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Monday, November 12, 2007

Olmert to release another 300-400 terrorists; 'Palestinians' won't recognize Israel as a Jewish state

In yet another 'goodwill gesture' to 'moderate' 'Palestinian' President Mahmoud Abbas Abu Mazen, Prime Minister Ehud K. Olmert will release more 'Palestinian' prisoners terrorists in the two weeks between now and the opening of the Annapolis summit mugging. The Jerusalem Post says that the number and identity of terrorists to be released has not yet been determined, but Haaretz reports that the number will be 300-400 and that none of them will have 'blood on their hands.' Given the new definition of 'blood on their hands' that will likely be implemented before this terrorist release, I question whether that last claim has any meaning. Recall that in the July terrorist release, we were already told that Olmert was having trouble finding enough terrorists to meet the criteria.

Haaretz also assures us that this will be the only 'goodwill gesture' made to the 'Palestinians' before Annapolis, because the IDF absolutely refuses to remove any roadblocks. At least someone in this country has some sense of responsibility for our own people's lives! Even the US apparently understands that the IDF is right:
The release of the prisoners will be the only good-will gesture before Annapolis. Defense Minister Ehud Barak and the security chiefs are adamant in their opposition to lifting any roadblocks or checkpoints along roadways in the West Bank, fearing that this would undermine security and make it easier for terrorists to strike.

The U.S. has made it clear to Israel that while it recognizes its security needs, if Israel cannot dismantle roadblocks and lift restrictions on Palestinian freedom of movement, it must at least try to improve the way Palestinians are treated at checkpoints and shorten the waiting time.
I know: Let's serve them tea and cookies while they're waiting!

Channel 2 news reported last night that Prime Minister Ehud K. Olmert claimed that he is going to insist as a precondition to negotiations that the 'Palestinians' accept that Israel is a Jewish state. That is a demand that the 'Palestinians' have already rejected:
The report said that by making this simple demand, Olmert will be forcing the PA to give up its hope of making Israel accept an Arab influx into its borders (the "right of return" of "refugees"). If the PA accepts the condition, it will become that much simpler for Olmert to make concessions of his own.


According to a report by Ynet, the PA's negotiating team will refuse to recognize Israel as a Jewish state in the declaration expected to be signed at the Annapolis Mideast summit November 26.
But Olmert has no intention of walking out of Annapolis or refusing to sign the declaration once he gets there because the 'Palestinians' reject this 'simple demand.' Undoubtedly, the 'Palestinians' will say that they will only consider signing such a declaration at the end of the process, and that Olmert will then continue negotiating with them. The 'Palestinians' will then pocket any concessions that Olmert makes and refuse to sign the declaration at the end anyway. If any 'Palestinian' leader can give up the 'right of return' it sure isn't Abu Mazen. Haaretz reports that Olmert has already said that he will continue the conference even if the 'Palestinians' refuse to recognize Israel as a Jewish state:
Olmert said he raised the importance of this issue during his talks with European and American officials, and their response had been positive. However, during talks in recent weeks between the Israeli and Palestinian negotiating teams, the Palestinians refused to include the recognition of Israel as a Jewish state in the shared declaration the teams are preparing, which will be made at Annapolis.


Olmert's stance suggests that Israel does not intend to raise this issue as an obstacle to holding the summit, but will pursue it after the conference.
The Jerusalem Post also reports that Olmert's spokeswoman, Miri Eisen "refused to classify such a demand as a precondition for the talks to progress." So much for Olmert having a spine.

Also this morning, Likud leader Binyamin Netanyahu and Likud MK Gideon Saar visited the home of Rabbi Ovadia Yosef in the Har Nof section of Jerusalem where they tried to convince him to pull Shas out of the coalition before Olmert goes to Annapolis. Shas leader Eli Yishai, who is a minister in the government, was also in attendance. Unfortunately, Netanyahu and Saar did not succeed:
The opposition leader told Rabbi Yosef that the Annapolis conference was dangerous for Israel, adding that things were conducted in the same way before the 2000 Camp David summit.

"They are giving away everything and getting nothing," Netanyahu explained.

Rabbi Yosef settled for biblical discourse, gave his blessing to Netanyahu and said that he had discussed the issue with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. He noted that some of his opinions were similar to those presented by Netanyahu, and said that Shas had already warned against the dangers in the Annapolis conference.

However, the rabbi refrained from expressing a firm opinion regarding the diplomatic conference expected to convene in Annapolis, Maryland at the end of the month.
Haaretz also reports that Defense Minister Ehud Barak is insisting on a number of conditions in any agreement with the 'Palestinians' but that Olmert and Foreign Minister Tzipi Feigele Livni can't give away the store fast enough.
At the meeting with Olmert on Sunday, Barak said Israel must insist on a number of conditions in the negotiations toward a final settlement.

Among these are a declaration that the Israel-Palestinian conflict has come to an end; that Israel is a Jewish state; that the Palestinian state is completely disarmed; that Israel has the right to overfly Palestinian territory; that the PA is responsible for the Gaza Strip; that until there is a solution on the Gaza Strip, Israel will retain full freedom of action there; that a "safe passage" corridor between the West Bank and Gaza would go into effect only after the security situation in Gaza changes; and that Israel will promise economic assistance to projects to be created in the Palestinians Territories with the help of foreign donors.

Meanwhile, despite Palestinian claims that there is a crisis in the talks, Livni and Qureia exchanged drafts of the joint declaration that Israel and the Palestinians are to present at the Annapolis summit.

Government officials did not deny reports in recent days that Israel had surprisingly softened its stance on the core issues - particularly on borders and Jerusalem.
It's going to be a rough few weeks ahead, but God willing, the 'Palestinians' will once again miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity. If they behave at all reasonably, Olmert will give them the store at Annapolis, and then they will come back and demand more.


At 5:33 PM, Blogger J. Lichty said...

In the Orwellian world of middle east diplomacy the most bizarre has to be the release of terrorists as a good will gesture.

A leader/government that needs terrorists freed as a good will gesture, while simultaneously agreeing to end terrorism is the definition of illogical.

It seems to me the first breaktrhough in a peace negotiation would be for the Palestinian leadership to say -- let these terrorists, who we reject, rot.


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