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Thursday, December 09, 2010

'Palestinians' should be better off without direct talks

The New York Times' Ethan Bronner reports on what seems obvious: Why the US finally gave up on a 'settlement freeze' extension.

I say "obvious" because it was clear to everyone that Israel would never formally agree to freeze building in Jerusalem, and that the 'Palestinians' had run up a tree on that and could not come down without a freeze in Jerusalem.

I say "obvious" because it was clear to everyone that no deal on borders can be reached in 90 days.

And I say "obvious" because borders clearly cannot be discussed in detachment from security and other issues.

But what does the US acknowledgment of the obvious mean? On that, we only have hints.
Israeli officials indicated that with a settlement freeze off the table, they could be more forthcoming on other issues, including changes in their occupation on the ground in the West Bank. A new Palestinian city waiting to be built needs Israeli agreement for a key access road, and that will probably now come, they said; more roadblocks and checkpoints can be removed and more responsibility handed over to Palestinian security forces.

Of course, these steps have been promised several times in the past, and Palestinians are highly skeptical of Israeli sincerity.

But Mr. Netanyahu’s aides say it will be easier to get such steps through his cabinet and security establishment if the threat of talks ending is removed. Because in the coming weeks there will be no direct talks, just indirect ones through American officials, the threat is gone for now.

Ron Dermer, a top aide to Mr. Netanyahu, said Wednesday on Israel Radio that the Americans did not blame the prime minister for the need to refashion the policy, that relations were in fact very good.

“I have to tell you, the coordination between us and the Americans is perhaps at the best since Netanyahu entered office,” he said. Asked what would happen now, he made clear that in the near term there would be indirect talks: “In my opinion, there will be contacts between us and the Americans. The Americans will also talk to the Palestinians.”

He added: “I think it is better to be on a sure path that will bring some kind of result than continue on a path that will lead in the end to failure. I think we have to wait a little more, maybe a few weeks, and in my opinion, with coordination with the Americans, we will be on a new path.”
So does this mean that Israel is trying to hunker down for the long run by minimizing contact with the 'Palestinians' while retaining overall control? Or does it mean that we're going to come up with another proposal for a 'Palestinian state' that will be rejected anyway? Maybe we'll get another hint from Hillary Clinton on Friday.

What could go wrong?

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At 8:30 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

I expect the status quo policy to continue for a long time. There is no "fierce moral urgency" for a Palestinian state and the Palestinians don't want to pay the price to get one. No one has really made a good case for why the status quo should be changed.The Palestinians seem happy with it and there is no reason to force on them something they don't want. Every one is better off in fact, abandoning the farce that peace will be achieved in the near future.

At 11:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Carl, imo, the former: to the west of the fence plus the settlement blocks, that's Israel, what is formally given to the Palis, that's theirs, and in-between informal controls based on original A/B/C division of Oslo. But the Palis appear hopped-up on getting the UN to hand over everything east of the Green line on a sliver platter if the US won't and who knows where President Obama will be one or two or three Slurpee brain freezes down the road.


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