1:08 onwards. Let's go to the videotape.
The Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs' analyst Jonathan Dahoah HaLevi reports that Abu Mazen agrees, saying that he does not have the authority to make the decisions that are necessary for a lasting peace agreement.
Abbas’ words express a clear message that the Palestinians see the negotiations as simply a tool to achieve Palestinian rights according to the Palestinian viewpoint, and they are not seeking a way to compromise with Israel on essential issues. This follows the Palestinian approach regarding “a peace based on justice” as compared with the Israeli approach of “a peace based on compromise.”
Abbas demands full sovereignty in all the territory conquered by Israel from the Kingdom of Jordan and Egypt in the defensive war it fought in 1967 (“the ’67 lands”), and especially in the area called “eastern Jerusalem,” which includes the Old City, the Temple Mount, the Jewish Quarter, the Western Wall, and other Jewish historical sites.
An Israeli withdrawal from eastern Jerusalem and all the Jewish holy sites located there, in the eyes of Abbas, is an important prerequisite for a political solution, and without this there is no Palestinian leader who has the authority to sign a political agreement with Israel. In the past Abbas presented similar prerequisites regarding other issues under discussion in the negotiations including borders, sovereignty, refugees, and the freeing of Palestinians serving prison sentences in Israel for involvement in terror attacks.
Abbas is determined in his rejection of the request to recognize Israel as a Jewish state, and his position is directly connected to the Palestinian position toward the refugees, regarding which he has distanced himself and all the Palestinian institutions from any authority to reach any decisions involving what the Palestinians call “the right of return.”
In his claim that “the right of return” is a “personal right” of every refugee and his descendants for all generations, Abbas is undermining a basic assumption of Israel and the U.S. regarding the political negotiations, according to which he can represent the Palestinian people on the issues at the heart of the conflict and take historic decisions in their name.
This position conforms with the law approved by Abbas in 2008 in his role as “chairman of the PLO Executive Committee” and “president of the Palestinian National Authority.” The law, called “the Law of the Right of Return of the Palestinian Refugees,”2 was approved by the Palestinian parliament and determines, among other things, that:
Para. 2 – The right of return of the Palestinian refugees to their homes and their property and their receipt of compensation for their suffering is a basic, holy right and is not subject to buying and selling, and is not subject to personal judgment [to make major changes], interpretation, or referendum.
Para. 3 – The right of return is a natural right that is personal, collective, civilian, and political, that is transferred from father to son and is not cancelled over time or through the signing of any agreement, and it cannot be cancelled or given up for any reason.Para. 5 – It is forbidden to settle the Palestinian refugees or remove them [from their current places] as an alternative to the right of return.
Para. 6 – Anyone who acts in contradiction to this law will be considered as one who has committed serious criminal treason, and will be subject to every criminal and civil punishment that this crime deserves.
The Palestinian strategy has been revealed in full. The current political negotiations, or any future negotiations, cannot bring about a signed, stable, and lasting political agreement that will bring an end to the conflict and all claims. The first Palestinian objective in their order of priorities is to receive full sovereignty on the territory of 1967 – while leaving the conflict wide open.So why are we still 'negotiating'? Just to avoid blame? That sounds like an awfully dangerous risk to take.